Monday, 15 September 2014

Life with 3

Having 2 children seems to be normal at the moment. Any more than that and people look at you as if you have 2 heads, when they realise that my 3 children are 14 months and 2 years apart respectively, they say things like, 'you've got your hands full there haven't you!' and 'so which one was the mistake?' (yes really!) A question I have no answer for at the moment is 'soooo whats it like with 3 childen?' and they stare at you with a greedy, expectant look, like you are a creature from another planet who has come all this way just to tell them all about it. I end up smiling and saying 'yea, its good' because where do I start? How do I even begin to sum up what its like with 3 children?

I'm told the best way to stay sane whilst having 'so many children' is to leave the house every day. I can't help but notice the people giving this advice are rarely in the same position as me, they may have 3 children, they may have a baby but people who have had 2 toddlers and a baby tend to just smile in a knowing way and keep their mouths closed. They know. They've been here! 

So, by the time I've gathered all the necessities for my changing bag I'm exhausted! We need, drinks and snacks for 2 girls, a scarf for me (in case some one gets funny about me feeding Pop) 2 nappies, wet wipes, nappy sacks, Pops cream, teething gel, a muslin or 2, a spare bib and a spare change of clothes for the baby, Nunny (because we cant go anywhere with out him, and if were taking nunny we need a toy for the other toddler, and also because everything has to be fair at the moment Baby Girl insists on getting a toy for Pop too!) then there is the travel potty and a spare pair of pants (or 3) and a change of clothes in case of accidents. Finally we have my purse (making sure I have cash and/or my bank cards inside, my girls are like little Fagins!) the car keys, and all the other random bits and pieces that find themselves at the bottom of my bag. 

Finally I have 2 girls and Pop strapped into the car and I ask myself where do we go? We're too late to go to any morning toddler groups its already 11am (and besides the hell of going to a toddler group with 2 toddlers and a baby is a whole other blog post!). Have you tried single handedly getting 3 children dressed in the morning? I have a clothes refusing Baby Girl, by the time I've gotten the other 2 dressed she's stripped off! As for me, I don't even get to think about putting make up on or doing my hair, a scraped back pony tail and a tinted moisturiser is all I have time for, if I'm lucky! 

I decide on a quick trip to the park before lunch, take a deep breath and off we go! We park up and Pop goes in the pushchair, the park is a short walk away so now I have to dice with death and decide which child's hand I hold. If I'm lucky the girls are in a cooperative mood and Big Girl will hold Baby Girls hand while I hold the other one, if not then we end up with a tantrum in the middle of the road with a car heading towards us while I try and scoop everyone up before we become road kill!

Once we're in the park Pop will want feeding and Baby Girl will want helping on the slide, unable to do everything at once I promise 2 goes on the slide then its time to feed Pop. Whilst I'm trying to feed Pop, Baby girl is using me as a climbing frame she wants my help with the slide again and big girl is wanting me to push her on the swing. Pop has just latched on and is happy feeding, desperately trying to not get angry at the child who is climbing on my back (we have a whole park in front of us with real climbing frames, why wont she use one of those!?) I try and get the girls to go and play but they don't want to, they just want to climb on me. I look at my watch and we've been here for the grand total of 3 minutes. 3 minutes. I was sure it was longer than that! I dish out snacks and drinks in the hope they may go and play for a little bit longer, after all being out of the house is meant to be saving my sanity, not breaking it! 

7 more minutes and I am done! We do the walk of death back to the car and spend 5 minutes strapping every one back in and putting the pushchair in the boot. I try not to think about the fact it has taken me longer to get every one in and out of the car than the time we spent in the park. I breathe a sigh of relief as we pull on to the driveway, happy with the thought I can tell the next busy body and health visitor that yes, yes we do get out of the house, I'll just lie about it being every day!

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

First day of school

A few months ago you may remember The Husband and I made the decision to Home Educate our Children. It was a hard decision we had to make, but I know it was the right one. However I hadn't actually turned down Big Girls nursery place for September. I pulled her out of her preschool place but hadn't informed the school nursery she was due to attend that, well, she wouldn't be. I guess holding on to the place was like a crutch, if it all went wrong, if I wasn't able to teach her at home, I could still send her there.

Today was the last chance to change my mind, the last chance to do a u-turn on my decision. This morning I woke up feeling sick, the only thought on my mind was 'what if I'm making the wrong decision?' The Husband and I went over and over the reasons we had chosen to Home Educate, the pros, the cons and how we were planning on over coming those. We went over the planning I have painstakingly done and over the work the girls have already done. I knew I was making the right decision... but what if I wasn't? I couldn't shake that sick feeling, so I called my Mum. She went over the pro's and con's, and the things we are planning on doing later in the year, the things we couldn't do if big Girl was at school (my mum is also a Home Educator) she went over the same things The Husband had said and told me it was a decision I had to make, she couldn't make it for me. I put the phone down feeling more sick than ever and then I picked up the phone and did it.

