Picture Perfect

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We now live in a world where most share their lives either a little or a lot through all or some of the social media channels. I’m definitely the latter. I’m not going to make the excuse it’s because of the blog, a little of it definitely is and some of it is conscious sharing of things that relate to the blog but mostly it is because I’m just an oversharer.

With that brings a snapshot of your life, a daily snippet of what has been going on in your world. I generally tend to choose to share positive aspects but in no way does that mean behind the scenes things are ‘picture perfect’. 

Life is busy, tiring and at times pretty stressful but by sharing the snippets of joy I find, if I’ve had a tricky week it’s good to look back and remember the joyful moments too. I hope that my blog is balanced and honest but I also believe that a positive parenting outlook makes things ‘seem’ a little easier, some days.

The reality behind the pictures is our toddler is still a regular night waker, our 10 month old the same, just a little more regular. We juggle work, childcare and life like everyone else. Some days it all feels too much, other days it feels manageable… We do it all with little family support, our unit is small and we are thankful for what we do have but our only grandparent works full time so when extra hands are needed for sickness or other eventualities it’s not always there. We muddle on, we are in the trenches much like every other parent out there. 

The rose tinted glasses fall off with a persistent regularity but then when they are in bed, the house is actually clean, you have a cuppa {or wine} in hand.. the next day seems doable… I look back on my snapshot of the day and feel so thankful, so lucky and I stumble into bed and do it all again.

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Prepping for the end of Mat Leave with a Max

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My second maternity leave it just about to come to an end and I sure am going to miss my little buddy when I go back but there are bills to be paid and the bubble of the more blissful days of mat leave are definitely due to burst.

On my first maternity leave I was returning to the workforce after working for myself for 4 years, to a familiar office {I had worked for this company previously} but to a new job so that was a big adjustment in itself. This time I am returning to my part time role that I had started just before I got pregnant with Max. Max is starting in the same creche as Josh so there is some comfort in that too. It’s not so much the going back to work but the fact that such a special time is ending that is hard. 

I know from last time that the adjustment is not an easy one and life, if that is possible is about to become even busier so here are some of my tips/ideas that I am also going to implement to make it a little bit smoother:

{Batch Cook}-Just like before Max was born I plan on having a freezer full of go to meals/prepared nutritious dinners to make coming home from work but continuing to eat a lot easier.

{Online Shopping}-I do this sporadically now but plan on making this a regular weekly thing, getting it delivered and also ordering all my healthy meat options online too.

{Help around the House}-I am verging on OCD house proud and a clean/tidy house keeps me calm so I’ll be increasing my fornighly cleaner to weekly and that for me gives me a bit of sanity, it’s not for everyone but it’s definitely a treat I can justify. Also sharing the load of the other ‘jobs’ with my other half, which to be fair he is pretty good at and keeping things ticking over will be key to keeping us all calm!

{Planning}-Having the boys clothes ready, shirts and uniform ready on a Sunday makes mornings a little less rushed. Then also having nice plans made for the weekend will make the working week feel worthwhile. 

{Knowing there are going to be bad days}-All the above will help but there will be inevitable sickness {in the throws of it as we speak}, guaranteed tiredness and most certainly crankiness. So just remember the saying when these occur… this to will pass, it will and I’ll probably need to remind myself of that fact several times in early September.

{Enjoy it}-Use your bus journey to listen to a podcast, your lunch break to have a tasty peace filled lunch and any breaks you may have for a chance to get ‘life admin’ done with no interruption and with a hot cup of cofffee. That can’t be a bad thing so enjoy your little things about the changes. 

Oh and most importantly someone send the wine and lots of it… 😉

A week of firsts…. 💙💙

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I got that Friday feeling big time this week… It’s been a week of lots of firsts and I’m both exhausted and elated. 

Just over a week ago Max’s 2 bottom teeth popped through, finally!!! We had a few weeks before that of horrendous sleep so the two new spikey additions were welcomed.

Next up was crawling, also would have played its part is the dreadful sleep… My husband had always thought he would start before crèche and I really hoped he would. Sure as can be after weeks of his own little manuvoures he got up on his knees but his little hand forward and he was flying it-delighted with himself! It was a lovely moment and cheered up a dreary Tuesday morning.

