Saturday, 14 September 2013

Homework Tantrums

My 8yr old LOVES doing her homework, in fact she loves learning which shows in all her school results.

My 10yr old however doesn't, especially if it involves writing!

He is too impatient and just wants to get it over and done with as quick as possible so he can get back to more fun things.

So this weekend's homework was a complete nightmare for him... copying a paragraph of writing neatly, which meant taking his time and concentrating!

He threw the biggest tantrum I've ever seen him throw over homework, throwing his pencil, moaning, complaining, arguing etc but after being told he wasn't to leave the table and was grounded from his tablet until it was done, he finally did it!

Goodness knows how he'll cope next year when he starts secondary school and has a lot more, harder homework!!!


Organising Clothes Again!

Today my mission, should I choose to accept it, was to tidy my daughter's wardrobe.

Just before the baby arrived a month ago, I had a big reorganisation of two of the girls' clothes. I bagged up all their outgrown clothes (sizes 2-3 and 5-6) and put them away ready for the next one to grow into, and pulled out the bagged up clothes that they'd grown into (3-4 and 6-7). It took me hours to do and I hoped I wouldn't have to do it again for a long time!

Sadly I failed to tell hubby who's wardrobe was whose, assuming he already knew, which meant he put their clothes away in the wrong wardrobe. This was made worse by my 6yr olds habit of changing her clothes every 5 minutes and just throwing her clothes at the bottom of the wardrobe when asked to put her clean clothes away or tidy her room.

This was the sight that greeted me when I opened the doors today...


So I spent a good hour sorting it all out!

Hidden amongst her clothes was sizes 2-3, 3-4, 4-5 and 5-6. Goodness knows where most of them came from as, apart from the 3-4, they weren't there when I last sorted it. Although it made a change from the sweetie wrappers I usually find hidden in my son's room!

Finally I finished, just in time to feed the baby as hubby brought her upstairs crying and hungry. 


Tomorrow's mission is to sort the 3yr old's wardrobe!!!

On another note, I did find a way to get the baby to nap happily in the travel cot as she doesn't seem to like lying down flat.


Friday, 13 September 2013

#R2BC Getting Back into a Routine

The first full week of school is over, which means (hopefully) that all paperwork has been completed and that everyone is settled in. Judging by how cranky my 8yr old has been the past couple of nights, it's also been very tiring for them as well!

My 3yr old has settled in quite happily and loves going to school. She is a little upset that she isn't going to her older sisters class though and told me "I'm big enough now!" when I told her she couldn't go. She's quickly making friends and even went to a party this week. As for me, I still can't believe she's in school. She looks too little, they all do!



My 6yr old daughter was really brave on Monday and had her tooth out. I couldn't believe how big it was! It just goes to prove that you never stop learning as I never realised that baby teeth have roots as well! I just assumed they didn't as they never have them when they fall out, although thinking about it logically it makes sense as how else would they anchor in place! The dentist (who was lovely) explained that as the new teeth start to form behind the milk teeth, the roots shrivel up and as they get smaller they lose their grip on the gum and that's how they fall out. Again it makes complete sense and you're left feeling dumb for not working that out!



On Tuesday my son had another hospital appointment, following last weeks audiology. He passed his hearing test last week and the ENT consultant was happy to discharge him, especially as he hasn't complained about his ears hurting for a while. He did remove the grommet that has been sitting in his ear canal for months in case that was causing the pain. He had the grommet inserted over 3 years ago and although it had come out of the ear drum and the hole had closed up, it had stayed in the ear canal. The other one fell out ages ago! I must admit that the grommet didn't look anything at all like I imagined! The dr gave it to him to take to school to show everyone, but sadly he lost it on the way home so I couldn't get a picture of it!

On Thursday the oldest two girls started back at Brownies and Rainbows. In a way it's quite sad that this is the last term that my 6yr old will be a Rainbow, she turns 7 at the start of December and will become a Brownie after Christmas. My 8yr old is already hoping that she doesn't join the same six! In January I will put my 3yr old's name down for Rainbows as she turns 4, although she can't join until she's 5. At least I'll have a year off from juggling Rainbows and Brownies! 

I've actually lost some weight and my jeans feel a bit loose. Of course, having a baby usually means you lose some weight, but at the end of my pregnancy I weighed less than I did at the start of the pregnancy. I'm trying to do some walking and walking along the prom when I get chance, often when my 3yr old is at school in the morning. I really want to lose some weight and I'm seriously thinking about joining Slimming World as my mum and dad have both lost weight with them and I like that you don't have to count points. 

So these are my reasons for being cheerful this week! What are yours? Why not join in with Mich from Mummy From the Heart and her weekly blog hop #R2BC and share what's making you happy this week. Too often we get caught up in all the negatives that surround us and it's nice to take a minute to realise that no matter how dark things may seem, there's always something to be positive about, no matter how small!



#FridayBabyShower The Baby's 1 Month Check-up

Today my baby turns 5 weeks old! I can't believe how quickly the time is passing and I'm trying to remember to enjoy her being this small as much as I can as I know I will never get this time back with her! Not to mention how quickly you forget how small they were.


The biggest problem we're having at the moment is getting my 3 year old to leave her alone!!! She loves her baby sister and just wants to cuddle her and kiss her all the time and doesn't realise she's actually hurting her! Yesterday I found her trying to put the toy binocular's around her neck so you really can't leave them alone together! I've set up a travel cot in the lounge as somewhere safe I can leave the baby, but even that isn't safe from my VERY determined 3 year old!!!

