Except the days when it’s not and I feel more like staff. The tired list of tasks on replay in my mind. Planning to spend time with my daughter when the baby naps. Wondering when the best time will be today to have a shower. Not speaking to another adult for an entire day. Being a stay at home mum should be easy, but sometimes it’s just hard.

Everything’s Fine.

Ask me how I am and I will say good, because things are good. My husband goes to work every day to a job he enjoys, he earns a good wage and I quit work 7 years ago to stay home and raise our kids. Together we’ve made a nice home, we have nice friends, we go to church every Sunday as a family. There is nothing ‘wrong’. I will tell you things are good because they are, and because I can’t quite put my finger on what isn’t.

 

 

Everything's Rosy, Thanks!

 

Homeschooling my 7yr old and caring for my 15month old baby means my days are busy and filled with the over-riding sense that not one of us is quite getting their needs fully met. If I’m singing with the baby my 7yr/o is watching YouTube. When I’m teaching my daughter, the baby is pulling my trouser leg for attention. When I’m cooking or cleaning, they’re both watching Peppa Pig. If there is any pause in the day I can guarantee it is some kind of meal time. Meals which take me time to make (and I hate cooking) then battle with my daughter to eat and at the end throw most of the food away anyway.

Feeling Valued

My list of tasks -usual stuff like laundry- conflicts with the real reason I’m home which is to spend time nurturing my kids. Chiding myself that I even want to waste time on the house while simultaneously feeling the most accomplished I have all week when it’s mess-free. Feeling resentful that such menial tasks are my only way of feeling valued. Breastfeeding a toddler to sleep whilst typing one handed.

Things are good, overall. But sometimes the day-to-day can get me down. It goes without saying that I am so grateful for my family. I thank God for them every day, lots and lots of times a day.

I don’t have much to moan about when my life’s biggest stressor is whether or not to brave the supermarket with two kids in tow. But I seem to have managed it anyway! There are much bigger things to worry about but sometimes it’s just harder than it looks from the outside looking in. I can kindly give myself the grace to say that is OK, and you can too.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

We went to Disney World Resort Florida in 2015. We were a family of 3 back then and I will always fondly remember the holiday for lots of magical reasons. The big one being that I know it was when I firmly decided I wanted to have another child. I was sat on the back of a Disney shuttle bus on the way back to the hotel from Epcot one evening, specifically. So even though he’s not physically in the photos, if you look closely, you might see my Beb in the twinkle of my eye. We are planning another visit back to Disney World in 2019 when Beb is a little older so naturally I’ve already started planning. 😉

Magic Kingdom castle

We had an amazing time and although I feel like we are the only family in the world who managed to have a bit of a row at the foot of the Magic Kingdom Castle on our first visit (we were hot and jet lagged what can I say) we soon got immersed into all things Disney and had a really wonderful, magical holiday. Once we’d slept a bit.

Part of the success of that is down to the planning. So read on if you want some tips. Disney of course provides the magic once you get there.

Planning the finer details of our trip fell to me/I grasped it with both hands like an over-zealous bridesmaid at a wedding jumping for the bouquet. Whatever . Tomato/tomato. (How many of you just read both those tomato’s in a British accent like me.) So as you may imagine I got straight to it researching the don’t miss rides and the ones suitable for smaller children, the best places and times to meet characters, the best restaurants to eat at, all of that hoo-ha. I went all out. As I have a tendency to do. Lucky for me there are hundreds and hundreds of interesting and useful blogs and write-ups all about planning a holiday (or vacation) to Disneyworld. I enjoyed a good few weeks feasting on all that juicy info. I was pinning like nobody’s business. Check out my Disney Pinterest board if you want some good tips.

When we got there and we were all three of us baking in the heat on our first day and my 5 year old was knackered from all the travelling I quickly realised all my plans would have to be dropped from a great height if we were to enjoy ourselves at all. So that’s my foremost top tip.

minnie-mouse-ears

Expect A LOT of walking in Disney Parks

 

Plan to have a very loose plan or no plans at all.

This gobble-de-gook warrants some explaining.  You’re in Disney, there’s so many iconic things to see. You’ve been dreaming about this trip most of your life and you don’t want to miss a thing. That’s where your planning comes in.

