Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013, What A Year

So, here it is, the end of 2013 is upon us. It only feels like yesterday I was in my parents house getting ready to ring in this year, I can't quite believe it's gone by so fast!
We started this year with a lot of "big" things to do, most importantly, have a baby, but on top of that we had to find somewhere to live together, buy a suitable car (I was a bit of a girl racer previously!) and just prepare ourselves as best we could for the huge change that was coming our way!
While I am a natural worrier, there were plenty of days where I really didn't think we'd pull all of this off, but I needn't have worried. As my oh so patient other half told me, things will fall into place...and that they did.
We found a newer car in February, much more suitable to transport a baby around in, we moved into our first home together in April and of course we welcomed our wonderful little boy, Luke into the world in June. Not forgetting, we became engaged in August when James and Luke planned a surprise proposal :)
Of course like every year there's been some lows, but the high times far out weigh them. I've seen my closest friends taking the next steps in their lives, new babies have arrived to join Luke in the 2013 gang, I've met some wonderful new people who I just know will be around for a long time and most importantly, I've changed. I guess becoming a parent does that, but I've realised the more important things in life, I'm trying my hardest not to fret over the small things anymore  and to focus on the bigger picture, but most of all my drive has kicked up a notch. I've got a more determined feeling within me, to really go after my dreams and goals, pursue happiness so that I can set a good example for our little boy and to make him proud.
2013 was great but I have a feeling 2014 is going to be even better :)

Happy New Year everyone! I really hope all of your dreams for this coming year come true. Peace, love, light and positive vibes to you all xo









Thursday, 12 December 2013

6 Months Old

I'm somewhat shocked that we have reached 6 months, I can't seem to get my head around the fact that my boy is 6 months! I mean that's not a teeny tiny baby age anymore, he's more of grown up baby if you know what I mean!
The 5th month was a good one for Luke, he seemed to really come into his own personality and the chatter has kicked up a notch, along with the blowing bubbles, this entertains me and him for ages. He's so much more aware of his surroundings now, he recognises voices and really wants to touch and feel everything. He's sitting up unaided most of the time now, of course we keep a close eye on him as he can still fall backwards or sideways but he has his own play area surrounded by cushions. This is another thing thats amazed me the last few days, he happily plays on his play mat with all his toys by himself for ages, I sit behind him, not distracting him, just watching him interacting with all the different toys. He's trying to hold the bottle himself now, he can for a while but then lets it drop. He's mad to grab the spoon as you feed him too but can satisfy him for now by giving it to him afterwards.
The little monster has been in 6-9 months clothes the last 3 weeks, he's very long so all baby grows were getting too small.
He's dropped to 6oz bottles now and the solids have increased. His favourite at the moment is chicken and vegetables and fruit custard for dessert. He always has a bit of bedtime porridge before bed too just keep him that bit fuller going to sleep. He's still taking a middle of the night bottle but this will phase out soon.
He's still a bit of a divil during the night, he's been a bit unsettled the last few nights but then again he is still teething mad. He comes into us about 5am or 6am in the morning until about 8am. Saying that he went to his Nanny's for a sleepover last Saturday and slept 6 hours straight, had a bottle and back off for another 4 or 5 hours, he likes to keep his Mum and Dad on our toes I'd say!
He had his 6 month jabs today, I definitely react worse than he does, I dread them the whole night before and feel guilty for him for ages afterwards. He screamed for about 30 seconds and then that was it, he had a sleep for 1 1/2 hours then.
He is such a good little boy, he melts my heart every time he laughs, especially when he's being tickled, his lovely little smile can brighten up the darkest of moods and he always seems to know the right time to do it too! Each day he's becoming so much more independent, wanting to do things by himself, his way. This is great of course but sometimes I wish I could just freeze us in time for a while. I'm am so so proud of him though and each day I am more excited to see the little boy he's becoming.
I'm really looking forward to enjoying his 6th month, I have a feeling he's going to be keeping us all entertained over the festive holidays :) xo

Fingers are ALWAYS in his mouth! :)

"Mum...I'm tryna play here!"