This morning, whilst my 3 year old was at school, I took the baby to the baby clinic to get weighed. 

We've had a tough start me and the baby. When she was born her sugars weren't high enough after a feed and we had to give her formula as top-ups and resulted in her being discharged classed as a bottle-fed baby. However I was reluctant to bottle-feed completely and gave her breast instead and was pleased when I tested her sugars and found they were normal (See Breastfeeding Difficulties).

So having her weighed is the only way I can check that she is thriving with the breastfeeding, especially after our difficult start, so I was thrilled to see that she has gained weight! She was last weighed on the 27th August aged 2wks 4days and she weighed 7lb 15oz. Today, aged 5wks exactly, she weighed 9lb 2oz and she's following the 25th percentile nicely.

She's a little spotty on her cheeks and her chest and woke up this morning with conjunctivitus in her left eye, but one of the joys of breastfeeding means I can bathe it in breastmilk which will help it get better quickly.

I also had a chat about my 3yr old as we're having a some trouble with her and pooping (see here) and she suggested trying to get her to drink more and see how she gets on this week. She also asked if I was interested in doing Incredible Years again. I did it about 4 years ago, but because of work commitments I missed a few sessions and if I'm completely honest, I've forgotten a lot of what I learnt so it would be nice to do it as a refresher. Plus my 3yr old is very stubborn, strong-willed, determined, bossy and very very argumentative!!! In fact, I'm seriously thinking about banning her from watching Max and Ruby and Peppa Pig as I think they're a bad influence on her because they're both so very bossy!

This post is my entry onto the weekly Friday Baby Shower hosted by Mums Make Lists

My Dad the Hoarder

I love my dad dearly, and so does my mum. He's a wonderful dad who is helpful and supportive and always there for you, loves you unconditionally and never judges. But he has one fault... one that drives my mum MAD.

My dad is a HOARDER.

He's not as bad as those hoarders you see on TV, ones where their homes are overflowing with junk and they risk life and limb as they wander around their home, hoping that their pile of junk treasure doesn't collapse on top of them. 

But, my dad doesn't like to part with things.

Years ago, my dad found he was running out of room to store his belongings, which included some of his parents' belongings who died in 1989 and 1990, so he bought himself a big storage container, which we affectionately call "The Doghouse". Inside you will find the spare mast and outboard engine for his yacht which he sold about 20 years ago, as well as some of my granddad's old model making tools!

Seven years ago my parents downsized from a 4 bedroom flat to a 3 bedroom bungalow and my mum tried to make my dad get rid of some of his stuff. However she wasn't able to persuade him to part with everything and he still has "The Doghouse" as they still own the flat (which is where I now live) although I did get him to create some room in there to store all our bikes!



Slowly, my dad has been rebuilding his clutter collection and has filled the garage and the garden shed, as well as the spare bedrooms and attic. He even has a BMW parked on the drive, which hasn't been used in about 5 years! Yet he refuses to get rid of it or scrap it, declaring that someone will want it and restore it as it still runs (he starts the engine at least once a month and drives it up and down the drive). He claims it is a status symbol having a BMW on the drive and he also uses it for storage as well!!! 



If my parents downsize again, or my dad runs out of space to keep his clutter treasures, then I found some storage units online which could store his clutter or even his wreck of a car beloved BMW. 

This would result in one happy mum as she would finally be without it blocking her drive, one happy dad because his BMW would be safe and not crushed and one happy daughter who would have somewhere safe to park the car when I visit, rather than worrying about it rolling down their steep hill or having to get wet as we run from the car to the house!



Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Christmas is Coming! Act Now to Spread the cost!

There is just 






The cost of Christmas can be a lot, too much for December's pay alone to cope with, but it's not too late to save money and cut the cost of Christmas.