  1. Before you go decide which things (the smaller the list the better) at EACH park are the essential things for you and your family to see that you do not want to miss.
  2. Book your fast passes in advance for these attractions.
  3. Pad the day around the times of these top fast passes.
  4. Be prepared to throw everything out the window and go back to the hotel to chill in the pool.
  5. Point 4 is the most useful piece of advice about enjoying your holiday to Disneyworld! It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness and excitement only to find everyone is exhausted!

 

Fast Passes

Fast passes are incredible; personally I wouldn’t want to do Disney without them. If you stay at a Disney resort hotel you can book them up to 60 days prior to your check in date. We stayed at the Royal Caribbean it is lovely check it out! As simple as they sound they are a queue jump system where you can take the express lane onto rides and for meets if you book a time slot in advance. So fast passes –

  1. Book them before you go. Yes you can actually book your time slot for fast passes onto rides before you even get off the Airplane. This is great for really popular things like meeting Anna & Elsa. You may even find all the fast pass time slots are taken on certain things weeks before your holiday.
  2. Spread them out across different things rather than use them just for all the big rides. I booked ours for rides, meets, and even a great viewpoint for the parade.
Royal-Carribean-disney-resort

The Royal Caribbean Resort Walt Disney World Florida

ariel-float-disney

Memory Maker

I paid quite a bit extra for this picture package when we went in spring 2015. It’s currently being thrown in for free as a bonus when you book with certain travel operators (sshh it’s Thomson/TUI group I think).  It’s so much more than a picture package. There are photographers wandering around the parks all day taking photos of guests. With memory maker, they beep touch your magic band and all the photos taken of you that day are uploaded to your Disney account. It’s awesome!

  1. Look out for the marked view points to have your photo with all the iconic landmarks in the background.
  2. Get all your professional photos from the character meets uploaded straight to your phone.
  3. All your great family holiday photos in one place. Be sure to download them within the given timeframe when you get home. (I think it was 30 days but check the Disney website).
  4. Enjoy the moments without worrying if you caught a good picture.
  5. Mum in the picture and family photos with everyone in that aren’t selfies.

So those are 3 of my tippety top tips off the top of my head for planning your Disneyworld holiday of dreams. Let me know if you found them useful and if you learned something that you didn’t know before!

We are planning another trip to Disneyworld Florida in 2019 and so there will be lots more posts coming up here all about planning a Disney holiday. Just imagine all the pins I can find in 2 years!

I will be sharing the most helpful YouTube channels and blog reviews I have found that are go-to places for vids and tips about Disney. So feel free to bookmark this page for future reference, pin the image below, and if you liked my 1st ever Disney post please share it with others via the social buttons below. Thanks!

 

3-essential-disney-planning-tips

Usually in our house if there are bugs going around just one of us will get it. My 6yr old brings a lot home from school, mainly coughs and colds, but Rich and I rarely pick it up as well. If we do, there is usually one of us on form enough to take on the lion’s share of the care. This week we have all been ill all at once with an horrible fluey virus which seemed to manifest itself slightly differently in each of us. I initially thought it was a cold until one night when my internal thermometer was having trouble figuring out if I was in a fiery furnace or the Arctic Circle which didn’t translate well for me physiologically. Needless to say it has been quite a miserable week culminating in a cancelled 1st birthday party (sad face emoticon). You know when mum is sick it too it must be bad.

Child no 1

So Beg had it first, but she covers well. The thought she could possibly be missing out on some amazing fun activity is too much temptation for her to admit to feeling rough. I only ever know she is genuinely ill when I can convince her to lay on the couch in the day. On top of that she saw the neighbours kids pull up and asked if she could go to knock for them and when I said “maybe in 5 mins” she didn’t even argue and later declared herself too tired to play anyway. That’s when I really start feeling bad for her!