The very next day was the start of settle in week in creche. I felt all the emotions, it didn’t matter that this was my second time round I was equally upset. I put on his little outfit, took the obligatory pic and off we went. It didn’t go so well, the minute I stepped out of the room he completely lost it. More than anything is surprised me cause he’s such a sociable little chap but he is also a mamas boy and pretty clued in so I reckon he picked up on the vibes and was testing the water. The next day went a whole lot better and that was such a relief. Today was a mixed bag but with a cold picked up from his dada and a few other reasons I can pin point I am hoping on his return next week we might have a smoother run… 

In the midst of all this I can see my older boy getting so independent and grown up so I am a bag of emotions at the moment but I also want to burst with pride. I need cake, coffee and wine to assist with all these changes and I’ve been allowing myself plenty these last few days. Now work looms and I think I’m ‘kinda’ ready! 😬

Summer with the Boys

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Every year since Josh was born I’ve made a wish list of things I’d like to do or events I’d like to go to in the summer months. This year is no different… Some might be the same as before so Max can experience them for the first time or some we might be revisiting due to them being a big hit. We have new places on the list too and this years list looks like this. I don’t always get through the list but will make every effort to give it a good bash with the boys! We do try and keep an eye for smaller local events too and if of interest we try and do those too which I post up on my social media pages… 

You might fit one or two in from the list below before schools back which would be a fun way to spend the last days of the summer hols. 

The ‘beach bucket’ list: 

Phoenix Park Visitor Centre & Playground:

We loved it here, great parking, lovely little indoor and outdoor cafe/coffee spot and good playground nearby for a run around. Entry to this area is free. 

Kiora Farm:
I’d heard great things about this farm so was excited to visit on a sunny day in July. Entry is 7.50 per person which I thought was a little steep but I’d wanted to bring Josh since last summer so it felt worth it. Don’t get me wrong, it is really nice and Josh absolutely loved the fire truck, diggers and go karts. However it just felt a bit thrown together for me. Nice, worth a trip if you are in the area but not worth the trip down from Dublin if you know what I mean. Entry fees as above. 



War Memorial Gardens:

We went here on a random sunny Tuesday my husband happened to be off and it was blissful. A beautiful part of the Liffey, we pitched up a picnic and enjoyed the simplicity of the surrounds. There is a good ample to do and parking is great. There isn’t a lot to the ‘park’ but with a ball or a game of catch it’s a lovely way to pass an hour or so… Entry is free to this parkland. 



Bray Fair-Air Fair:

This year we didn’t actually go to Bray for the air fair so we missed out on the great funfair and never got to go back down for that alone however our view point for the airshow was great-we headed up Killiney Hill. It is a great viewing spot and the website had stated this year the start time of the actual airshow so we were up there for 3. It was busy but not mental, lots of people had laid out picnic blankets etc. It was good but it’s a little slow and for younger ones the inpatience sets in. Airshow viewing is free but if you go to the fair the rides range from 2 euro a go which can quickly rack up!



Russbourgh: 

We went here earlier in the summer and loved it. It’s got all the makings of a great afternoon. You do pay a small amount for some of the attractions but it’s very minimal. There is a brilliant playground, great walks and the highlight for us was the fairy trail… The coffee shop down there is ok but it would be a perfect place for a picnic too or Avoca isn’t too fair away so you could stop en route to pick up some goodies. As above there are small charges for some of the attractions but it is not heavily monitored. 



Kilmacuragh-Hunters Hotel:

We ventured off here one Sunday morning that the sun looked like it was sticking around. It’s about a 40 minute drive from the south side of Dublin and well sign posted too. It was a lovely little ramble and a perfect distance for a sometimes lazy 3 year old to race around… We decided then to skip the coffee shop there and en route home stop off in the quirky Hunters Hotel for a scone and tea in the sunshine. It was a perfect combo for a sunny Sunday in June. Entry to Kilmacuragh is free.



Greenan Maze:

We only visited Greenan earlier this week and really liked it. Unfortunately the rain kept us from seeing part of it but we had such fun in the maze, around the farm and looking at all the fairy doors that it didn’t really matter. The tea rooms were lovely and the whole place is well organised and laid out. They give you a map at entry and a treasure hunt to follow which brings you around the whole attraction, taking all the bits in-at the end kids are given a little bag of treasure/jellies which keeps them happy for the trip home. Entry is 7 euro per adult/8 per child with family deals available. 



Skerries-see previous post as we didn’t make it back this summer but hoping for an Indian summer for a visit!

