Tough cookie 

When you have kids, life can change in a moment. An amazing fun day can turn into a nightmare within a fraction of a second if a child hurts himself, or a rubbish day can turn wonderful just because of something  they say or do. And then there are days that go a bit like this: good-bad-wonderful-slightly annoying-horrible-nice and quiet-nightmare-lovely-thank God they are in bed!  Last Frifay was a bit like that……

Everything started off fine, Jacob was awake at his normal time (6am)  and Elisabeth slept quite late (the closer it gets to half term, the longer she sleeps). Elisabeth got off to school ok and I treated Jacob to some tv time, he has come down with a bit of a cold and as last time he had one we ended up in hospital for two nights because he had an asthma attack I thought it would be wise to keep him as calm as possible. This worked for a little while, but he is two and a half after all and they can sit still for about two and a half seconds. It didn’t help that we started him on preventative asthma medication the day before. He has never taken this before and reading the potential side affects freaked me out quite a lot (it was a huge list but it was the suicidal tendencies that really got me!) but I thought ought we should at least try it. He wasn’t himself all day, all the little naughty things he normally does seemed to be magnified and I really struggled to get him to listen, I say struggled, I mean failed! Luckily he had a nap so I could get some chores done and sit down for a cuppa for 10 minutes. 

After school we went for a playdate atone if Elisabeth’s best friends and it was there that it became really clear that he wasn’t himself. Normally he loves playing there and he plays really nicely with the girls. But not yesterday, I actually took him home after only  being there for a little while, luckily Elisabeth was able  to stay a bit longer and was dropped off home a bit later. Jacob calmed down a bit after coming home but he still wasn’t right. 

We sat down for dinner and both kiddos tucked in happily (sausages always does the trick) and all of a sudden for no apparent reason Jacob falls down from his chair, head first into the floor, the very hard, tiled kitchen floor. 

It felt like my heart stopped for a second or two. I scooped him off the floor and checked for blood, thank God there was none. After a few minutes of screamin he said “I’m all better now mummy”.  He is a tough cookie and clearly recovers from a shock like that a lotquicker than me! 

After all this we had a lovely movie night watching “Tangled” with popcorn and lots of cuddles, but my word was I tired after all that! 

A bit of a month….

July has been a bit of a month at Newman Towers, some pretty exciting stuff has happened but unfortunately some nasty things as well.

At the start of the month my long life writer’s dream came true, I had an article accepted for publication and was going to get paid for it! It was only the second time I had ever submitted anything so I was pretty chuffed it was accepted. What makes it even more special is that the article is about my grandmother and how and why she, during the second world war, saved a young Jewish girl by hiding her in her attic. It will be published next May when it is 70 years ago that Holland was liberated. I can’t wait to see this extremely special story in print WITH MY NAME UNDER IT!

A bit later that day I was swiftly brought back down to earth. I was putting some washing on in the kitchen downstairs when I heard Elisabeth fall down the stairs, the noise was so loud that I actually cried out. The awful moment running up the stairs not knowing what I will find is not something I will soon forget. When I picked her up she was bleeding out of her nose so I gave her a cuddle and gently laid her on the floor explaining that I was just making sure she was ok. I quickly looked for any more blood and asked her where it hurt. She had a bump on her head and a sore nose, but nothing too bad. Luckily our stairs are split in two so she can only fall about 6 steps and she fell on carpet, otherwise it could have been a lot worse. For about an hour after that all she wanted to know was lay in my arms and eventually she dozed off for a bit. Luckily Jacob slept through the whole ordeal. We popped down to the Doctor later that day for a quick check and were told that she was fine. Big sigh of relief!

