Crafternoon

Excuse the Instagram pics but I didn’t have the camera out.

We had a crafternoon last weekend making some festive things. Roslyn loved sitting playing with the ribbon (supervised)

tumblr_nf3funFTSr1qcjh8ho1_400

tumblr_nf3fwyXApm1qcjh8ho1_400

I roped a reluctant Stuart in with some twine too.

tumblr_nf3g0aj3BO1qcjh8ho1_400

And sandy had a blast making holes in the paper with his pens and letting them bleed into the carpet. Bicarbonate of soda is my new BFF.

tumblr_nez0oqBr4V1qcjh8ho1_400

Sandy made some abstract Christmas cards with stickers glue, and Pom Poms and I finished up our family fingerprint reindeer cards which turned out really nice. The idea is from Pinterest but adorned with the dymo label maker and some festive tape from Tiger (aka where all the money formerly known as in my bank account now resides)

tumblr_nf4l3z8bUk1qcjh8ho1_400

We also made these stick decorations. The stars turned out lovely and I added some sandy art to the back of mine. The other is a Christmas tree, that translates yeah? Please?

tumblr_nfbr8aYWw81qcjh8ho1_400

In other news we are all getting into the festive spirit here. I was out shopping with my mum and Roslyn (our first tri-generational “girls day out” to Livingston actually!) and we passed a MAHOOSIVE toy of the snowman in debenhams. If you know sandy you will know he’s mad for the snowman, or “me-man” if you will. It started last Christmas when I out out our two snowman toys as decorations and he adopted them, calling them his “babees”. Since a real little girl has assumed the name babee so now they are memen and he has a tonne. Well, I saw giant meman and couldn’t resist. Especially as he was 40% off. When sandy saw him his face lit up and he was like “ME MAN! BIIIIIIG!” And since then meman has been sitting at the table with sandy, holding his hand in the car and getting tucked into bed at night. Best buds. So worth it.

tumblr_nffqy6sOPw1qcjh8ho1_400

Yesterday we officially broke out the Christmas get up a little early in honour of a festive toddler party we were hosting (more on that soon). Sandy has a snowman hat which plays music (he loves that) and Roslyn a Christmas pudding. We took a little jaunt to the butcher for square sausage (currently the only protein sandy will eat) with the happy hats on.

tumblr_nffr2cFar11qcjh8ho1_400

tumblr_nffr022TPI1qcjh8ho1_400

We’ve also been busy wreath making (more to come again), hot chocolate drinking and cinnamon candle burning. So things are really getting in the festive swing here.

Would You Say That to an Adult?

When sandy was born he came out with the most beautiful platinum blonde hair. I remember an orderly at the hospital comment “I’ve never seen such bright hair on a wean before”. It was the start of many such comments I’ve received on his hair.

While this comment wasn’t negative, it was made because he was different. Perhaps she loved his hair, perhaps she was shocked by it. Either way she saw something unusual and commented. As sandy grew his hair all but fell out and he was bald for at least six months and when his hair came back in it wasn’t platinum blonde but a bright sandy blonde. Then it started to get some more ruddy bits and became what I would now describe as strawberry blonde. It’s beautiful.

As it has grown so have the comments. From the seemingly innocuous “oh I love his red hair!” and “I’ve got ginger grand kids/nephews/god children” to the more abrupt “wow he’s got ginger hair” and the absurd “is he bad tempered? You know, because he’s a red head?”

At first I didn’t pay much attention, then as the comments increased I started to get annoyed. I didn’t know why at first but soon realised it’s because no one was saying to the mother next to me “oh wow, your daughters hair is so BROWN”. Yet sandy’s hair colour seemed something they just couldn’t avoid mentioning. Why? I doubted it was because “red” hair is so awe inspiring that you just had to say something. It’s not like his follicles were producing spun gold. I realised it is because people see it as a negative. They don’t like his hair colour. They see it as a bad thing and (for some obscure reason) think they have to reassure me by commenting on it. I really, really wish they would not.