Man Flu

Rich got it next and started feeling really rough on babba’s birthday while we were visiting a farm. Not adverse to the odd bout of man flu, he can also be a right trooper as well – he was so awesome when both our babies were born – In fact once I’d caught this one too I felt sorry for him having to go to work.

siblings

Child no 2

I’m the first to know the baby is ill because he gets even more clingy than usual. I’m sure any mum can empathise with the clingy baby situation. As in don’t-even-think-about-leaving-my-line-of-sight clingy. Taking the baby to the toilet with you for a pee clingy. Unfortunately Beb’s virus presented as croup for him. I’ve never ‘seen’ croup in real life before but if you ever have, you will know what I mean when I say the noise they make with the cough is quite worrying. It was a very loud seal like barking cough that just came on really suddenly. Thanks be to Google for it’s 24hr wisdom, I was pretty sure it was croup. I took him up the Drs the next morning to be checked over. She prescribed him a steroid to open his airway in case he needed it but I held off administering it as it sounded like a heavy medication and he was doing ok. Happy to say 2 days later his cough is definitely improving.

Mum Flu

So then it was my turn. 1st stage complete denial, as I’m sure most mums do. 2nd stage – fear, “Oh no I think I’m ill and I have 1,2,3 things to do.” 3rd stage – admit defeat and so ensues miserable slopping about the house in pj’s and slippers praying  for a fairy godmother (one like Jennifer Saunders in Shrek if possible because she’s hilarious).

It’s no fun when the whole family is sick at the same time and I was a bit sad to cancel the baby’s party. A few days later and we are all on the mend and life goes on. I’m just thankful that it was just a virus and not a sickness bug (nobody needs extra laundry when they’re sick) and that Beb’s cough is getting better, not worse. It brings it home that we live in a place where I can just zoom the baby to the doctors if I am worried. How have you coped when the whole family has had an illness at the same time? Do you find it hard to ask for help? Do you use any natural remedies to prevent illness that you would recommend? Let me know below.

Hopefully we are at the end of flu season now and we can begin to look forward to long summer days of warmth and sunshine.

Every time I look at you, you seem to be doing something new.

At the moment it’s all about asserting your authority. If I dare to take a ‘toy’ (something you’ve found e.g. a piece of plastic) off you then you like to make your feelings known about this betrayal often showing your disdain with clenched fists along with a scream. Getting frustrated that you can’t do all the things you’d like to just yet such as walking also elicits a good scream, and sometimes I have no idea why you are having a good scream. Sorry about that.

At 11 months old your level of understanding is obvious to me. Your interaction with your sister is different to how you interact with anyone else and this makes my heart swell in my chest with love. You won’t go far wrong with her on your side let me tell you. The way you look at me sometimes when other adults talk to you -it’s like we have our own understanding going on. I revel in these moments too because these are my little bonuses for being your no 1 person.

It’s all going so fast the months have almost blurred together I’m afraid. I couldn’t say exactly when you progressed through each new skill though I have been writing things down here and there along the way. There are so many new things you are learning with each week that passes. Usually when speaking to other mums it hits me how little time you have been on this earth, practising these skills.  This is what I said to you though wasn’t it – part of our secret conversations between me, you and the bleepy machines when you were born. I said listen to my voice, and keep practising all your baby things and I promised I would practise all my mummy things and we would bring them together when you were better. Which we did didn’t we and some days those early harrowing days seem like a lifetime ago, sometimes I am over taken with gratitude as my brain flits back to previous thoughts about how you might develop and what our future may look like together. Here we are with you, 11months old, throwing full on tantrums, happily breastfeeding (told you I’d take care of the mum things), waving na-nights to the family as we go up the stairs together and it’s just wonderful watching you grow.

How honoured I feel that God sent you and your sister to me. How the enormity of the potential mistakes I could make for you can almost make my breath catch in my throat. I watch a pretend show reel of your future life in my mind as I sway you to sleep some nights. Imagining you with your own family one day coming home for Christmas with your own children, and accomplishing all and any things you wish to, living a fulfilled and happy life until a very, very healthy old age. I can see your name written out in my mind’s eye and what you may look like at 5, 15, 18, 30. Just the same as I did when rocking your sister to sleep in my arms in those quiet small hours a few years ago.

11 months – almost crawling, vocabulary sounds becoming more varied, asserting what you want and don’t want very pointedly! Including arching when being put into pram or car seat. Painful teething – top two. Pushing up from tummy to sitting. Standing and stepping with support.