  • Start saving NOW - Never write a wish list of everything you want for Christmas. Work out what you can afford to put aside in September, October, November and December and work out how much you will have.
  • Spend what you can afford - Too many try to do everything at Christmas, buy all the must-have gadgets, gifts for everyone and a banquet meal and then spend the rest of the year trying to pay for it all only to go into debt again the following Christmas. Instead work out how much you can save in time for Christmas and how much you can afford and stick to it. Christmas is just one day, don't ruin the next year trying to pay it all off.
  • Try some DemoHoHotivation - Moneysavingexpert has a wonderful little tool known as the demohohotivator which shows how small sacrifices can save you money. For example I go to the cafe with my friends, once or twice a week whilst my 3yr old is in school for 2hrs, and I buy a mug of tea and a toasted teacake which costs about £4. If I gave this up, I would save £118 between now and Christmas! Try this tool and see how much you could save on coffees, snacks, cigarettes, magazines and other non-essentials by giving them up between now and Christmas!
  • Ban unnecessary Christmas presents - Christmas guilt is one of the retail stores joys of Christmas. You might enjoy giving presents to all your friends, extended family and work colleagues but it often causes guilt in the other person as they feel they have to give you a gift back, which they (or you) might not be able to afford. Why not suggest Secret Santa gifts instead, where you only have to buy one gift instead of 10 and can be a lot more fun!
  • Save money on your grocery shopping - At Christmas we often assume that we need the best, and that this goes for food as well, and we head to the supermarkets for branded food. Yet don't automatically assume that the costlier branded food is best. Try some of the cheaper food and use your taste-buds to judge instead of your eyes and buy what is best for you. If you're planning a large shop, go to MySupermarket and it'll compare the cost of goods at the big online supermarkets Even if you cannot get home delivery (like I can't) then the prices are similar in-store and it'll help you find the best bargains for your Christmas cupboard.
  • Use the internet to save money. 1: Use shopping comparison sites which can help find the cheapest prices for whatever you want to buy. Megashopbot is the best one as searches several shopping comparison websites but don't forget buying locally can also be cheap (as you won't pay postage) and you might even find something unique instead. 2: Amazon Discount Finder is a great tool which could help you find secret 75% and more hidden bargains. 3: Map hidden local eBay deals with free tools and smartphone apps using the moneysavingexpert guide. Keep an eye out for Photo Book and Canvas Codes for special offers and discounts.
  • When you buy something online, check first whether you can earn cashback with a cashback website such as Topcashback or Quidco. These sites are easy to use and free to join and you can easily earn quite a bit of money. All you do is go to through their sites to the online store you were going to use anyway. They are paid an advertising fee for sharing their site, which they pass onto you. Payments depend on how much you spend. However, never let the amount of cashback dictate where or what you buy as you can sometimes find the item cheaper somewhere else so check using a price comparison website first.
  • Try creating special homemade gifts which only cost a little to make but which are full of love. There's plenty of easy step-by-step guides on the web, for anything you could think of making. What about creating IOU vouchers using your computer to create offers for friends and family such as free babysitting, lunch at your house etc for your friends to use during the coming year. Or what about a date night package for someone you love, from a picnic in the park to a candlelit bubble bath or even a back rub or foot massage.
  • Go through children's toys and all your old cupboards and see what gems you could unearth. Sell all your outgrown clothes or toys that are no longer played with using facebook for sale groups or on eBay to try and boost your Christmas savings account.
  • Don't use your Tesco clubcard vouchers for festive food. A £10 voucher is worth just £10 in-store. Yet you can triple its value (so £10 becomes £30) on the Tesco rewards website on certain gift items such as jewellery. Or you can use it's in-store "double-up" scheme to get 2x value which they often host. Last year we doubled-up our £50 of Tesco vouchers to use on toys and got £100 worth of toys for free. If you are a member of their Christmas Saver Scheme (where you save up all your clubcard vouchers through the year and receive them in November) you can also top-up your clubcard points by adding money to your clubcard whilst shopping, just ask your cashier next time you're shopping. Don't forget you can also check on their website to see if you have any unclaimed vouchers. 
  • Set up a Christmas cupboard and keep an eye out for discounts. Be a tactical Christmas shopper, decide what you want, make a list, get a Christmas cupboard ready to put stuff in and then wait until you see what you want is on offer. Just make sure you don't raid the cupboard before Christmas! 
  • Young children don't value their gifts by how much you spent on it and are often quite happy to play with the boxes and wrapping paper than the actual present! One fun present which doesn't cost a lot could be a balloon box, just fill a huge box with blown-up balloons and then wrap it. One of my favourite presents when I was a teenager was from my aunt, she knew I loved the colour purple so she got a big box and filled it with everything she could find that was purple; soap, toothbrush, hairbrush, nail brush etc. It was like diving into a treasure box as I never knew what I was going to find next!
  • Supermarket saving schemes encourage year-long saving for Christmas, but there's a loophole which allows you to get a years bonus in just one day! Most stores pay it depending on how much you've saved by a specific day, so save it in a top savings account in a bank first, then the day before the bonus is paid (check with the specific store for the date) withdraw the cash and fill up the savings card with stamps to be spent in that store.
  • If you're buying an expensive gift which costs over £100, ALWAYS pay by credit card. This gives you extra protection (section 75 laws) should the firm go bust and the goods go faulty or don't appear, as your credit card provider is jointly liable for the whole amount and you can claim through them. 
  • When you buy a gift for someone ask the store for a gift receipt or get them to write on your receipt and their copy that it's a gift and who it's for. The reason for this is that legally only the person who bought the gift has any rights and the recipient cannot exchange, by writing on the receipt or getting a gift one, the rights are then transferred.
  • Sometimes it can be worth delaying Christmas a little. If you want to get a really big expensive item, like a TV or games console, then give the kids a nicely wrapped IOU telling them that you're waiting for the January sales to get the item cheaper.
***DISCLAIMER***
This is NOT a sponsored post, I haven't been asked or paid to write this post, I just wanted to share tip and tricks to help slash the cost of Christmas. A big THANK YOU goes to Martin Lewis and Moneysavingexpert for the information contained in this guide. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

My Big Brave Girl and the Tooth Extraction

Today I had to take my 6yr old to the dentist for a tooth extraction


A few months ago she complained of toothache and was really upset because it hurt a lot. Her usual dentist couldn't offer her an appointment for at least a week, but I remembered someone telling me about the local child health dentist at the local cottage hospital and how good they were so I decided to give them a ring. They were lovely on the phone and they saw her that very afternoon.

With a nervous girl, we went to the cottage hospital to see the dentist. They were fabulous with her, completely putting her at ease, chatting to her, making her laugh and most importantly explaining everything to her (and me). Sadly she had a hole in her tooth so they gave her a temporary filling and made an appointment to see her again a week later for permanent one. 