Unsurprisingly when Roslyn came I didn’t get a single comment on her hair colour. Never has someone told me they too have brunette children, and no one has queried her for a placid nature due to the mousey colour she boasts. Such is vindication of the anger I feel when people mention sandy. But what I have experienced with Roslyn is comments about her birthmark. She has a red birthmark on her eyebrow. Her strawberry. And this is the thing people need to mention when they meet her.

“Is that a birthmark?” They ask. Yes, it is, and so?

“Did someone hurt her?” Is another I get. I wonder do they really think I hurt my baby or is it just a round about way to get me to admit she has a birth mark.

Most common though? “Oh DONT WORRY, it will go away” followed by some tale of someone their granny knew whose birth mark faded, thankfully.

You know what? I don’t care if her birth mark fades. I love her birth mark. And I’d love her without it. And I really do not need people going around commenting on it. I don’t need people commenting on my children’s appearances, especially to point out things they deem flaws. And it’s just that, because no one tells me that sandy is tall, and no one mentions that Roslyn is petite. There is no pointing out of button noses, or delight about rosy cheeks. No, it’s the hair and the birth mark. It’s all I hear.

Since when did it become okay to point out these things to children? You’d never hear someone say to an adult “is that a birth mark?” or “wow! Your hair is ginger!” It’d be not only incredibly rude, but hurtful to the person. So why is it okay to do it to my kids? No wonder some people view ginger hair or birth marks or otherwise negatively, when they are brought up in a society which allows adults to comment on them. I don’t want my children to be sensitive over these things, I don’t want them to feel ashamed of any part of their appearance. Sure, it will happen to some extent. I mean, I can’t patrol the playground waiting until a child makes fun of them. But I sure as hell can’t allow adults to do the same, in a faux interested way. They are going to get complexes about these things and it makes me so angry.

So the next time you comment on a child’s appearance, ask yourself if you are doing it for the right reason (that being to truly compliment the child) and if it would be appropriate to say the same to an adult. Or, just don’t do it. Just ask the child their name, or how old they are, or about their toy. There are a million and one things to discuss aside from personal appearance, so do just that.

My son has strawberry blonde hair and he loves tractors. My daughter has a birth mark and she flaps her hands up and down when she’s excited. These children are people and they should be treated with as much respect as you would expect to receive yourself.

IMG_4246

IMG_4259

IMG_4284

IMG_4293

IMG_4319

IMG_4323

Autumn at Home

IMG_3914

I can’t describe how much I love seeing my guys playing together.

IMG_3924

Since Roslyn learned how to sit up she’s been able to properly get involved in sandy’s play. Namely, cars.

IMG_3932

Plus since weaning she’s much more dextrous too, so she’s loving trying to copy sandy with the car driving actions.

IMG_3936

And car eating actions.

IMG_3945

In other news I dressed her up as a watermelon the other day with fantastic results.

IMG_3958

Being inside more due to the deteriorating weather gives me more time to photoshoot the butt out of this cute stick.

IMG_3959

IMG_3965

IMG_3970

IMG_3978

IMG_3996

Seriously, she’s just TOO MUCH!

IMG_4006

I’ve been enjoying the autumn to some extent. It’s nice to have the lights and heat on all cosy.

IMG_4012

Fun to do a bit of nappy only video recording with daddy for posterity.

IMG_4013

On the whole though I’ve been feeling a bit, blegh about the end of summer. It’s the short days and miserable weather I guess. Sandy and Roslyn aren’t so good at being cooped up and there are only so many places you can go that are indoors and inexpensive. By the time the sun (ha) goes down we are usually a bit stir crazy inside. Meh. Bring on Christmas, maybe some snow, and then the spring.

IMG_4031

We did some bath painting…

IMG_4052

And Roslyn took an impromptu naked nap in the bed so Molly guarded over her. Cat naps indeed.

