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Today – my day with my littlest

We’re reaching that part of maternity leave that seems to be full of lasts and firsts.

It sounds rather dramatic and sentimental, but today was the last day (ever?) that I get to spend the entire day with my youngest son, on our own, before I go back to work next month.

We went to our last (ever!) Saltbox music group and I managed to hold it together enough not to blub at the point where all the babies just sit in awe of the bubble machine (why do I find that really moving? I’m clearly weird!) We’ve really loved those classes, have done them for months.

We celebrated our last class by having coffee and cake with a friend. Mmm chocolate cake on Monday morning – the best way to start the week!

Alexander and I then had a walk (well I walked, he slept!) and then lunch at home.

This afternoon I thought we should mark today in a small way, by doing some canvases of Alexander’s hands and feet. We got some kits for Christmas last year and have never got round to using them. Turns out it’s really easy so not sure why we didn’t do it until now. It’s nice that my sentimental brain will be able to look at them in the months to come and know we did that on our last day together.

So, my beautiful giggly little Alexander, thank you so much for the past 10 months, I’ve had a ball. Hope you’ve loved it too. I know you’ll love nursery and I’m so jealous of the ladies that get to spend their days with you while I’m at work.

Love you littlest one

Mummy xx

Some pics of our day (sorry there’s a few!):

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Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…

Returning to work for the second time after maternity leave is a very different prospect to return to work version 1.0. Back then was tough initially – thinking about a small person while trying to get a full days work done, cramming activities and family time into the teeny tiny weekend, and all the while still achieving what needed to be done at work without appearing insane (silently crying at desk having found a photo of said child doing a cute face on your phone excluded of course), or falling asleep during meetings!

I used to find it too mentally draining to even think about when to fit in any exercise or a haircut, or even a supermarket shop!

Little did I know that life back then was a breeze.

Returning to work version 2.0 is a whole new kettle of fish.

It’s life but not as we know it.

I have been lucky to have 10-11 months off with each of our boys, which I’m so grateful for. I have really enjoyed having the time to bond with each of my children and recharge my own batteries. I’ve learnt new skills (in addition to the baby-changing-whilst-child-remains-asleep skill for which I remain most proud!) and made new friends.

I’m heading back to work next month and have spent the last few days trying to get my head around the logistics needed to get all four of us to where we need to be by 9am every morning. Nursery, preschool and work are in three different places up to 12 miles apart. Headache!

We’re lucky that we have both sets of the boys’ grandparents locally who help out one day a week each and I’m also going to be working a four day week so will have Fridays with my boys but it’s a far cry from the relative calm of maternity leave.

If I have a bad night with Alexander now I can just sleep when he sleeps the following day. In just over a months’ time, I’m going to have to not only stay awake all day (a challenge in itself), but also attempt to appear relatively sane, lucid and knowledgeable….huh? Might be difficult with matchsticks holding my eyelids open. I don’t even drink caffeinated coffee anymore to help out.

In preparation I’ve started thinking about shortcuts I can take. I’ve got myself a Things To Do Today pad (courtesy of a lovely friend for my birthday) and have started running my life according to what I write on said pad each Sunday evening. Meals are planned and activities scheduled. Go me.

The boys will be in up to four different childcare settings each week so we’ll be trying to keep some level of consistency by employing lunch boxes of familiar food and equipping grandparents with things that they would normally have at home.

In all of this, the one thing that I know will go out of the window every morning for me is breakfast. I have been known to completely skip breakfast in the past – particularly before I got married and had children. Now I’m a monster if I don’t eat, just ask my long-suffering husband!

It was perfect timing when BelVita sent me a selection of their new crunchy breakfast biscuits to try out a couple of weeks ago. We were sent Apricot (my fave), Hazelnut and Chocolate flavours, along with a lovely £5 Costa voucher.

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Having trialled them for a couple of weeks, I can definitely say they’ll be firmly on my plan for mornings when I return to work. One pack of biscuits along with some fruit and a portion of dairy (a yoghurt in my case) and I’ll be set until lunchtime. At least that’s one less thing for me to be thinking about!
I’d call that a Morning Win!