The following week we went back and because they had put her at ease and reassured her so much, she was happy to go and skipped from the carpark to the hospital. This time she had a permanent filling, but, as before, they explained everything to her and she was fine. The dentist kept an eye on her the whole time and when she saw that my daughter was starting to get distressed and that it was becoming painful, she stopped. She explained to me that the hole was bigger and deeper than they realised and it was down to the nerve. She told me that they hoped that the medication they'd put in the filling would kill the bacteria in the tooth, but the chances were she would need the tooth out eventually. However, because it was one of her back molars, and one she shouldn't lose until she was 12, they hoped that the filling would help prolong the life of the tooth. She was given a couple more appointments to check her tooth and I transferred the other 3 to the same dentist as I was so happy with her treatment and care.

A few weeks later they stopped the check-ups after explaining they were happy with the tooth but that I was to keep an eye on it and if she complained of toothache or I felt a bump in the gum above the tooth, I was to contact them immediately. 

Before the start of the holidays, she woke up crying that her tooth hurt and when I felt the gum above I could feel a lump. I phoned the dentist but they weren't at our local cottage hospital for a few days. They did tell me where they were that day and that if we could get there then they would see her. Luckily it was at a town that the train stopped at, so I agreed to take her that day and off we went. The dentist examined her and said that she had an infection in her tooth and she needed antibiotics and would need the tooth out once the infection cleared. The antibiotics helped and a date was given for another check-up where the tooth could be examined again and a decision made. 

At the final check-up we discussed what was the best way to deal with her tooth extraction. One option was to take her to the main hospital 60 miles away for her to be put to sleep, but as it was just one tooth and there are risks with general anaesthetic the dentist thought it was better to just take it out in clinic, to which I agreed. The first appointment was a few days after my induction date, so I asked for another date in case I wasn't home from hospital in time (which I wouldn't have been) and we were given today.

As the appointment date came closer, we chatted to my 6 yr old about the appointment to prepare her, and she seemed quite happy about the idea, asking if she had the dentist today every day. 


We arrived at the clinic this morning after dropping off my 10, 8 and 3 yr olds at school. The dentist was lovely and she asked me if I would consent to her being given gas and air. We hadn't spoken about this before but I said that as long as my daughter was ok with the idea and it didn't scare her (she didn't like the mask on her mouth when she was put to sleep to her her grommets in her ears and her adenoids out). To be honest I thought it was a good idea as I don't want to traumatise her about going to the dentist (I hate it and will put off going until I'm dying in agony with toothache as I have such a fear of the dentist) and I also like that it will muddle her memory a little and help her forget how painful and uncomfortable it was having a tooth out. They showed her the machine and asked her if she wanted some "happy gas" and explained that it would go on her nose and she would have to blow up the balloon with her nose. She found this funny and wanted to give it a go.


They were absolutely fantastic with her, putting her at ease and making sure she didn't feel any pain at all. After a little while on the gas and air, she put some magic gel on the gum and once that had had a little while to work, she started injecting the gum. My 6yr old got a little unhappy at the strange feeling as the numbness took effect, but kept giving us thumbs up to show she was ok, especially when we explained it was normal. Eventually the tooth was pulled and what a whopper it was!


I was shocked to see that it had roots. I thought that milk teeth didn't have roots because they never seem to have any when they fall out, but the dentist explained that the roots shrivel up as the tooth starts to die and the new tooth appears and that's how they fall out. The tooth she had had out was supposed to be one of the last teeth to fall out and not until she was about 12 and that's why it was so big with big roots.


They even gave her a little bag to put her tooth in ready for the tooth fairy tonight!

She has been happily showing everyone her really big tooth and everyone has been surprised at the size of it, especially from such a small girl as she's small for her age! I kept her off school for the rest of the day as she got a little upset as the numbness wore off and it started to hurt, but a birthday party after school helped take her mind off it! Plus I'm going to buy her a new Barbie DVD tomorrow as a treat for being such a big brave girl tomorrow!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Overcoming Breastfeeding Difficulties

Four weeks ago today, we were blessed by the arrival of my beautiful new daughter and you can read her birth story here

Sadly, because of my diabetes, I had trouble stabilising her blood sugars with just breast milk alone and as I couldn't get any breast milk to leak from my breasts, we were unsure as to whether I was producing any colostrum even though she had a good latch and was nursing quite happily. 


It got to the point where at one point she was taken to the Special Baby Care Unit (SCBU) and almost put on a glucose drip. However the paediatrician decided to try giving her formula top-ups to try and stabilise her sugars and by this point I was willing to try anything to keep her healthy and out of SCBU. 

One night I hit my lowest point when the paediatrician ordered her to be put on 2 hourly formula feeds and I just starting crying. I felt like such a failure because I couldn't feed my own daughter and I wondered how I was supposed to feed her myself if she was having formula every 2hrs.

Finally I was thrilled to find that milk was at last coming out of my breasts and I felt happy knowing I was producing some milk. I was so sure that things would be better and that her sugar levels would stabilise as she was actually getting some milk and we would be home before we knew it.

Sadly, my hopes were quickly shattered. 

After spending all morning feeding her little and often, the midwife took her away to test her blood sugars. She came back with the news that they were still too low and she needed some more formula. I had been so sure that now I was actually producing milk, everything would be ok, and to find out it wasn't was heart breaking and I made the difficult decision to give her bottles from then on. The midwives were sympathetic and told me not to feel bad as I had done my best and as she was now a bottle fed baby and her sugars had stabilised we were finally discharged.