IMG_4054

So much cuteness.

IMG_4059

And meanwhile, in the bath…

IMG_4065

IMG_4073

Here’s hoping for a little more cold but dry and maybe even sunny weather so we can get out and about more.

Fireworks

Check out the amazing cake my brother made for a joint birthday party for me and my aunt:

IMG_4080

IMG_4081

It’s a spooky church!

IMG_4084

IMG_4088

IMG_4091

Hands down the best and most elaborate cake I’ve ever been baked!

IMG_4099

IMG_4105

IMG_4115

IMG_4116

IMG_4120

Mr cake face loved it of course.

IMG_4132

IMG_4139

IMG_4144

We had a fun time playing the stick a name on someone’s head and guess who you are game. I’m sure it has a real name. I was Einstein.

IMG_4145

We also had fireworks. Sandy had his first sparkler which was nerve wracking experience as he cried if I held his hand but if I let him do it himself he kept getting it perilously close to his face.

IMG_4147

So glad the next time he has one he will be a year older and wiser!

IMG_4148

IMG_4152

IMG_4153

IMG_4167

IMG_4173

IMG_4176

As for the fireworks themselves sandy kept swinging between “ooh! The bangs… They commmmming!” To “oh no! Bangs! Fright!” About six times every minute. He enjoyed them more from behind glass, and then not even enough to get over his nerves. Roslyn was distracted enough to stop crying for five minutes. She got a vomiting bug the next day so I guess she hasn’t been feeling too well. More on that next time.

IMG_4178

Ciao.

Make Your Own Bandana Bibs

Bibs, bibs, bibs. So many bibs. I don’t know about anyone else’s little ones but my two were/are droolers extraordinaire. Sandy had a bib firmly attached from the age of 4 weeks to well over a year old, and he went through several a day (sometimes even into double figures!)

IMG_3626

I put a lot of effort into finding nice clothing for sandy and Roslyn so it seems absurd that I wouldn’t put a decent bit of time into getting super cute bibs, seeing as they are always on and pretty much a focal point of what they are wearing. But annoyingly I can never seem to find really fun prints and a decent range of colours in shops. Plus add the problem of unending pinkness when shopping for Roslyn to the situation and I realised I should just make my own.

Of course I didn’t want it to cost too much, which is why ordering fabric to measure it brilliant as you can order 1/4 of a metre in several different prints for not too much. I found this AMAZING fabric site – fabric rehab – which stocks retro, vintage prints, and lots of small prints which are perfect for bibs.

If you are looking for a really cost effective way to make them though, you can use old remnants or scraps from clothing, bedding and any other absorbent material you like.

So without further ado, a simple guide to sewing your own bandana bibs:

IMG_3615

Firstly cut a triangle from the print fabric. Use a bib you already have to measure the length.

Cut out the same size in a plain fabric for the reverse side. You could make it reversible with the same print or a different print but I found using the more expensive print with cheap backing means you can make far more bibs, which is necessary if you have a dribbler like mine!

IMG_3616

Face the outsides of the fabrics in to each other and sew all the way around the bib leaving a gap of several centimetres to then turn it inside out so the print is facing out. Then sew up around the edges again to finish the bib.

IMG_3617

IMG_3618

Finally add a popper, button, or Velcro for the fastening. The easiest way to do it is to buy a pair of popper (snap fastner) pliers which all you to add the fastenings quickly and without sewing.

IMG_3620

IMG_3624

IMG_3623

And ta da! Beautiful bibs in any print you like.

IMG_3631

Sandy’s Dance Academy

Welcome to Sandy’s dance academy! Here I (sandy) will teach you all my famous moves and how to look super cool dancing up a storm.

First things first, attire. You can dance in anything or nothing. Extra points for unusual and mismatched items (like shorts and wellingtons, t shirt and socks) or simple nappy dancing.