A week later a close friend and I officially registered our small business partnership Pretty Random Things. We have been talking about starting a small business selling handmade (by us) jewellery for ages and we decided to just do it. So far we have sold mainly to friends, family and colleagues but soon we will launch our Folksy page (this is the UK equivalent of Etsy). It is a lot of work, but very exciting. Today we opened our business bank account and in the process sold two rings to the lady opening the account for us 🙂

Unfortunately the excitement over the start of our business venture was soon overshadowed by another fall. In the middle of the night my husband and I woke up to a very loud bang which sounded like Elisabeth falling out of her bed. We both jumped up and started running towards the bedroom door. My husband slipped and fell onto the edge of our bed which is very very sharp. He was laying down and didn’t get up, for a split second I wasn’t sure what to do or who to go to. First I ran downstairs to check on Elisabeth who was fast asleep in her bed, we still have no idea what the bang was that woke us up. I quickly went back upstairs to find Gareth in the exact same spot as where I left him. He was clearly in a lot of pain but finally made it back into bed. The next morning we took him to A and E where they told him he cracked a rib. This is now over 3 weeks ago and he still can’t cope without painkillers. It has been a hard few weeks for everyone and I really hope he gets better soon.

In between all this Jacob was 6 months old on the day flight MH17 was shot down and all those poor souls died.

So I think it is safe to say that it has been a bit of a month. Here is to an uneventful August.

Almost six months…..

In 11 days time Jacob will be six months old and even though it has been hard work and difficult at times there have been many wonderful moments. I wanted to write more often during the first few months but have not had the time or peace of mind to do it. So instead, here are some of the things I have really enjoyed.

* The bonding. After an insanely quick delivery, Jacob and I had to stay in hospital for a few days. It was extremely hard only seeing Elisabeth briefly during those days, especially as I knew she was struggling with me not being there, but it was nice to have that time with Jacob. It really gave me a chance to bond with him without having to worry about doing anything else.

* The love from sister to brother. From day one it was obvious that Elisabeth adored Jacob, she loves giving him cuddles and kisses and tickling his little feet.

* The sleep! To say that I was concerned about sleep is an understatement. It was hard enough looking after just Elisabeth with practically no sleep for about two years, having both a baby and a three year old to deal with on no sleep filled me with dread. You can imagine my surprise and delight when Jacob started sleeping through before he was even four months old! He goes to bed just before seven and most nights he sleeps until six. Of course there are nights when he wants his dummy plugged back in every five minutes, or he can’t get to sleep on his own and needs me to cuddle him until he drifts off, or when he thinks 4am is a perfectly acceptable time to wake up, but most of the time he sleeps amazingly well. It is very very nice indeed. Although saying all this, the last week sleep has not been good and I can feel the ever so familiar effects of my old “friend” sleep deprivation. All I can say is that I hope it will pass soon.

* The quiet moments. I love playing with Jacob and Elisabeth, singing silly songs, doing crazy dancing and trying to keep up with Elisabeth’s never ending imagination. Sometimes though I really enjoy the quiet moments. Times when Elisabeth is sitting at her little table drawing and Jacob happily watches her from his little bouncy chair, both completely content leaving me to get on with the endless amounts of washing and other chores. Those moments stop me in my tracks and make me take a moment to truly appreciate my two little superstars.

* The eating. Watching Jacob eat is an absolute delight, when Elisabeth was the same age she was just starting to have little bits of baby rice, Jacob is on three meals a day already. He is a real hungry monster and loves pretty much everything I give him, and he makes yummy noises with every bite 🙂

* The differences. Elisabeth and Jacob are different in pretty much everything. It’s lovely to be surprised by things that Jacob does or likes that Elisabeth didn’t do or like. Certainly keeps things interesting.

* The love from brother to sister. The way Jacob watches Elisabeth is something I can watch all day. As soon as she walks (or often runs) into a room his eyes light up and he starts kicking his feet. If she comes near he tries to grab her and pull her close. If he struggles to nap when we’re out, all Elisabeth has to do is sing him ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ and he nod off. Last night we were all upstairs in our bedroom, I had bathed Jacob and was ready to go downstairs when Elisabeth jumped on our bed and started being silly. The next thing we hear is Jacob bursting out laughing every time Elisabeth makes a silly move. Proper belly laughs, the best ones yet. It was amazing, Elisabeth kept being silly and Jacob laughed and laughed. There is some proper brother- and sisterly love growing here. We are very lucky to have them both.

Conversations with Elisabeth 8

Me: “What would you like for lunch? A Marmite sandwich?”
Elisabeth: “Yes mummy, that’ll do.”
(Cheeky monkey!)