Monday, 9 December 2013

Raspberry and Vanilla Christmas Fairy Cakes

So that time of year again and I have to make my usual Christmassy fairy cakes :)

Using my ever so reliable cake recipe, here they are:

Ingredients: 

6oz Self Raising Flour
6oz Caster Sugar
6oz Margarine
3 Eggs
Vanilla Essence

Icing:

Margarine
Icing Sugar
Red Food Colouring
Raspberry Essence

Method:


  • Mix caster sugar and margarine together first
  • Add flour a bit at a time and an egg one at a time. I find this gives the mixture a nicer texture than throwing it all in together
  • Leave to mix in the food mixer for a few minutes
  • Add in 1tsp of vanilla essence
  • Bake for approx 30 - 35mins on 170degrees in a preheated oven
  • Leave to cool on a cooling rack

For the icing I don't measure the margarine or icing sugar I just go with it until I get the right texture so make it how stiff or runny you would like the mixture. I added the raspberry essence to the icing. I then decorated with some Christmas sugar cake decorations. 
There you go, so quick and easy and and and ideal recipe to use with small children, they have great fun decorating the cakes with the different coloured icing :)


Monday, 2 December 2013

Christmas Card Photo's 2013

So I have finally managed to get some Christmas photo's of Luke done, just in time to get them printed tomorrow to insert into the Christmas cards we are giving to family.

I took them myself on my SLR camera, a Canon EOS 1100D. I bought this camera last year when my photography hobby kicked up a notch. I got most of Luke's Christmas themed clothes from Tesco and purchased the fleece Winter themed blanket from Penneys. It made the perfect back drop for our pictures. I just draped it over our couch and sat the little man down. He was only too happy to pose for the first few but got bored of Mum's constant snapping after a short while.
I edited them using iPhoto and PicMonkey which allowed me to add in some themed extras.

What do you think? :)

First Ever Christmas

My Little Reindeer 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Maternity Leave Has Come To An End

So here it is, November 29th, the date I thought I would never see because 6 months seemed like such a long time away, it felt like it would never come around least of all this fast. So fast it feels like I've blinked in June and opened my eyes again in November.

I finished up in work on May 27th to begin my maternity leave, or my "baby holiday" I had naively called it, half jokingly! I really did envisage me having all this free time on my hands, yeah sure there would be a baby to look after but how time consuming would that be when they just eat and sleep most of the day?! How wrong was I eh?!

Of course we couldn't foresee the issue's we would have in finding the right formula, something which took us over 6 weeks, a lot of crying from our very unsettled baby and a trip to cranio to sort out, or the kidney infection that left our little boy hospitalised for days, or the aftermath of his somewhat traumatic birth in general, or the over whelming emotions I experienced after his birth. It took a while to find our feet with a routine after all of the above and for a while it felt like we no sooner did establish some kind of routine then something would come along and disrupt it. Before I knew it, it was November and only then were we settled nicely into our daily routine...typical.
Thank god for annual leave days, I've managed to take an extra month off of work which means I get to spend all of L's first Christmas with him, this of course, is great but the whole time my return to work date has been looming over me like a dark cloud.
My boss went out on maternity leave in January and she told just to put the thought of returning to work out of my head and enjoy my time with my little baby, I've tried my hardest to keep to that. However, sometimes when we are playing or having snuggles on the couch I find myself getting a bit upset that those moments will be few and far between once I go back to work. I will be returning to work on a full time basis at the moment, not by choice, but that's a whole other post! This means that I will be away from L from 8am - 6pm five days a week, it takes all my effort not to think about this daily because I am dreading all that time away from him.

For now though, I am concentrating on making my little boy's first Christmas the best ever, even though he won't remember it, I will plus there will be so many photo's he will be able to re live it in years to come :)

June 2013

November 2013




Thursday, 28 November 2013

Littlewoods Wooden 3-in-1 Highchair

So we've had to take another big step and buy a highchair...someone slow this boy down!

Anyway from the start I've had my heart set on getting a highchair for L similar to the one I had as a child, it was a wooden one which then turned into a table and chair, some of my earliest memories are in that high chair.
So I searched high and low. I did find one in Argos but it just didn't appeal to me so kept looking. Surprisingly they don't seem to be that popular but I found another one on Littlewoods so we had to have it.

The seat slots into the top of table for now until you are ready to change it either to a lower level or into the table and chair.





Luke likes his new highchair :)

This highchair is very solid, I feel L is safe in there. I would have preferred stronger straps but they do the job. My only real concern is that that back of the seat isn't very high and as he's still a bit young I'm wary that it might not support him enough but we are just getting used to it at the moment. It tucks away in the corner of the kitchen quite nicely and really blends in well. I really didn't want an eye sore of thing getting in the way. It is the perfect height for our kitchen table too. This high chair is value for money costing €82.00 which will last until he's 3 or 4.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Christmas Clothes Part 1

We did the first, of many no doubt, Christmas clothes shop for the Boy last week. We got some great buys, all for very reasonable prices. We got this lot in Tesco. I find the baby clothes from there are such good quality, the vests from Tesco are probably the best fitting ones I have put on L. I had to stop myself from buying one of everything though!
We went to the Tesco Extra in Douglas as they have a much bigger selection than the other stores. (It also helped that we had a 20% discount from Mum!)