Secondly, when to dance. The best time to dance is whenever it is most inappropriate to your parents. When you are meant to be eating dinner is excellent, and even better if you demand they dance with you too, half way through their meal. Over nap time and bath time work excellently too.

And thirdly, where to dance. The living room is fine, but half way up the stairs is ideal. If you really want to make an impression dance in public whenever you hear music, or wherever is busiest. And if there isn’t music just make some (do doo dooo dododo).

Anyway let’s start the tutorial:

IMG_3289

1. Swivel hips. Styled after Elvis, all you need to do is run on the spot crossing your feet in front of each other. For extra flair, stick your toe out to the side before and after this move.

IMG_3301

2. Musical statue. Perform move 1. Then stop suddenly and balance on one leg, or if you are feeling ambitious get down on all fours and lift a leg in the air.

IMG_3312

3. Bounce. Bouncing is an integral part of any choreography.

IMG_3315

4. Circles round and round. Challenge mum and dad to a circles round and round challenge until the fall over or puke.

IMG_3322

5. Fingers. Stick out your index fingers and point as you dance.

IMG_3327

6. The fake fall. Plummet mid move for an exciting Segway into a new part of the routine. Also encourage mum and dad to do the same then yell at them to get up and dance again. Slackers.

And if all else fails just run around like a headless chicken yelling “DANCE DANCE DANCE”. With these moves you will never fail.

Good luck!

Love Sandy x

Three Years From Thirty

IMG_3763

And still acting like I’m nearer 13.

IMG_3762

Oh well. Happy birthday to me.

IMG_3767

I’m now old. Again.

Sure it’s all relative. Stuart laughs in my face and tells me how young 27 sounds to him. But it’s not to me! Okay?!

I may have had several little freak outs about getting older and thinking how the hell am I 27 when I still feel 22? But I guess it’s fitting a bit better. Maybe it’s because I’m used to doing things young. Mortgaged by 18, engaged by 20 married by 22, a baby by 24, two kids by 26. But now I’m 27 and all set up milestone wise and I guess all that comes now is more years eh?

Whatever. Just a number and all that. And honestly I normally just put my head in the sand when it comes to thinking about getting older. So let’s just keep doing that.

IMG_3791

Mum made me a sweet (literally) cake that I enjoyed with the sandman the day before my birthday.

IMG_3795

In the day itself we had a family chillfest in the morning. Check out these three:

IMG_3800

IMG_3801

IMG_3805

How lucky am I!?

IMG_3808

They got me the loveliest presents too and I had the best helpers to open them.

IMG_3812

IMG_3813

IMG_3819

I finally have a personalised mug :)

IMG_3822

IMG_3831

IMG_3832

Start is the sweetest, he got me personalised car mats. He knows how much the existing ones annoy me riding up to the pedals.

He told a colleague about what he was ordering me and she looked at him funny and said “car mats? You are buying your wife car mats?” He told her I would dig them. He knows me best.

IMG_3840

I had a great day with my guys. We went to m&ds and sandy had a blast in the soft play (the boy is really coming into his own in there) and I loved having him follow me or tell me which way to go. Then we played some amusements and got him into gambling early (penny falls, don’t worry, low stakes). Then we hit up frankie and benny’s for a birthday dinner of burgers and chips with maymaise for sandy (and strangely a salad for Stuart) followed by ice cream. Fab times with my guys and more fun to follow with a spooky joint party with my aunt fran who shares my birthday, on Saturday. It’s at Jamie’s house and he is doing a big cake and fireworks so I can’t wait! Being 27 isn’t all bad after all!

IMG_3863

6 Months – Happy Half Birthday Roslyn

IMG_3701

Seriously!? She’s SIX MONTHS OLD?! When did that happen?

IMG_3678

And when did she get so chunky?

Seriously though, she actually isn’t. She is a little one, much like her mama. Petite is what we are saying. She’s roughly sizes with sandy at the same time of the year two years on. Which basically means he was her 6 month size at 3 months!!