Places we never made…

Some on the list we never made it to this year {the summer went so fast} so back on the list for next year is Wells House along with Fruit Picking & Japanese Gardens/National Stud!

Throughout the summer myself and Max also attended Claphandies classes every Friday, first in Ballsbridge and then in Terenure. It was such a lovely thing to do with him and he adored it. The structure of the class is introductions, playtime, signing and dancing with a finish of some sign language and a different discussion topic each week. It might not be for everyone-the happy/clappy/dancing element of it but any one on one time based around fun I get with my second little man is particularly precious so we were delighted to be asked along. Check out their website for the new autumn term starting in September. 

Breastfeeding

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I’m on my second breastfeeding journey both fairly similar but this one is going on a little longer than the last. Josh decided himself one day after me being away when he was 8.5 months that he was done with the boob. Max is a big boob man so seeing how that will play out. 
As it’s International Breastfeeding Week, I thought I’d put together a post about all things related. 
B-is for bye bye perky boobs. If pregnancy and one bout of feeding didn’t have them touching my toes this feeding spell definitely has. Having said that, perky pre babies might have been a stretch!
R-is for right breast, still 9.5 months later I can get a bit of pain on this side. Max is tongue tied so his latch probably has its part to play.
E-is for easy, or not as the case may be… breastfeeding at the beginning certainly is not easy but for me on a day to day basis it is which is why I continue to do it.
A-is for ask for help, this is so important, especially in the early days.
S-is for sore, yes it’s sore-cracked nipples and those first few days of latching on can be painful and are common ground but that will pass, promise.
T-is for timing, whether you do it for 1 week, 1 month or 1 year-that is up to you and your choices. 
F-is for friends, I made some great mama pals in my breastfeeding group with Josh and having a friendly ear can be just what you need on the days where exhaustion is kicking in.
E-is for eating, you are definitely hungrier when feeding baby so eat well but treat yourself too.
E-is for expressing, getting a good pump is a really handy tool if you want to get baby onto a bottle at some stage but want to continue with mamas milk. 
D-is for daddy, whether you decide to feed exclusively or combo feed make sure dads have their part to play.
I-is for information, ask for information pre baby, in the early days or even when you are established.
N-is for nipple, nipple care at the beginning is key to avoid cracking or infection so lots of lanolin and compresses while you adjust.
G-is for great, despite some of what might sound negative above, it is great for baby and mum too so with the right support and if you have decided this is the route for you then enjoy it, embrace it and encourage it too!

*this post was specially written for International Breastfeeding Week for both Pip&Pear and BellaBaby blogs. 

9 months In & Out

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It’s been a fast 9 months but it also feels like he was never not here. I always find this milestone a memorable one as they are out of your tummy as long as they were in there….

Here are 9 nuggets we’ve learnt about Master Max in the last 9 months

1. His smiles are wide but his cries are loud. 

He’s more of a smiler than I remember his brother being and gives them generously but can also ‘crack it’ fairly intensely when the mood takes him too.



2. He is a mamas boy hands down. 

Having said that he is happy to give anyone a snuggle and a smile for a bit of attention in return.

3. He’s an inquisitive little thing.

He’s always looking around observing and taking it all in and I’ve no doubt with the way things are going he will be on the move soon.

4. He looooovvees the ‘3 Bs’ bread, boobs & bath.

A slice of toast can not pass your lips without him digging in too.  My boobs are his primary food/drink source, his comfort and his general go to/pull out of when he fancies it! 🙄  At bathtimes, the squeals of delight when he is in the water and the squeals of horror when we take him out are memorable.

5. He’s a blondy now but started off very dark.

This meant people who haven’t seen him in a while can’t believe the transformation.



6. He doesn’t sleep great, never really has, despite a fairly good routine.

This is a quality he has taken from his bro. We thought we might luck out with a sleeper this time but it seems not.

7. His personality is emerging a little different to Josh.

I kinda thought they’d just be the same, naively, but Max is more impish, he’s more gentle but also has a determination we didn’t see emerge in Josh until a little later.

8. He still has no teeth.

9 months, ‘teething’ since 3 with lots of symptoms and tons of drool but not a tooth in his head yet.

9. We all love him more than we thought possible.

Yes of course I knew I’d love him, our second child but my goodness the love I, and our whole little family have for him is more than we could have imagined, it’s intense and lovely and he brings us little nuggets of joy every day, 9 whole months of them with lots more to come!