I kept telling myself that for different reasons my eldest two were also bottle fed and that they had turned out ok. In fact I began to wonder whether I had suffered the same problem with my eldest daughter, my second born, as I had given up breastfeeding after spending 7hrs with her on the breast only for her to drink 2oz of formula! However I had breastfed my 3rd and 4th for almost three years and I had fully expected to be able to do so with my 5th.

It didn't help that I was so far from home and under pressure to go home as my other children were missing me and hubby was discovering what hard work 4 children were when he wasn't escaping to work!

Once hubby and the tribe arrived with the car seat we were finally discharged and after registering her birth we made our way to Tesco to buy bottles, formula and a steriliser as I had been so determined to breastfeed I hadn't bought any. 

Once we arrived home, I was still unhappy about bottle feeding her, especially as milk was leaking from my breasts and I decided that as long as she had some formula then surely it would be ok to breastfeed her as well. I felt so much happier once I'd made this decision and I thought I'd give her two bottles a day, one in the morning and one at bedtime, and breastfeed on demand in between. 

I spoke to the midwife the following day when she came to visit, and the midwife was happy with my decision as I was giving her the best of both worlds, the sugar of the formula and the health benefits of the breastmilk. She weighed the baby and her weight had dropped from 7lb 11oz at birth to 7lb 5oz but since she hadn't lost more than 10% of her birth weight she was happy with her.

A few days later we set off on holiday to Evesham near Stratford Upon Avon. We arrived at the caravan and discovered that the steriliser didn't fit into the microwave.  We went into Evesham to see what we could buy and found that Tesco were selling pre-made bottles with a teat, they were quite expensive but they were what I'd been using in hospital and it was the only way we could give her a bottle. 

A few days later, the baby decided to take things into her own hands and began refusing the bottle. I would spend almost an hour trying to coax her to drink it, but would be lucky to get her to drink more than 5-10mls and ended up throwing most of the expensive milk away, yet she would happily nurse whenever I offered her the breast.

After a couple of days I was worried about her sugars and decided to use my own blood glucose machine to test her blood. In hospital they had told me she wouldn't be discharged unless her sugars were over 2.6, so using that as a guide I pricked her foot and tested her sugars. Nervously I waited for the result... It was a FANTASTIC 5.0 on just breastmilk alone.

Now I happily breastfeed my youngest daughter, knowing that her sugars are ok and feel proud of myself for not giving up when the odds seemed against me!


#R2BC Back to School Joy

This week, most parents have been going around with either a big grin on their faces or looking a little lost. 

The reason?

Kids have finally gone back to school!!!

To be honest, we haven't had much of a summer holiday this year. In the beginning I was heavily pregnant and the weather was just too hot for me to bear, not to mention daddy was working late most evenings and most days and even on the occasional weekend, which meant that we weren't able to go anywhere. Then the baby made her appearance (see Welcoming Our New Arrival) and I spent almost a week in hospital as her blood glucose levels were too low. Finally we were home and it was time to go away for a week on holiday. Sadly daddy had a severe ear infection which meant he was in pain which made him very cranky an moody and meant that he couldn't go swimming with the kids and neither could I. Thankfully granddad could, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to go at all. Then before we knew it, it was time to think about back to school and daddy was back at work.

So this week, my Reasons to be Cheerful is that the children are back at school and we can start settling into a routine. 


My 4 Daughters!

It is also the only year that I will have all four in the same school as my 3yr old starts nursery class and my 10yr old son starts year 6 and his final year at primary school!


Altogether for the first and last year!

Having the kids back at school also meant I got to show off the baby as so many of my friends hadn't been able to see her during the holidays.

Thankfully my 3yr old is quite happy to go to school and the teachers are really good at distracting her and taking her off at me as she does get a little tearful at the door.

I'm also cheerful because the baby is doing so well. She is 4wks old today and breastfeeding like a little champ, something which I thought wasn't going to happen at one point. She weighed 7lb 11oz when she was born, but at a week old her weight had dropped to 7lb 5oz. She was weighed again last week at 2wks old and her weight had gone up to 7lb 15oz so I must be doing something right :)


My littlest daughter aged 3 days
Isn't she adorable and already so cheeky

I also took my 10yr old son for a hospital appointment yesterday. For years now we've been having trouble with his ears and his hearing (something he's inherited from his daddy and something which also affects his 6yr old sister) and he had grommets in his ears when he was 7. Last year we noticed he had a grommet sitting in his ear canal and he started complaining his ears were hurting and he was referred back to the ENT. He saw them a few months ago but sadly he messed about during his hearing test and they arranged to see him again. Thankfully this time he paid attention and passed! Such a relief and he was treated to a McDonalds lunch afterwards for behaving, which as we don't have one near home, is a big (and occasional) treat for him. 

So these are my reasons for being cheerful this week! What are yours? Why not join in with Mich from Mummy From the Heart and her weekly blog hop #R2BC and share what's making you happy this week. Too often we get caught up in all the negatives that surround us and it's nice to take a minute to realise that no matter how dark things may seem, there's always something to be positive about, no matter how small!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

First Day of School, Back to School and Potty Problems

Today my 3 year old daughter started school for the first time! 

I can't believe how quickly the years have passed and that's she's already at school, she looks so tiny in her school uniform, especially compared to all the bigger kids! 

It is also the only year that I will ever have 4 in the same school!!!

All ready for school!
Starting years 6, 4, 2 and nursery

She has been excited about going to school for weeks, asking every day if she has school tomorrow! Last night she was too excited to sleep, knowing that the following morning was school.

