Grandma “Life doesn’t get any better than watching your grandchild jumping in puddles and kicking leaves”.
What a roller coaster of a year 2014 has been! I have to say it has been one of my favourite years to date!
In January Vicky and I started Lamb & Bear, one of the best things I’ve ever done. Blogging has opening up a whole new world to me and I have found something I am truly passionate about and want to continue for years to come.
I spent this year planning my wedding and getting used to the fact I was going to become a Mrs!
Lamb had his first birthday in March, such an amazing time in his life, growing from a baby into a toddler.
I attended 2 of my closest friends weddings, and was honoured to share their day with them, they both mean so much to me.
I also celebrated 2 more of my close friends weddings by joining them on their evening receptions (they got married abroad otherwise I’d have been at the ceremony in a shot!)
These 4 weddings also meant I went on 4 hen parties this year! Actually 5 including my own!!
I won a Facebook competition with the prize being £3000 worth of Invisalign treatment, which meant my dream of having straight teeth for my wedding had come true! I’m still having the treatment so will share the results with you later in the year.
Baby Bear turned 1 in August, another very special occasion to celebrate.
My beautiful niece Arabella was born in September, 4 days before my birthday, meaning when she grows up we can celebrate together!
The blog has gone from strength to strength and I have been overwhelmed by the support from brands, fellow bloggers, friends and family.
Joe had his stag do in October (I think he needed time to recover so gave himself 2 months!) My hen party was in December, 2 weeks before the wedding. I spent a weekend in Brighton with some of my closest friends and can’t thank them enough for being there to celebrate with me. 2 of my bridesmaids gave me a weekend to remember and put in so much effort to make my weekend perfect, which it was.
My beautiful best friend and sister in law surprised me and flew home from Australia to join me on my hen party and to stand by my side as my bridesmaid.
December 21st 2014 – my wedding day! Although Joe and I said we weren’t that bothered about a big wedding and would happily jump on a plane to Vegas, we have both agreed it was literally the best day of ours lives (other than Lamb entering the world) and we wish we could experience it again, and again, and again. So many people travelled so far to be with us and we were overwhelmed with the love and generosity from our friends and family.
We really ended the year with a bang and on the biggest high, although there have been some lows like Joe being made redundant and my emotions being all over the place for most of this year, 2014 has truly been an amazing year for myself, Lamb and my new husband!
So from us three, we hope 2014 was as amazing for you as it was for us, and if it wasn’t, we wish you a truly spectacular 2015!
Last month we were sent a gadget jail so we could take part in Tech Timeout Challenge. The idea is you lock away your phones and gadgets for an hour a day and give yourself some well deserved, quality, family time with no distractions.
“The Tech Timeout Challenge was started by Foresters with the goal of helping spouses, parents and children build stronger bonds, communicate more personally and get more involved in each other’s lives.”
I jumped at the chance to take part in this challenge. I’m guilty of using my phone too much. I didn’t realise how much time blogging would take up when I started at the beginning of this year, but it really is a full time job if you want it to be successful.
I don’t ignore Lamb, but I do get distracted by my iPhone way too much. So i’ve have decided to lock our phones away for an hour a day and give Lamb our full attention.
Believe it or not, we actually left our phones in the jail for longer than an hour! I really thought I would want it back, but we were enjoying reading books, colouring and watching movies, and really didn’t need our phones.
It was so nice to give Lamb my full attention. Technology plays a huge part in our society, I don’t judge anyone who uses a lot of gadgets in their homes. I let Lamb watch TV, he knows his way around the iPad, but this is normal for the time we live in. I believe as long as their is a good balance between family time and watching TV (for example), there is nothing wrong with letting them play the odd game, or watch their favourite programme.
According to my mum, I learned to read at a very early age by watching Sesame Street. I have noticed how much Lamb picks up from watching TV. He learns a new word most days! As long as there is a good mix of education and entertainment, I will continue to allow Lamb to watch a bit of TV each day.
As for my iPhone, i’m afraid it has been sentenced to an hour in jail everyday.