Elisabeth: “I am so lucky, I get chocolate twice. At Christmas and at Easter!”
(Whilst she eats the smallest piece of chocolate ever)

Elisabeth: “Mummy, can you tell me the story about when I was a baby and we lived in Africa?”
Me: “What? We never lived in Africa.”
Elisabeth: “Yes we did, that is where I was born. Africa is really far away you know.”
Me – speachless

Elisabeth: “Mummy, do you have a sore head?”
Me: “no, I don’t.”
Elisabeth: “Yes you do! It’s there!”
Me: “Oh, that is my forehead sweetheart.”

Me: “Can you eat some of your mashed potato please?”
Elisabeth: “I don’t like mashed potato.”
Me: “Ok, do you like mash?”
Elisabeth: “Yes, I like mash.”
Me: “Right, so you don’t like mashed potato.”
Elisabeth: “No.”
Me: “But you like mash?”
Elisabeth: “Yes.”

Time flies when you don’t have time

Jacob is now nearly three months old and I have been seriously neglecting this blog. There are two times I often write, either in the evening or on the bus on the way to or from work, but I’m not back to work yet and I go to bed pretty much as soon as both kiddos are asleep (to catch every possible minute of sleep I can). And writing during the day…..ha ha, you must be joking….in between feeding, changing, washing, feeding, changing, spending a few precious moments with Elisabeth whilst Jacob sleeps, feeding, changing, cooking, feeding, changing, eating, bathing etc there is not much time left. So, unfortunately, blogging will have to wait until I have a few minutes in the morning, like today.

Things are going well though. Jacob is sleeping really well, I feed him during the day and we give him a bottle of formula before he goes to bed. I struggled with the endless feeding in the evening and we quickly decided that it was better to give him one bottle a day so I’d have the energy to feed him during the day than giving up altogether. I would like to continue breastfeeding until he is 6 months old, but I am finding it quite hard.

Elisabeth is doing great, she has only told me once that she wanted Jacob to go and that was when she was really poorly. The poor little lamb had a couple of weeks of temperatures, being sick and a really nasty cough. But most of the time she loves having her little brother around. The other morning I was downstairs making a cup of tea and I heard Jacob cry. I was about to go upstairs and see what was wrong when the crying stopped. When I got back upstairs, Elisabeth was sitting next to Jacob and was gently rocking him in his bouncy chair to stop him crying. Very cute.

I find it really hard not having enough time to play with Elisabeth, I try to give her one on one attention whenever Jacob sleeps, but it is hard. She still goes to her lovely childminder on Tuesday which she really enjoys and it gives me some time to spend with Jacob and catch up on some chores. We were hoping that she would get a pre-school place at the local school this month, but unfortunately she will have to wait until September.

Anyway, I think Elisabeth has just woken up and Jacob is starting to get hungry, so must go.


Crazy times

The last month or so has been a bit crazy in Newman Towers.

The bad crazy – Just after we bought a “new” car and booked a little break for Elisabeth, me and hubby we heard that the company my husband works for has gone bust and it was likely that half of the employees would be made redundant. There is never a good time for news like this, but 2 and a half months before one of our incomes will be more than halved due to maternity leave and just after we, for the first time in our married life, borrowed a bit of money to buy a car to accommodate our growing family, is more than a little stressful.

But long story short, he has still got a job which we are very grateful for.

The good crazy – A couple of weeks ago hubby and I had a week off from work and we both thught it would be nice to treat Elisabeth to some fun time away. So we went to Peppa Pig World! We booked tickets for two days in the park and two days in a hotel nearby.

Elisabeth had just started to understand the concept of holiday (through watching Peppa Pig funnily enough) and she was really excited even though we hadn’t told her where we were going.

The day we left we all got up at 5am to try and beat some of the traffic around London and we did quite well, took us 5 hours in total to get there, and that was with 4 toilet stops. We weren’t expecting too much of the park if I’m honest and we didn’t think we would be there for very long the first day because Elisabeth was very tired. But how wrong we were, Elisabeth loved it………and so did we!