I phoned the school and turned down her placement. It was a spur of the moment action, an action I didn't feel able to take but somehow found the strength to make, and just like that, I didn't feel sick any more. I felt calm, I felt scared, but I knew I'd done the right thing.

Turning your back on social norms is a scary thing to do. I'm told most home educators have wobbles and often they come more than once during your Home Education journey. Society teaches that school is the right place for all children to be and for 90% it probably is, but if you are one of those people that have decided to turn their back on school, say thanks but no thanks, then there is a whole world of judgement awaiting you. Home Education is an exciting, rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it can also be a scary, full on, stressful and full of self doubt experience.

I know I'm making the right decision for my children, but that wont stop me having wobbles every now and then.

Today is the first day of  not going to school for Big Girl and she is so excited at what we have in store, we took some photos to commemorate the occasion and make it feel special.

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Me & Mine ~ August

This is our first ever family photograph with all 5 of us in. Its only taken me 4 months to get around to it!

Baby Pop turned 17 weeks, hes a happy smiley baby and can now grasp toys with both hands and put it in his mouth. Hes now wearing 6-9 month clothes and we've switched him to reusable nappies as he seems to have very sensitive skin

Baby Girl is still adjusting to life as the middle child. It turns out she is quite a little Einstein, her maths skills rival her sisters and she is getting to grips quite rapidly with her numbers.

Big Girl is excited about starting 'school' again next month, she is starting to sound words out and can confidently add and takeaway to the value of 5! 

The Husband has been working in Copenhagen and enjoying the sites, while trying not to let on to me that he loves his new client! He's really looking forward to walking up Snowdon next month and is hoping he doesn't end up in hospital again.

I enjoyed celebrating my 27th birthday and am looking forward to teaching the girls again in September and we have lots of fun projects coming up before Christmas like the human body and hot & cold. I'm really getting in to the swing of being a mum to 3 and cant wait for my uni course to start. 

September is going to be another fun month for us all. 

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Chocolate Fondant With Plum Sauce

Have you ever checked the cupboards made sure you had all the ingredients begun to make you recipe, only to realise you should have checked the cupboards more thoroughly? I'm going to pretend that all of you are nodding along in agreement, purely because it will make me fell better about myself!

I followed my recipe and when it came to adding my sugar, my heart sunk. The bag of sugar I had spotted in the cupboard earlier was almost used up. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got 100g of sugar out of the bag and even had some left over. Phew. Then it was time to add the flour. I'd opened my cupboard, seen the 12 (yes, I really do have 12 bags of flour in my cupboard, although not all of them are open!) bags of flour and assumed one of them would be plain flour. This weekend i learnt never to assume anything! not one of the bags were plain, so I substituted it for self raising, telling myself that if it all went wrong, exploded in my oven or burnt my kitchen down at least it would make a funny story. Thankfully it didn't and out came a rather nice looking fondant.

When I moved on to the plum sauce my heart yet again sank as I realised that the sugar I was happy to have left over, was needed. Unfortunately I only had 40ish grams left, and was surprised it worked just as well. I've left the original amount in the recipe below, but if you prefer less sugar, try the sauce with 40g instead of 60g.


For the fondants

125g butter
125g dark chocolate
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
60g plain flour

For the plum sauce

4 plums
50g caster sugar

1) melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water
2) whisk the eggs and caster sugar together until light and fluffy
3) fold the chocolate mixture and the flour into the eggs, take your time making sure there are no pockets of chocolate or flour left unmixed
4) spoon the mixture in to dariol molds (the little round pudding dishes) until they are 3/4 full
5) place the molds on to baking trays and bake at 180c for 8-10 minutes until just set.
6) While the fondants are baking, de-stone and slice up your plums. In a non stick pan, place the plum slices and sugar and leave to dissolve over a low heat. You may need to add 1-2 tbsp's of water to help the sugar dissolve depending on how juicy the plums are.
7) Just before the plums are about to break down take off the heat. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding mold and turn out on to a dish. Serve with a scoop of ice-
cream and some plum sauce.


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Friday, 29 August 2014

Last Minute Camping!