After blogging for just over 10 months now, I’ve realised I haven’t shared my birthing story! This is probably because Lamb was 10 months old when I started, so I skipped the pregnancy/labour part of blogging. Plus I’d told the story a trillion times already and was pretty bored of telling it!
Well I’m ready to tell the story again!
Let’s start with my due date. Saturday 16th March 2013. Nope, no baby. So I booked to have a sweep the next day.
On the Sunday morning my midwife came to my house so I could have a sweep. I’d heard mixed reviews about them. Some say it works, some say it doesn’t. Some say it hurts, some don’t feel a thing. For me, i’d rather try and it not work, then regret not trying it at all.
My midwife was pretty honest with me, she told me if she was to do it right, it would be uncomfortable. And it was. Really painful (I know, if I thought that was painful, wait until I was in labour!), apparently I was 1cm dilated and she predicted bean sprout (Lambs name when he was in my belly) would be here within 24 hours. Yikes.
Guess what. She was right!
Around 4am Tuesday morning I woke up with mild contractions. Joe was at work so after an hour of counting fairly regular contractions I text him to let him know. He was home by 6:30am and I could sense he was full of emotions. Fear, excitement, nerves, more fear.
By 7:30am the contractions were around 5-6 minutes apart and lasting around 30 seconds. They were getting quite painful so I called the hospital to let them know I was in early labour.
I’m sure you know already, but one way of knowing how serious your contractions are is by the tone of your voice while talking on the phone. The midwife will listen to you carefully and if you don’t have a contraction while on the phone they will tell you to stay at home (according to what my midwife told me!)
Surprise, surprise I was told to stay at home. To be fair, in the 7 minutes I was on the phone I didn’t have a contraction, so it’s understandable. They told me to take some paracetamol for the pain and take a bath to relax. Come on, we all know paracetamol and baths don’t do anything for labour pains. I mean, seriously, we take paracetamol for headaches, not labour pains.
Well, on with the story. After a couple of hours using my (useless) tens machine, and the pain getting worse I called the hospital again. They agreed to let me go in for some stronger pain relief and to be checked over.
I arrived at the hospital around 12pm. There was no one available to see me so I had to wait in the waiting room. Not ideal. By now my contractions were really strong and I was fully into breathing slowly and deeply to get through the pain. It was a little embarrassing, especially when a grand mother to be came in to wait for her daughter to give birth.
After what felt like hours I was finally seen by a midwife. The pain was getting unbearable, so surely I was ready to give birth. Nope. I was 1cm! 1 teeny tiny centimetre!
‘This baby won’t be coming for at least 24 hours. I suggest you go home and rest”. What? Are you kidding me?! I was practically fainting between contractions. I could barely stay awake. Joe was my knight in shining armour. He refused to take me home and demanded we were allowed to stay to be monitored. It worked. My hero.
The midwife allowed us to stay for an hour, and would check again to see if my labour had progressed. 2 hours had gone and I was really struggling. I wasn’t hooked up to any machine, I hadn’t been checked and I had no pain relief other than paracetamol.
The next part was pretty scary. I felt a sudden gush, my waters hadn’t broken at this point so obviously that came to mind, however it wasn’t water, it was blood. I put my hand between my legs and looked at my fingers. I didn’t have the energy to panic. I just gently shouted Joe to call a midwife (again). He panicked. There was a lot of blood.
The midwife finally took my labour seriously. I will never, ever forget the look on her face when she saw the blood. To this day I still don’t know what caused the bleeding. I had no explanation. The midwife checked me and I was 7 cm! In the space of 2 hours I had gone from 1cm to 7cm! Ouch!
Finally I was offered pain relief. I felt so neglected, but I was too weak to complain. I immediately asked for an epidural. The contractions were just too powerful for me to handle anymore. To my dismay the midwife informed us there were no free beds to have an epidural – I have since been informed this would not be the case as an epidural can be wheeled to you. Did I mention I wasn’t in a proper labour suite? So they were able to use this as an excuse.
Instead I had pethidine, which at the time felt like it did nothing, however after talking with friends they told me it makes you sleepy, and as I was falling asleep between each contraction, it was obviously working it’s magic.