The first ride we went on was a little train, which Elisabeth loved. Because it was a blue train she called it Thomas (she’s just a tiny bit obsessed with Thomas). I love the massive grin on her face on this picture


We all enjoyed the balloon ride


Elisabeth wanted to go down a really high water slide over and over again, it looked fun but I didn’t think it was a pregnancy safe ride so hubby was the lucky one


Because Elisabeth was so well behaved, on the second day she got to pick something from the gift shop, she chose a ‘George’ umbrella, which was good because it was chucking it down!


All in all it was a very enjoyable holiday, Elisabeth loved staying in the hotel because she got to sleep in the room with us, which went better than expected. Unfortunately Elisabeth woke up with a high temperature on the last night in the hotel, so I sat with her for about an hour until her temperature went down and she was happy to go back to sleep. This messed up our plans to go for a swim in the hotel pool on Saturday morning, but hey, you can’t have everything. We are very pleased that we managed to get away and spend some quality time with the three of us before we will be a family of four.

Conversations with Elisabeth 6

Me: “What do you think is in mummy’s tummy Elisabeth?”
Elisabeth: “A baby.”
Me: “I think so too. What do baby’s sleep in?”
Elisabeth:”A cot.”
Me: “Yes, they do. So maybe when the baby is out of mummy’s tummy, we can ask daddy to put your old cot back together and the baby can sleep in there.”
Elisabeth: “Yes, good idea.”

Elisabeth: “Mummy, what are these?”
Me: “They’re boobies.”
Elisabeth: “I don’t have boobies.”
Me: “No, not yet, when you’re bigger you’ll have boobies.”
Elisabeth: “Mummy, where are your real boobies.”
Me: “These are my real boobies!”

Me: “What do you think babies drink Elisabeth?”
Elisabeth: “They drink milk.”
Me: “That’s right. And when they are born they drink milk out of their mummy’s boobies.”
Elisabeth: (looks at me as if I have gone crazy) “No they don’t, they drink out of bottles mummy.”

Elisabeth: “Nanny, daddy has a really big tummy.”
Nanny: “Has he really?”
Elisabeth: “Yes, he has lots of food in his tummy. Mummy has a baby in her tummy.”

Elisabeth: “Mummy, Thomas is Percy’s best friend.” (she is crazy about Thomas the Tank Engine)
Me: “That’s nice, who is your best friend?”
Elisabeth: “You of course mummy!” (the answer to this questions changes on a daily basis, but I’m going with this one!)

Me: (after reading a winnie the pooh book) “Can you bounce like Tigger?”
Elisabeth: “No mummy, because I’m not a bouncing expert.”

Elisabeth: “Can Father Christmas get me a bicycle and a car please? I need a car of my own.”

Elisabeth: (in the car) “Mummy, where is the satnav?”
Me: “I thought you were two and a half?”

The simple things

So I’m not even 20 weeks in and already I’m struggling to put my socks on, bit worrying.

Anyway, enough on that. The weekend at Newman Towers was at times productive, relaxing and really enjoyable.

Saturday was very productive, Gareth managed to paint the last of the outside window frames, a job that really needed to be done before winter. We also got rid of some furniture we have had since before we got married. These were some of the last bits we still had from when we first moved in together and it’s always a bit sad to see those things go. But we need the room for cots, changing tables and so on. Luckily two lovely people I used to work with were moving in together this weekend and they needed furniture, problem solved!

Sunday was a really enjoyable day, because we were quite busy the day before we thought we would take Elisabeth to feed the ducks in Dedham (a wonderful little village with lots of beautiful countryside to walk through, and of course lots of ducks). It was one of those relaxing mornings spending quality time with hubby and Elisabeth, pretty much the kind of morning I imagined I would have when I used to think about what it would be like to have kids.

Elisabeth really enjoyed feeding the ducks:

And we enjoyed the fact she had enough roon to run around and burn some of the excess energy she woke up with:

But her favourite part (she said so in the car on the way home) was her snack:

Well, she did have the best seat in the house, and I was reminded of how difficult getting up can be when pregnant 🙂

All in all a great morning full of the simple things in life.

The first of many….

Yesterday Elisabeth fell over and grazed her knee properly for the first time, blood and everything, well a little bit. Considering she is two and a half we realise how lucky we are to have been injury/blood free for such a long time. But that wasn’t the main event this weekend.

The biggest thing by far was picking up Elisabeth’s first pair of glasses.