So last week I planned on blogging over the weekend, but on Friday we decided to head off to Clark's Village, an outlet shopping center near to our home for a day of shopping. We passed some friends who were towing their caravan and heading down to Doone Valley for a camping weekend. The Husband and I usually join them, but we had decided to give this year a miss due to having a young baby and a car that's really too small to fit us all in plus the camping gear! I suddenly felt really sad we wouldn't be joining them and The Husband and I started discussing how we would fit everything we needed in the car and before we reached Clark's Village I told him to turn around and go home, we needed to pack for our camping trip!

We arrived home at 12pm, fed the girls lunch and by 3pm were all packed up and ready to go, we just needed to make a quick stop at the supermarket and we would be on our way. Pop had other ideas though, just as we left the super market he poo'd, not a little poo but a massive, fill his car seat, up his back and down his legs, he's going to need a bath poo! We rushed home, I dunked him in the bath and got him changed while The Husband and the girls waited in the car and by 4.30 we were definitely ready to head off.

We arrived at the camp site at 7pm and I was very grateful for the volunteers that were only too happy to have a cuddle with Pop and also to help us put up the tent. Due to the last minute nature of our camping trip, there were so many things I forgot like a lighter for the cooker, a dust pan and brush and mine and the girls tooth brushes! (luckily I remembered before we got there so we were able to make a quick stop to get some new ones!) Despite all the things I forgot, we really enjoyed it! It wasn't scorching hot, but it was dry and not raining and that was good enough for us. The girls loved splashing in the river and playing with Benjie, a friends dog, and as always The Husband and I enjoyed having no phone signal and being completely cut off from phones, social media and work for just a few days.

On Sunday afternoon the decision to pack up and come home was made due to the rains that were on their way, we packed up in sunshine and at times I doubted it was going to be that bad! Sure enough when we woke up on Monday morning in the comfort of our beds and brick houses the rain was unrelenting. I am so glad we made the last minute decision to join our friends last weekend, it was just so much fun!

One thing I'm really annoyed at though, is despite taking my camera I didn't once get it out! I have no photos. Is one thing i'm really trying to improve this year and am gutted I fell into old habits and didn't take any pictures.

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Thursday, 28 August 2014

My trusty companion

A couple of days after I passed my driving test, my mum took me to visit some car garages in Bristol. I test drove a few cars but driving felt scary and new, I was nervous and the cars just seemed so big! We went to the Fiat garage in Brislington and went to inquire about a car I liked the look of, when I saw it. A light blue gorgeous Fiat Panda. It was a 4x4 and had bright yellow seats inside. When I test drove it I didn't feel scared and nervous of driving, it just felt right. It was love at first sight and I had to have it. 

That was 8 years ago and it has been my trusty companion ever since. It's been there through heartbreak and happy times, its the car I was driving when I first met the Husband and the car we drove from our wedding in. It's been there as we have bought each child home from the hospital, and the car that has kept them safe on journeys ever since. My car waited patiently on the drive when I couldn't drive during Big Girls pregnancy and again after I had my seizure. In good times and in bad my car has been there. 

After Pop was born The Husband and I realised we had out grown my car. The Pushchair didn't really fit in the boot, but I squeezed it in anyway, there was never any room for the weekly shop, but that's what laps were built for surely!? There were only 4 seat belts and there were now 5 of us, but I didn't mind leaving The Husband at home! Eventually I had to agree, my car was too small for a family of 5, so last week I waved goodbye to my car as my brother came and picked it up.

He's just starting out on an exciting adventure working in Chorley and going to uni in Liverpool, he needed a trusty companion to join him on his adventure and my car was only too happy to volunteer! I'm sad to lose my car, but I quite like my new, slightly bigger car and am so pleased my old car has gone to a new happy home.

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Baby Pictures with Emily Beale photography

When Pop was about 2 weeks old we went along to see my very talented friend Emily, from Emily Beale Photography, in her home studio to have some baby pictures taken. 

Emily asked if there were any props or pictures I would particularly like her to take and I mentioned I'd quite like to have a picture taken with him wrapped in his baby blanket and she was only too happy to oblige. 

I joked about him being the 3rd child and because of that I didn't have any pictures of me with him so, despite my initial reluctance, she insisted that I had one taken and spent time making sure she captured the perfect mummy and baby shot. I'm so grateful for these and the time she spent getting it just right as, apart from the odd selfie I've taken, these are the only photos I have with him to date!

Emily is so great at listening and interpreting exactly what you want into pictures. She has produced some beautiful, natural and simple baby pictures, exactly what we asked for. She instinctively knows what to look for in a shot and has a way of making you feel so comfortable in front of the camera. We are thrilled with our baby pictures and want to say a huge thank you to her. We have decided that we are finally (after almost 4 years of saying we will!) going to book on to one of her Family Photo Sessions as we just love, love, love her work!

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