IMG_3693

She’s come on a lot recently. She’s been sitting up for a few weeks up and rarely falls over when doing it anymore. It’s really great because she can sit up with her brother and play with him. Every day I walk in on the imagined scenes of early siblinghood that kept me going through nine gruelling months of pregnancy. Sandy cuddling her and saying “oh babbbbeeeeee!” in that adorable gushing way he does. Stuart holding her while sandy pops his head from under the bed sheets saying “boo” and the hysterical laughter that follows. She has the most amazing laugh. And she is still the most smiley baby ever. She just beams as soon as she sees you.

IMG_3656

Other physical milestones are that she rolls perfectly now and has just begun to do some little press ups in preparation for crawling. I’m relishing these last few weeks of being able to put her down and still find her there later! Just this week she has started bashing her little arm up and down when you wave, mimicking us! And she even tried to clap too! Very cute and impressive!

IMG_3646

Weaning has begun. We have gone for mostly baby led weaning this time and a little bit of spoon feeding where it is food you would spoon feed yourself. So she loves having a bit of porridge on a spoon and tries to do it herself, gnawing away on the spoon. She holds pieces of fruit and just these last few days some meat and bread too. Crumpet went down well as do strawberries and her favourite are by far biscotti, just like her brother loved when she was younger! We have so far been haphazard in when to feed her, just when we found the time or she wanted to but now are beginning to give her something any time we are eating and she’s starting to swallow decent amounts which is great.

IMG_3779

As for her tummy she’s made progress and is much less windy on the whole and doesn’t seem to cramp up as much. I’m not sure what the issue was but hopefully weaning has improved it. The only downside of weaning is she’s now finding it a bit harder to process her new food and wakes up early in the morning to that end! Hopefully it will pass soon, literally!

IMG_3776

Sleep is still not so good. I thought we were blessed with a sleeper when she was younger and for the first four months she was going 3-6 hours between feeds over night. Then regression hit and since she has been two hourly like clockwork. We aren’t getting too bothered by it as we go to bed very early. Some nights she will do a longer stretch but they are few and far between. We will probably give her a gentle nudge towards longer stretches in a months time when we transition her to her cot in her own room and if needed do some gentle sleep training. Honestly? I really am not looking forward to it. I love co sleeping! But I know from experience with sandy she is unlikely to start sleeping longer and dropping night feeds in with me. I will miss her squishy little self so much! But needs must and we do want evenings back and I will need them for the latter part of my final seven months at university. Not to mention some more quality sleep!

IMG_3769

We love our little lady so much. I can’t tell you how complete our family feels now that she is here. I can’t wait for her first Christmas and all the other fun times our family is going to have.

Happy six months rozziebear!

High Need Babies

I have two high needs babies. I know that now. I didn’t know what it was called when I was struggling with sandy. I called him “busy”, “demanding”, “hard work”, “omg please give me two minutes peace” and such, but what I meant was that he was high need.

I don’t know if it’s a great term. It’s meant to be a positive way of describing a baby who requires a lot more of their parent. For some reason to me it sounds a bit negative though? I’m not sure why. But it will suffice.

I recently posted about how my children don’t sleep, and that’s part of it. Frequently waking, not self settling, anti-cot. But there are so many other facets of a high need baby which fit with the characters of sandy and Roslyn.

High need babies are said to be intense, described as “driven” and in a high gear all the time. If that wasn’t an accurate description of sandy I don’t know what is. The boy never stops. He has one speed and one volume and they aren’t slow or quiet, that’s for sure.

Add to this an intensity in reactions and you hit on Roslyn a bit more too. Put her down and walk away and you don’t begin to hear a whinge or cry of dissatisfaction. Nope, she’ll be screaming so vigorously and loudly that you would check to see you lay her on a blanket right enough, not a bed of needles.