A couple of weeks ago Elisabeth had an eye test in hospital and it became clear that one of her eyes was stronger than the other and the weaker one wasn’t doing any of the work. Luckily we caught it really early and there would be no need for an eye patch, but she would need glasses to try and rectify the problem.

So a week ago we all went into town to choose her some glasses. Elisabeth was quite excited about getting glasses (it helps that I wear glasses as well) and she did really good. She was really well behaved and helped us choose a super cute little pair that fit her little head. She even sat still when the optician did some measurements. Very good girl.

Last Saturday it was time to pick them up. Again she was very well behaved and waited (almost) patiently as the lady adjusted her glasses so they would stay put on her tiny little nose. She wore them out of the shop and on the bus home. The rest of the day she spent a lot of time putting them on, taking them off, cleaning them and putting them back in the case. We thought it was going to be tricky to get her to wear them, but not at all. On Sunday she wore them for slightly longer periods and today she wore them almost all day.


Doesn’t she look super cute? Even though I think she looks adorable, I’m glad that there is a chance that this is a temporary thing and her eyes could turn out just fine. As opposed to the grazed knee which, no doubt, is the first of many.

Weirdness in Newman Towers

Last weekend was the first weekend in ages that we didn’t have any plans. We have had quite a few lovely but busy weekends with my sister and co visiting (which was awesome) and lots of birthday parties (lots of fun), but this weekend we were happy to not have any plans.

Friday was a bit of a weird day, it started off cloudy and rainy. The weather has been unusually warm here for the last couple of months – considering we’re in the UK! – but Friday felt like a true British summer day. In the morning Elisabeth and I played inside. The thing I like about rainy days is coming up with ways to keep Elisabeth entertained that don’t include watching t.v. And Friday we decide on making a tent out of some cardboard I had lying around. Elisabeth enjoyed “helping” me put it together and then had lots of fun covering it in stickers. After lunch the sun came out so we could get outside and what Elisabeth likes best about rainy days: jumping in muddy puddles! We spent ages outside looking for the biggest puddles to jump in. At one time she actually sat down in the middle of one, needless to say that she was soaking wet by the time we came home, but it was so much fun.

Friday was also my husband’s birthday, however when I got up Friday morning, my internal calendar seemed to have forgotten to turn to the next page, so I spent all morning thinking that it was Thursday and hubbies birthday was tomorrow……….until at lunchtime I realised that it was indeed Friday and I hadn’t even wished him a happy birthday yet! Bad wife! Luckily he isn’t really bothered about his birthday and I was easily forgiven because of the offer of Chinese take away for dinner (his favourite).

Saturday was mostly spent putting new furniture together. Because of our addition due in January we had to move some stuff around in the house and this weekend was the turn of our guest room. Out with the big kingsize bed and in with a single bed, with another guest bed underneath, and a huge bookcase for all the stuff that needs to come out of the “nursery to be” and live somewhere else. We were expecting this room to look ok, but it felt like a bit of a compromise. When we finished though, it looked really nice, bonus!

At about 2pm I was truly exhausted and decided to take Elisabeth upstairs so she could watch a bit of t.v. (she was up early and very tired) and I could have a bit of a lay down. This was rather relaxing and I even got a few minutes snooze in here and there. What seemed like too early it was half past four and time to make dinner, so Elisabeth went to “help” daddy with the furniture and I went downstairs to cook dinner…….only to be told a few minutes later that the clock in the living room showed that it was only half past 3! I checked the kitchen clock which agreed with the one in the living room. My alarm clock had lied to me! It has done this before where it tells me it is an hour later than it is. It is hard enough to keep my pregnancy brain reasonably clear without my alarm clock playing tricks on it. It was a very strange feeling, but nice that I had an extra hour to spend laying with Elisabeth.

Sunday we spent most of the day finishing off the guest room, although I did get a bit of time relaxing in the sun which I haven’t really been able to do because the intense heat of recent weeks made my preghaustion even worse than it already was (yes, I felt the need to make up a new word because exhausted just doesn’t cover it). Anyway, because it was a bit cooler I thoroughly enjoyed half an hour or so in the sun with a book, a very nice end to a slightly weird weekend.