Mickey Mouse Christmas pjs, 2 pairs per pack

Batman Onesie and Batman Pjs

He is my Best Present :)

We are a big fan of skulls in this house

This onesie looks so cosy!

A themed onesie for the Winter months

Adore these skull shoes 


Christmas long sleeved t shirts
We got all of the above for around €60.00. I'm on the look out for a nice pair of jeans of combats for L now, but he actually has so many pairs that he has yet to wear, I might need to get any.
I had planne don taking photos of L wearing these clothes but with him being ill, I didn't want to be annoying him by dressing him up in all different outfits!
This week we will be searching for a nice festive Christmas jumper for him :)

My First Bug

So the last few days we've been dealing with a sick baby. This is my first experience of dealing with a "bug" since L was born and my poor mite was really shook from this tummy bug.
It was so horrible to see him so not himself, not eating as usual because that boy loves his food. We had many a pyjama change during the night these past few nights, some projectile vomiting and lots of half drank bottles left behind. It peaked on Saturday night when we had to ring South Doc at midnight, it really scared me to see him so poorly.
All through this though, he has been a trooper. He's been in such good form considering how sick he was and all he's wanted is cuddles which of course we don't mind giving.
When your child is sick is really does take it out of all of you though. Most of the past morning and afternoons were spent on the couch underneath our sick baby, the house work has been left to pile up and the washing was only folded today, 3 days after it was dried! Not to mention that I haven't been feeling great myself the last 24 hours but I'd happily take on this bug if it meant L no longer had to deal with it.

Now we are all on the mend, L slept better last night than he ever has and it's time to get back into our routine.

My poorly baby trying to sleep through it all

Chillin' out on Mum and Dad's bed after an eventful night

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Cranial Osteopathy For Babies

As mentioned in my teething post  I am very much for alternative, homeopathic remedies for baby and this includes therapies as well.
I was recommended to try cranial osteopathy for Luke when he was tiny by someone else who had tried and swore by it. At the time I was desperate, Luke seemed so fractious and unsettled, I needed to try anything to make him feel better.
Before I go any further, I'll just give a brief description of what this actually is:

This is a relatively new kind of therapy but it works by applying pressure no heavier than a 5 cent coin to pin point an obstruction or stress within the body. The therapist can assist with helping the natural movement of the fluid and soft tissue within the body. After going through your pregnancy and labour history with you, the therapist then works with that information to locate any stresses within baby.

When you are sitting there watching this, it really does look like they aren't doing anything at all except resting their hands on baby but its a gentle pressure in order to release any stresses they may find.

The very first time we went, Luke screamed and screamed for almost the entire time but she was able to tell us that his formula was one major problem. She said there was so much tension in his belly that he was in constant discomfort. She recommended we change to a different one to see if that would help, of course she advised we check with our doctor first. This was one giant step in the right direction. As soon as we did this, there was such a huge improvement in Luke.
We went back 10 days later and she said she could feel 90% improvement in him.

Our next visit there was just before he was 4 months old. We'd established a good sleeping pattern but suddenly that all changed and we were back to waking on the hour every hour throughout the night, naps were getting difficult. Again an improvement within days. Although 2 weeks ago things kicked off with the sleeping again, I don't know was it a growth spurt, teething or something else but Saturday night just gone his sleeping seemed to return to normal. He's always had a bedtime routine anyway and the last few nights he's back to sleeping from 7pm - 1am, wakes for a feed, then off again until 5am when he comes in with mum and dad for another couple of hours.

We are due back for a follow up in a few weeks. It's not cheap but I feel its worth it for the immediate effects. However my main concern now is the longevity of the therapy. Is this the kind of thing where we will need to keep going back? I do find that as he's getting older, things in general are settling down with him, he's much more capable these days , although I'm not entirely sure if that is down to this therapy or not though.
I would recommend this therapy for a kick start to ease any discomfort within your baby but after that I think it all depends on their age, surroundings, food etc.

What are your thoughts on cranial osteopathy? I'd love to hear them.