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New belVita Breakfast Crunchy offers a fruity, extra nutty or chocolatey option as part of your breakfast experience, adding yet more variety on those busy mornings when there are a million things to juggle, and breakfast is bottom of the pile! They are generously packed with delicious ingredients to make a bigger and crunchier belVita Breakfast biscuit, for when you want a bit of extra oomph from your breakfast! They are the only breakfast biscuits proven to slowly release carbohydrates over four hours as part of a balanced breakfast.

This post is an entry for #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. Learn more at http://bit.ly/belVitaUK

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Siblings – September

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I am super late with my September siblings post. We’ve been settling in to a new routine this month with Elliot starting two additional morning sessions at a local preschool and Alexander and I are back in our routine of baby music classes.

Alexander has become very mobile over the past month so these two have been finding new ways of playing with each other and I’m loving watching their relationship change ever so slightly!

dear beautiful

See my other Siblings posts below, and check out this months linky on Dear Beautiful:

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August

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Here be dinosaurs!

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(Excuse the slightly out of focus photo!)

Horray! We have reached the magical age of the dinosaurs in this house and I couldn’t be more excited. I LOVED dinosaurs as a child (except for one very vivid nightmare I can still recall) and I’ve been waiting and waiting for Elliot to get to the age where he “gets” them. Ladies and gentlemen, we are here.

We have visited the Natural History Museum in London a couple of weeks ago, and also went to Gulliver’s Dinosaur and Farm Park in Milton Keynes the same week. In addition to a pretty much constant addiction to Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures on Cbeebies, and a couple of book purchases, we are now all familiar with your run of the mill Stegosauruses, Diplodocuses, and Brontosauruses, and even the more exotic Archaeopteryx,
Minmi and Compsognathus. However, do let me introduce you to two dinosaurs you might not have heard of (in Elliot’s own words):

Dragonosaurus:
“He has spikes, and three horns like a triceratops. His face is very serious every week. He is the same colour as other dinosaurs. He has a long tail, that has six clubs on the end, one on top of the other, so he is very dangerous and you must be very careful Mummy. He can fly, and he makes fire from his mouth”

Leafasaurus:
“He has leaves and grass all over him. He has three horns. He is a leaf eater. And he has wheels like a car”

Love how excited he is about this new discovery! Long may it last (am already half planning a dinosaur themed birthday for the boys in December!)

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Today, captured

Yep, it’s been a quiet time round here recently. Somehow I’ve developed a list as long as my arm, or even longer, of “things that I must do” and I’m struggling to get through the writing of the list part let alone ticking anything off, but I just HAD to break my blogging silence to capture my lovely day today.

We’ve had a bumpy week with some very serious things going on in my extended family which has meant that it’s become very easy to just watch the days pass without creating any proper structure or capturing any little lovely moments with the boys. I think that may have made today even more special.

We took Elliot to see Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play this afternoon and he absolutely loved it. Watching his face as we told him where we were going and the delight during the play at everything going on was just amazing.

The play itself was brilliantly done – all using puppets, the puppeteers were fantastic. We had good seats about 5 rows from the front which made us feel really part of the action, and meant we were in the right place when several things floated down from the ceiling (leaves, bubbles, and snow!!!)

Elliot was really impressed, and kept saying that he was really excited. He actually did a little boogie in the aisle to the music before it started!

I love that he’s at the age when we can go to the theatre and it manages to capture his attention for the majority of the play. I’m also thankful that my parents could look after Alexander so it felt like a real treat for both of us to be able to just spend time with our eldest boy who is growing up all too fast at the moment.

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After the performance we met up with Alexander again and did some shopping. Elliot got new shoes (see? I told you he’s growing up too fast!) and we went for a coffee so Alexander could have some food.

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We then explored a toy shop and acquired an Octonauts Gup Launcher and some little whizzy Gups! After a snooze on the way home, Elliot and I played with them while Alex had his bath. They were a complete hit!

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Elliot declared “I’m soooo delighted!”, and “I’m so proud of myself” when he won the race, and “I like winning now Mummy”

Bedtime came round and after hearing him getting out of bed I went up and found him staring out of the window. As I took him back to his bed, he said “I’ve had a lovely day, I’m so excited about the next day, what are we going to do?”

We’d better rethink our plans (which currently consist of “take stuff to the rubbish dump”) then….

A fun day, which makes me really want to capture my amazing, intelligent, beautiful and quirky three-year-old.

Stay exactly as you are Elliot. I love you. You deserve many more days that make you delighted, and I’ll do my best to make sure you get them.

Xxx