She dressed excitedly, alongside her older sisters and older brother, and put on her uniform and new shoes, had her hair brushed and put in bunches and then reluctantly posed for pictures.



In fact they were all so keen to go to school and mummy and daddy were just as keen to send them, that they were all ready by 8am!

Of course yesterday was a different matter!

Yesterday I was heading for a complete meltdown!

My youngest is just 3 and a half weeks old. She is also breastfed on demand and loves her cuddles. My 3yr old also has a problem, it's to do with potty training as she refuses to poop on the potty or the toilet! At first it wasn't too bad as she would just wait until bedtime when she had a nappy on, and then would need changing on average 3 times as she released all the poop that had built up throughout the day.

However over the past few months, things have gotten worse. She no longer waits until bedtime, but will poop herself, several times a day! Sometimes I don't know if she knows she has done it, but sometimes it's obvious she knows. We've tried praising her on the rare occasion she has pooped on the potty, but it can get to you sometimes, especially when she didn't have panties on and has smeared it everywhere because you didn't realise she had pooped and she either didn't realise or didn't want to tell you. 

Yesterday I just had enough! EIGHT times she pooped herself! EIGHT!!! Not to mention that every time I put the baby down to deal with her poopy bum, she would lie in the travel cot screaming! So not only did I have to deal with a 3yr old who wouldn't behave and kept pooping herself, I had to deal with a 3wk old who didn't want to be put down and was constantly hungry!

Then add to the mix, a 10 year old boy, 8 year old girl and 6 year old girl who were constantly arguing and fighting and didn't want to help clean up yet loved making a mess and didn't want to listen.

But it gets better! Day before school was back, with 4 children to shower and hair wash. Hubby decides to work late! I can't trust the kids to wash their own hair as they tend to use ALL my expensive shampoo and conditioner, the only one that my hair seems to like, with the majority of it all over the shower cubicle and the floor and ceiling soaking wet! So whilst I'm showering the girls, the baby is howling in her moses basket!

By the time hubby came home, I was a quivering wreck rocking in the corner I had managed to clean up the kitchen with a baby crying sitting in a baby swing, cleaned the lounge and put four three children to bed as the 3yr old got up when she heard daddy come home and refused to go to bed!

I was in bed by 10pm with a raging headache!

However hubby had worked late last night so he could go into work late this morning as he wanted to see the kids go to school, especially our 3yr old on her first day. I thought he meant he wanted to see them go into school, but he drove off to work as soon as we had gone to school! All of them were happy to go back to school and see all their friends, and lots of people stopped to meet the baby who had been born during the summer holidays so they hadn't met her yet. 


My 8 and 3 year olds

That was until the 3yr old realised that she was NOT going to be in the same class as her older siblings, in fact she wouldn't even be going in through the same door! They all gave me a kiss goodbye and ran into school as I walked the 3yr old around to the infants door. This is when she realised that school meant leaving mummy! School didn't mean the same class as her siblings but a different class without them or mummy! This was the moment when the bottom lip started quivering and the tears started to fall from her eyes. This was also the moment where my eyes started to fill up, as I didn't like seeing my baby upset! Luckily, having had 3 already go through the nursery class, I knew the teachers and they knew her by name and sight. The nursery class teachers were lovely and they quickly started chatting to her and trying to put her at ease as I pointed out her best friend to her and suggested she went to play with her. They helped pry her from my neck and I quickly escaped, feeling very relieved that I didn't hear her screaming for me as I fled back to the baby, holding my own tears in check!

Sadly I'll have to go through all this again next year when she starts fulltime school, which will be made worse by my son starting secondary school.


My 4 girls


***Apologies for the poor quality pictures. I couldn't find the camera so they were taken on my phone***


Friday, 30 August 2013

#Competition Win Jack the Giant Slayer on Bluray and DVD

***THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED***

Based on the well known  story of Jack and the Beanstalk, I have a fantastic competition for you to win your own copy of Jack the Giant Slayer Triple play combo consisting of Bluray, DVD and digital copy (via Ultraviolet)



Movie Storyline
Sent to the market by his uncle to sell their horse and buy thatch for the roof, Jack meets the beautiful Princess Isabelle who he rescues from ruffians. He returns home with only a handful of beans given to him by a monk who claims they are sacred, but that does little to impress his uncle who throws them away. In the night the Princess arrives having run from marrying Roderick who is only interested in becoming king. Soon the beans take root with a giant stalk carrying away the princess and Jack's house. He soon sets off on an adventure with with king's guards to rescue the Princess, only to find that a mythical land filled with giants really exists. 

Starring Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy), Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge!) and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)



To win a copy of Jack and the Giant Slayer then all you have to do is comment below with your results of the How Brave Are You? quiz above. Entry is easy via rafflecopter and the competition will end on the 2nd September.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good luck to you all :)

***DISCLAIMER***
The competition prize will be sent out via a Warner Brothers and will be delivered by FedEx or UPS. No P.O Box addresses will be accepted. 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Welcoming our new arrival

I've taken a most of this month off from blogging as there has been big changes at the Really Rachel household and we have a new member of the family, Baby R.


My beautiful little smiler
The picture was taken when she was just 3 days old

At the start of the summer holidays I was heavily pregnant and I wasn't coping very well with the heat and just wanted to stay home and chill on the sofa. Of course this meant that the children had to stay home as well as we don't have a garden and it was too hot for me to take them to the beach. The older two were allowed out to play with their friends at the back of our house, but the younger too are too young. Although in the case of my 6yr old, she doesn't have the maturity to go out like her older sister did at the same age, so she isn't allowed out yet. 