*I visited Ashbrook Clinic in Silversprings, Cork forLuke's sessions, each one costing €70.00 and lasting 45mins*





Tuesday, 19 November 2013

First Time...In The Playground

On Sunday we took our very first trip to the playground. It was quite exciting, I think I was more excited though, obviously Luke being only 5 months old he didn't have a clue what was going on, nevertheless he had a great time.
We drove over to Whitegate to the playground over there. It's such a good area, the playground itself is gated and quite big, there are separate play areas for the older kids which is good when there is such smallies there. Luke had his big cousin Katie to take him down the slide and he absolutely loved the swings.
I'm really looking forward to taking him again and making it a regular outing for us. It's just a shame we have to make the drive over to Whitegate to this playground, would you believe the ones in Cobh have no swings?! I wouldn't even call that a proper playground, the swings are the best part! :)




Best Buds :)


Thursday, 14 November 2013

5 Months

So another month has rolled around far too quickly, it feels like last week I wrote about L turning 4 months. This boy is changing so fast so much every day. His Nan only commented today about how she can see a change in him every time she sees him which is most days.

He has now well and truly established his love for solid foods, he's on 3 meals a day. We start off with porridge mixed with a bit of fruit for breakfast, pureed veg and some homemade soup for lunch and for now, half a jar of baby food for dinner. He'll have a bit of dessert most days, maybe some custard or chocolate pudding and he absolutely loves his bit of banana bedtime before he goes up. He's a right little buster! His bottles have reduced from 7oz to about 5oz. He will not entertain water at the moment which is frustrating because he guzzled it down when he was first born but I'll keep trying it.
We haven't quite mastered the sleeping through the night but that's ok. I feel like he's slowly started to phase out his middle of the night bottle himself now though as he is waking later for it and drinking less. He still wakes between 4.30am and 5.30am every single morning but we just scoop him up and in with us where he will sleep on until 7.30am, sometimes a bit later.
He's sitting up unaided now, not for long but getting longer at it every day. He much prefers to be sitting on the floor or the arm chair rather than his own seats at the moment.
He's almost mastered his hand to mouth coordination with his dummy, he just forgets to let go of the dummy once its actually in his mouth!
His teeth have been giving him quite a hard time but seemed to have settled down for now. He is beginning to cut his first one though, unfortunately he's cross cutting.
He's become much more relaxed around other people now. He only gets to see Grandad on Saturday and Sunday because he works away during the week so its taken that bit longer for L to get used to him but they are getting used to each other now.

As each month comes and goes I just feel so proud of my little boy, waking up to his smiling face every morning really makes any of the trying times worth while. Somedays I think I may actually burst from all the love I feel for him.

Loves his food!

Took a bit of effort but he finally got it into his mouth by himself!

This boy and that smile... xxx


Monday, 11 November 2013

Teething Saviours

Teething...who knew it would be so tough eh?! Poor L has had his fist stuck in his mouth since he was around 3  and a half months old, I knew he'd start the teething early. It really kicked up a notch around the 4 month mark and I was really beginning to despair that nothing was going to give him any relief. However in the last few weeks we have found a couple things that have done just that and my little man is more himself and coping with the pain much better, maybe the below can bring some relief to your little ones too:

Amber Necklace - I purchased one of these from Bella Baby about 3 or 4 weeks ago I genuinely think it's made a big difference. It was €20 and well worth it. It says it takes about 3 weeks to work, to give the amber a chance to work with the skin but I saw a difference much sooner, his red cheeks went down and the drooling reduced. He wears it all the time except when he's in the bath. They can also be found at Baltic Amber.

Nelson's Teething Granules - I find these to be great for an almost instant pain relief and just a general calming effect. I would rarely need to use more than one or two sachets a day. Ideal if the teething pain comes on while out and about, no need to be messing about with any spoons or syringes.

Bonjela Teething Gel - Great for soothing the gums, we've only started using it recently and found it great for during the night, easy to apply without disturbing him too much.

And now for my secret weapon, my mother was recommended this in health shop the other week and it has worked wonders:


New Vistas Teething Time - This stuff is magic! Its a blend of all natural ingredients and is best used twice a day. We were advised to use it 20mins before the mid morning bottle and 20 mins before the bedtime bottle. 5 drops on the tongue each time. It helps L through the night and throughout the day if done this way. The difference in him in the last week has been huge, he's had so much relief from these drops. The hand is still in the mouth but not as much, the bibs are still being changed but not as often and his general well being has improved. They aren't cheap though, this bottle cost €15 but I would definitely say well worth it. They can be purchased online slightly cheaper at New Vistas Healthcare.