The rest of my labour is a bit blurry. Each hour rolled into the next. I had a new midwife by this point, who was amazing and I want to find her when I’m in labour again! She was the most gentle, caring person I’ve met and was so reassuring and complimentary. There’s nothing better than being told you’re doing an amazing job when you’re in labour with your first baby.
I remember at one point the midwife needed to examine me, as she was about to do her stuff I felt a contraction, she patiently waited until it was over. I looked up at Joe and the midwife sympathetically looking down at me and I just smiled and apologised. Don’t ask me why I felt the need to say sorry for making her wait to examine me! She just replied “you’re fully into labour and you’re still smiling, you’re doing so well”. It’s little moments like that that have stuck in my mind. Which I am very grateful for. She was so caring, my memory of labour isn’t tainted with the pain.
Ok, so lets wrap this up. After a quick (unsuccessful) trip to the toilet, having a contraction whilst sat there and realising gravity was working it’s magic, the midwife suggested I change positions.
Some time later (I really couldn’t tell you how long) I gave birth to my Little Lamb weighing 6lbs 12oz on all fours at 19:57pm on Tuesday 19th March 2013. He was handed to me through my legs so I could see him the moment he arrived and that memory will stay with me forever. My purple (ish) coloured, slimy bundle of joy.
How did Joe handle becoming a father? This photo tells it all…
Even though there were flaws with my labour experience, I feel very lucky it was free of complication and I gave birth to a healthy, baby boy.
Lately I’ve had a real bug for blogging. I’m a tad obsessed! I haven’t always been like that. Vicky and I only started in January, so we are still newbies in the mummy blogging world, but the last couple of months I’ve had lots to write about!
Finding the time to write isn’t easy for me. I work 3 days a week. My partner works nights. My toddler refuses to sleep. So you can see I’m pretty challenged in the personal time department! Because of this I’ve had to find ways of blogging around work, babies and boyfriends.
Firstly, I’ve started blogging on my lunch break at work. This in itself is a challenge, as my boss sees me at my desk and assumes I’m working. I often flick between work and blogging, but I can usually get a decent post done in the hour I’m on lunch.
Secondly, I use the WordPress app on my iPhone. Whenever I have a spare minute I’ll quickly add something to a post I’m writing. It could be while Jaxson is eating, or when we are cuddling watching Frozen. Or if we are going out as a family, I’ll ask Joe to drive so I can blog on my phone. I find the app super useful for times when I really can’t sit at the computer or on my laptop.
Thirdly, I blog in bed! I haven’t brought myself to write a post about it yet, but Lamb will only sleep in my bed. This is extremely inconvenient for me, especially when Joe is at work. What usually happens is I’ll take Jaxson to bed with me when he’s tired, put on a movie and we lay together until he falls asleep. I’ll then move him into his cot and quickly grab something to eat before going to bed myself. I’ll then sit in bed with my laptop and type away. There are pros and cons to Joe working nights, but one pro is the time I get to myself. Before I started blogging I found evenings alone pretty tedious, but now I have a hobby to fill the gap.
It’s also vital that I create drafts of my posts in WordPress. I’m pretty forgetful since having Jaxson (aren’t we all) so I forget what I want to write about. Recently I’ve been adding plenty of drafts to the blog so when I’m ready, I can write.
Finally, I blog with a friend! In the beginning, when we were both new to blogging, Vicky and I spent one evening a week discussing the blog and planning our posts. As we’ve become more experienced we don’t need to do this, but will often text each other with ideas or questions. If I’m unsure about a post I’ll ask Vicky and her marketing head to check it before I publish.
Vicky has been taking a break from blogging (I did the same back in July), sometimes you just don’t feel like writing. It’s right to take a break, you should never force your posts, it will show in your writing and come across as ‘fake’. Writing the blog together means we have each other to rely on if we can’t blog.
*Update – Vicky is still taking her break, she has yet to decide if she will come back to blogging, however she is still sending me ideas and helps when she can (she will be guest posting when I’m on holiday next week, so please comment on her posts and send her lots of blogging love!! 🙂 )
I hope you’ve found this useful. I’d love to know your tips on better blogging and finding the time to blog.