It didn't help as well that because of my diabetes it has meant several trips to hospital for check-ups with my diabetic doctor, growth scans, eye check ups to check for diabetic retinopathy, and obstetrician appointments. I even ended up being admitted for monitoring because my blood pressure had climbed (see The End Is Nigh), not to mention that because of the 60 mile distance to my hospital, it meant the whole day was taken up by the appointments. 

Since I am diabetic (I suffered from gestational diabetes for the first time with my 4th and it returned as type 2 diabetes a year later) and I have been on insulin injections for most of the pregnancy in an attempt to stabilise my blood glucose levels, my consultant decided to induce me early at 38 weeks. 

I was given a membrane sweep by my midwife two days earlier, which had worked with my 3rd at 39 weeks pregnant and my 2nd at 41 weeks pregnant but hadn't worked at 37 weeks with my 3rd or 38 weeks with my 4th. For those of you who don't know what a membrane sweep is, it is a vaginal examination during which your midwife will use her finger to sweep the neck of your womb to try to separate the membranes (the bag of fluid which surrounds your baby) from you cervix (neck of the womb). This can encourage your body to release hormones called prostaglandins which work to soften and thin the cervix, which might encourage labour to start naturally within the next 24-48 hours. It can be uncomfortable but it doesn't increase the risk of infection to you or your baby and is one of the best ways to naturally encourage labour, however only a trained midwife should do this, please do not try it yourself! Sadly it was too early and the membrane sweep didn't work. 

Hubby and I arrived at hospital for 9.30am on Thursday the 8th August ready for my induction. Although I have been induced twice before, with my eldest they decided to induce me the day after his due date as they were concerned about his size (he was one of my smallest at 8lb 13oz but you can read the story of his induction and birth here) and my 4th because of my gestational diabetes at 38+5 days (you can read her birth story here), I wasn't sure what to expect as both times it was a completely different experience. With my eldest I was given a pessary twice a day for 2 days and on the 3rd day it was my day of rest where they didn't give me anything at all. Typically, that was the day I went into labour and he was born at 5am the following morning after a 17 hour labour! With my 4th I was taken to the labour ward the night before and given a different medication to the one I was given with my son. After an uncomfortable night, I was taken to the labour ward in the morning and my waters were broken. 1 hour and 20 minutes afterwards, my 4th was born!  

This time I was given a completely different medication again and was told this one would take about 24 hours to work and I would be checked after 24 hours. I was having lots of braxton hicks pains but after the 24 hours were up I still hadn't gone into labour. One of the disadvantages of living so far away from home meant it would take hubby over an hour and a half to drive back if he went home during the night, and judging at how quickly my 4th came he decided he would stay at the hospital as he didn't want to miss the birth. Sadly the hospital wouldn't let him stay with me and he had to go sleep in the car, where he didn't get much sleep because of the rain. This meant that when he came back in the morning, he kicked me off the bed so he could get some sleep!!!


That's MY bed not yours!!!

After the 24 hours had ended and I still hadn't gone into labour, I was given another medication, this time it was the one I had been given with my 4th and I was told it should take 6 hours to work and they would examine me after the 6 hours. This one seemed to do the trick and my braxton hicks got stronger and closer together, although a lot of the pain was in my back so the midwife gave me a big ball to bounce on as the baby was back-to-back, one of the most painful positions for a baby to be in and can make labour last longer! 


Trying to get the baby moving

When I was examined after the 6 hours I was 4cm's dilated and they took me to the labour ward so they could break my waters (otherwise known as rupturing the membranes). In the labour ward I was given a cannula as I would need a drip during the 2nd stage of labour (the actual pushing stage) to try and stabilise my glucose levels, something called a sliding scale. They asked me how much I weighed, which usually I don't know but I'd been weighed the week before at the diabetic clinic and I actually remembered. It confused the midwives at first and they thought I must have heard wrong, until I explained I'd actually lost weight whilst pregnant (probably because my sugar levels were under control and I lost my appetite!) 


The calm before the storm
Ready to evict the baby

When they examined me my cervix was still quite high and back and the baby's head was actually pressing against the membranes and cervix, which made it very difficult to break them. However they went suddenly and the midwife had to jump away quickly to avoid being covered and as they burst the baby's head came down the birth canal (they were worried that the baby's head would move up not down). Once my waters were broken the pain got worse as my contractions got stronger, but the midwife mentioned that they needed to get closer together and stronger before I entered the 2nd stage of labour. By this time my attitude was getting snippy and the midwife commented to the student midwife how this was a good sign that the baby was almost here and it was time to start getting ready and warming the towels. They had just started preparing for the baby when suddenly I told them the baby was coming. The midwife replied "She can't, we're not ready yet!" to which I replied "Tough she's on her way!" and then with one push, out she came!!!! In fact I didn't need the drip in the end as it was all over so quickly! She was born a mere hour and 35 mins after they broke my waters, at 9.50pm on the 9th August 2013. 