 

10 months – pincer grabbing (has this been longer I’m not entirely sure!) Interest in food you can hold, spitting food when you’re bored of being fed – yuk. Nipple biting! Ouch. Loving swimming! Brave soul. First Christmas! Waving. Clapping. High five.

9months – Enjoying baths. Everything still going straight in your mouth. Enjoying toys more. Getting around a room but not traditionally crawling. Mamma/Dadda.

8 months – Loving the wah wah game (hand to mouth). Eating, napping, jumper-roo-ing. Lost interest in dummy.

7 months – Sitting well. Eating well. Rolling. Loving singing group.

6 months – First tooth! (bottom one) Sitting -nearly stable. Rolling. Enjoying being carried everywhere.

    

 

0-5 months – Generally lying around getting introduced to the world! First smiles! Millions of things going on inside your brain I’m not aware of yet! 😉

I love you. Happy almost birthday! My big brave strong boy. xxxxxx

 

 

One Messy Mama
Mummy Times Two
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

I was always a big fan of fireworks night. When I was little my mum would take me to the local leisure centre and  I remember sitting in the stands wrapped up warm in hat and scarf and ear muffs (a must when you have serial ear infections) and just being awed by the fireworks. As a teenager my big sister and her cool boyfriend who drove took me along with them to a display & bonfire at the local pub. When I became independent I would plan a week’s worth of Firework displays around Bonfire night, visiting as many as I could.

Fireworks

 

My husband does not share my zeal for fireworks and would only agree to attend one display annually (a grumpy approach which turns out, spans more than just Bonfire night) and when we had children it became even more of a mission to convince him it was a good idea. Needless to say he was right as always and our attempt at a family night out to watch the fireworks went abysmally.

It began with me getting slightly over excited which never ends well. Thankfully alcohol was out of the question so that was a saving grace really. We had thoughtfully decided to go to one at a local rugby club in a little village nearby in the hope that the crowds would be manageable. Beg was 4 and it was her first proper display. We had done some little ones in the garden for her the year before – the quiet pack ones – but nothing big. I was so excited to show her proper fireworks. I thought ahead and bought us a pack of sparklers and a packet of glo sticks in case sparklers weren’t allowed. I wrapped me and Beg up in layers and hats and gloves and off we went.

ear-muffs

All excited in the car, we look out at the night sky busy with fireworks already and point them out to each other. As a surprise for Beg I thought I’d open the glo-sticks early. The instructions say snap to illuminate. Easy. Snap. Neon plastic stuff spits straight into my eyes! I completely freak out, shouting at Rich “It’s in my eyes, it’s in my eyes!” He laughs his head off and chucks a bottle of water at me which I use to rinse out my eyes and it’s all OK.  So they get stuffed in the car door. We arrive and park easily. Phew. We have to walk a little but the queue isn’t too  bad as we arrived early. It’s really muddy but me and Beg have our boots on. Score mummy. We have a look at the big bonfire but Rich doesn’t come because his trainers are getting stinking so we get bored of that pretty quickly. The bar is packed by now so we don’t even try to brave it for a coke and I’m feeling sick at this point anyway. I soon realise it’s because the tights I’m wearing under my jeans are far too tight and so half an hour later of toilet queuing and I’m feeling much better for getting rid of them. We go outside to pick a spot and wander up the hill away from the crowd to a bench Rich has spied. Unfortunately the wind picks up and now we’re freezing on the hill. Never mind, the fireworks are due to start soon. As always they start late. By now Beg is freezing cold despite the layers and all three of us are tired and hungry. We watch the first few, Beg is non-plussed and when we ask if she’d like to go home half way through it’s the most excited she has gotten all evening. Feeling rubbish, we head home; the only bonus being we miss the traffic queues on the way out.

mserable-fireworks

Thrilled

So we get home, all have a hot chocolate and vow to not venture out next year! Overall a bit of a miserable family night out, in spite of all my pre-planning. I think maybe it’s just not for us and we are better off sticking to a few hotdogs and sparklers in the garden at home. Baby Beb can enjoy them through the window then too!

How about you, do you love or loathe Bonfire night? Do you go to an ‘official’ display every year or prefer a family party at home? What are your plans this year?