I'm much happier giving L homeopathic remedies where possible rather than filling him with pharmaceuticals but of course the Calpol and Nurofen have come in handy now and then too particularly for bringing down a temperature.
He's getting better at the whole hand to mouth thing and gripping on to things for longer so hopefully he will be able to use the teething rings etc soon..I have loads of them chilling in the fridge ready and waiting.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Splash From The Bath Seat

I am so happy that Luke loves the bath. It was the one thing I really hoped would be something he would love even before he arrived into the world. In the haze of unknowing these last 21 weeks, and the 9 months leading up to the start of that time, the one thing I was sure of was a bedtime routine which was to include a bath. So I was delighted when he took to the bath like a duck to water. Well there has been a few times when he hasn't been impressed with the bath but very very few. It makes me happy to know that when we trot off upstairs to begin the night time routine that bath time is a pleasure. He really relaxes in there and loves having the water splashed over him.

So as with most tiny babies we started off with the quick baths where Dad would hold him and I would wash him down but as he got a bit bigger we were able to put him on a seat in the big bath.
If he could stay in there all night he would.


This was his first seat. We were lucky enough to be given not one but two of these (one for home and one for Nanny's). As soon as he was sturdy enough for it, it made bath time so much better. He was able to well and truly kick back and relax. It reclines so as he got bigger we were able to sit him up a bit more. It wasn't long though before his were hanging awkwardly over the end of it though and he would slouch right down.

So last week we upgraded to this:


It's a Swivel Seat from Safety First. I got it in Smyths for €14.99 reduced from €19.99. This has brought our bath times up to a whole new level!! It suctions on to the bottom of the bath and can turn 360 degrees. The little toy on the front keeps him entertained and I find it much easier to get his hair washed while sitting up right in this seat. The only down side to it at the moment is that he tends to slip down just a small bit so until he's a tiny bit bigger (which wont be long at the rate hes growing!) we just sit him on a face cloth.

Next up for my water baby...swimming lessons. To be honest this prospect scares, it's such a grown up thing but I'm on the look out for a baby swimsuit and will bring him along to the pool soon.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

I made this delicious soup yesterday for lunch and it worked out quite well considering it was my first soup making attempt.

*For a Slimming World friendly recipe I swapped the sugar for sweetener and vegetable oil for low calorie spray. To make it more filling I cooked 2 cups of pasta and added it to the blended soup. Makes a delicious filling lunch and it's all syn free*

Ingredients: 

2 red peppers
2 large tomatoes (or a tin in my case as I had no tomatoes in the fridge)
1 onion
1 pint of vegetable stock
2 tblsp of vegetable oil
1 tsp of mixed herbs
2 tsp of sugar
4-5 tsp of tomato puree
1 tblsp of lemon juice



Method:


  • De seed the peppers and chop along with the onions. 
  • Heat the oil in a sauce pan and add vegetables once its hot.
  • Cook until onions are golden brown and peppers are soft.
  • Add in the can of tomatoes and mix well
  • Add the stock along with the lemon juice, herbs, tomato puree and sugar
  • Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for approx 15 mins, the longer the better though.
  • When ready, blend the soup and serve.



Yes she likes to wear her dressing gown during the day too :)

We had ours with some bread and butter, perfect for the Wintery afternoon that was yesterday.
xo


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween!!

This Halloween has been my most favourite ever! It's so much better to enjoy these holidays when theres children around. Even though Luke is only 20 weeks, I still made sure I went that extra bit with the celebrations.
I hosted my first ever kids / Halloween party...and boy am I tired after that! :) The majority of my friends all have young children so thought it wold be nice to get them all together to sure in some scary fun. Luke has been a bit poorly and got a bit worked up half way through but other than that he was a trooper. He was joined by his best friends Aoibhinn and Ellie plus many more.
I picked up most of Halloween decorations in Aldi and Tesco along with some goodies, but this morning was spent in the kitchen baking. I made some fairy cakes, the Boy made biscuits and a coffin shaped cake and my right hand girl, Katie made some rice krispie cakes, it was a busy kitchen! We added some scary touches to our Halloween cakes with some food colouring and spooky sprinkles.
We are now finishing off the day watching Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters in front of the fire. ( I think I'll be more scared watching it than Katie and she's 11!)

It really was a lovely afternoon and it just made me even more excited about getting into the Christmas spirit...all for the kids obviously ;)




My very own pumpkin :)


He had too many outfits so it turned into more of a Halloween week!

He then decided he wanted to be a vampire of some kind and tried to eat his Daddy :)


xo