First cuddle 

It's tiring this birth lark

Hubby cut the cord and all I could say, as I stared down at my newborn daughter lying there, was how small she looked! I'm used to big babies, my smallest being 8lb 13oz and my biggest 10lb 14oz with the other two 9lb and 8lb 15oz. In fact my 4th was 8lb 15oz, despite being 2 weeks early and I fully expected this one to be at least 8lb, if not 9lb. So you can imagine how shocked I was to learn that she was only 7lb 11oz as I'm not used to such small babies! She quickly latched onto the breast as we cuddled and then I had a quick bath before going back onto the ward. Sadly it was late and hubby was kicked out again. No royal treatment for us with the father being allowed to stay the night!!!


First cuddles with daddy

First nappy change and getting dressed
The following day I carried on breastfeeding and was pleased to see how well she was latching on. Because of my diabetes they had to monitor her blood glucose levels closely as her body has been dealing with my excess blood sugar and creating insulin of her own to deal with it. Now she was born, the sugar supply was cut-off and she had to learn to stabilise her own sugars by not creating as much, or even any, insulin. This meant that the midwives had to prick her foot to test her sugar levels and send a sample off to the lab for the most accurate readings. She needed two readings of above 2.6 to be discharged and if she didn't achieve this before her feed, then she had to be tested again an hour after a feed. Sadly, her levels were very low at around just 2.0-2.4 At first I was reluctant to give her any formula as I was determined to breastfeed, but when I saw how her levels were going down instead of up I agreed! Later on they became worried at how low her levels were and they decided to take her up to SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) sadly this was the time my parents turned up with the kids. Their first question when they arrived was "Where's the baby!" but they had just passed her as they took her away to have her blood tested. They brought her back after a few minutes and everyone had a cuddle before they came back and said that they were still low and they wanted to take her to SCBU. I started crying, but mum was there to give me a quick cuddle before I said goodbye to the older kids and followed the baby up to SCBU.


Eldest and youngest.
My son has a quick cuddle before the baby is taken to SCBU

At SCBU they put a cannula in her hand and prepared the glucose drip, but the paediatrician kept changing her mind and about 5 minutes after they started the drip, they took her off and gave her some formula in a cup instead. Finally they decided to give her top-ups of formula and by now I was ready to agree to anything to keep her out of SCBU and off the glucose drip!

That night I gave her the breast, but she saw another paediatrician as her glucose was still low and he decided to give her 30ml of formula every 2hrs. I remember thinking how am I going to breastfeed if she's constantly full of formula, as the hospital were supportive of my breastfeeding as long as her sugars stayed up. 

The other problem was that there didn't seem to be any milk coming from my breast! In fact I felt like a cow, having my breasts prodded and poked to see if anything was coming out. By now it was Sunday and I could feel my milk glands starting to fill up, but still nothing was coming out. I spoke to the midwives and asked them to check she was latching on properly, which she was, but they also commented on how it appeared nothing was coming out of my breasts and I couldn't remember if I'd been able to see the colostrum from my breasts with my other two. I also began to wonder if this was the problem I'd had with my 2nd who I hadn't been able to breastfeed. I'd spend 7hrs with her on the breast only for her to drink 2oz of formula so I gave up breastfeeding, although she had been a difficult delivery which you can read about here

Late Sunday night, early Monday morning I discovered milk leaking from one breast and wanted to throw a party I was so happy! I began to believe we were over the worst and now that my milk was coming in I would be home before I knew it, but sadly I was wrong. When they tested her blood glucose on Monday afternoon after she'd been nursing little and often all day, her levels were still low and I just wanted to cry as I felt like such a failure! Even though I had been unable to breastfeed my oldest two, having breastfed my 3rd and 4th for almost 3yrs I didn't think I would have a problem with my 5th. 

That was when I made the difficult decision to give up the breastfeeding and just put her on the bottle. But I still didn't feel happy with the decision, despite knowing it was for her own good.

Finally on Tuesday we were discharged and after popping to the registry office to register her birth, we ended up in Tesco buying formula, bottles and a steriliser as we didn't have one. 

Then we went home and the older kids all had their first cuddle with their new baby sister.


My 8yr old is thrilled to finally welcome her sister home

My 6yr old loves cuddles with her new sister

My 3yr old is such a happy big sister

Proud big brother glad to see his sister home


My 5 angels

And my 8yr old showed me the cake she'd made to welcome us home from hospital. 


My 8yr old and her yummy cake

Monday, 5 August 2013

Who is the new Who?

So last night, the whole world was watching the BBC as it was revealed who would be playing the 12th Doctor in Doctor Who.

In the UK alone, a peak audience of 6.8 million tuned in to watch a very special show "Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor" which was hosted by Zoe Ball and featured a live studio audience of "Whovians" (Doctor Who fans) and the 5th Doctor, Peter Davison. A show which was simultaneously shown on BBC America in the United States and on networks in Canada and Australia.

Here is a clip of the moment when the 12th Doctor was revealed... Peter Capaldi

My first reaction was... WHO????

But Peter is no stranger to appearing in the Doctor Who universe!

He appeared alongside David Tennant (10th Doctor) and Catherine Tate (Donna Noble) in the 4th series (since the relaunch in 2001) entitled "Fires of Pompeii" where he played the father of a roman family saved by the Doctor and Donna



He also appeared in the Torchwood spin-off of Doctor Who as John Frobisher in the special Torchwood: Children of Earth


But, the bit that really blows your mind, is one of his latest roles. One that has an eerie link to Doctor Who.

In the 2013 movie World War Z, Peter Capaldi plays.... W.H.O Doctor

He goes from WHO Doctor to Doctor WHO!!!

He will make his first appearance in the Christmas special of Doctor Who when Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) regenerates into the 12th Doctor