Both of my high need babies have been frequent feeders. I would hear of people being able to time their babies need for a feed to the minute. Oh it’s been three hours now, they will need fed. If either of mine went three hours without some boob time I’d be seriously concerned for their welfare. Of course it’s a comfort thing, because it’s hard work being a baby, and the only way to calm down is to suck, it seems.

High need babies are described as demanding and draining. It is said that they suck every thing they can from you and leave you with only enough left to scrape through the day alive and still (kinda) sane. I remember with sandy one day pleading to him “what do you want? I’ve given you every little bit of me and it’s still not enough!” And of course he just looked back at me and gooed, you know, cause he was a baby.

These babies are also unpredictable. By some miracle you manage to find some way of soothing them, you formulate an insanely choreographed dance of sleep with several moves which have to be performed in a precise order and your baby falls asleep. It’s amazing. You did it! You actually solved the problem! No more crying! No more asking “what is wrong!?!”. You know! So the next time your baby is upset (probably within the hour) you smugly settle into your new routine. And does the baby think “oh good, mums doing that thing I like, I’m going to relax”. No. No baby does not. Baby decides that that whole song and dance is absurd and horribly uncomfortable and exactly the opposite of what would induce sleep. Yeah right mum. And fast forward to toddlerhood. You may have finally cracked sleep (well, to some extent, enough that you could drive the car the next day without worrying about falling asleep at the wheel, maybe) but that fickleness prevails. The boy won’t eat, as ever, and you’ve accepted it. So you are out and you get something to snack on and he asks for it, so you offer and, holy crap, he actually EATS it. Amazing. You make a detour on the way home to stock up on this precious nutrition. And as soon as you offer it at home it’s like you served him up a fried turd. And then you find out that the fried turd he so detests is actually a delicacy at grannies house. Along with all sorts of other banished food sources including actual meat and vegetables. Seriously.

High need babies are hard. I like to think it’s a sign of intelligence. They are hard work because they are blooming. That the blooming is disconcerting and frustrating and something worth getting upset over, yet mum’s life doesn’t seem to fit into babies needs. And I think it’s actually this schism between the modern developed life of human adults and the primitive, animal like needs of a young child which create the problems. High need babies wouldn’t be too much of a problem if you could just sleep all day to make up for night wakenings. Or if you could just sit at home all day letting them feed and nap on you. Or if you could devote every minute to their ever changing wants, able to attend to them before they kicked off. But that’s not the way things are.

Despite that though, the best of us come to find natural ways to cope with high need babies. We give up on settling them in a cot because it takes an hour to achieve and then they wake after 20 measly minutes. So we bring them into bed and they sleep and we sleep and the milk bar is open. They won’t be put down so we pick them up. We strap them to us and keep them close and, ok, we can’t do everything, and packing the shopping with an infant on your front isn’t exactly ergonomic, but hey, no-one is crying, and that in itself is a big achievement. And they need us and need us and need us for attention so we give it, and when it’s hard, we call in the cavalry and the wider family give attention and the mum gets a break and it’s all ok.

Sometimes I feel hard done by that I have had two babies who won’t let me rest. Babies who don’t do those one off long sleeps, or have days where they just play and relax. I’m never let off the hook and I can never revel in an unusual lie in or day without them because they don’t mind going with someone else. I see people going on spa weekends baby free and getting full nights sleep because their baby happily accepted bottled from their daddy that night and I feel jealous. I’m not going to lie, it makes me think, “what am I doing wrong?” But the truth is I’m doing nothing wrong. And they are doing nothing wrong. All babies are different and some are more at ease with being a baby than others. It just turns out my babies need more of me, and you know what? It’s so nice to be wanted. There is nothing that can describe the feeling of being the only person in the world who can give that little soul what they need. Being wanted so intensely? It’s incredible. And providing for their every need with merely my body? Wow.

High need babies are hard work. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it. So if you think you are doing it all wrong, think again. You are doing it the way that works for your baby, and that’s all that matters. Trust your gut, it won’t see you wrong.

Simple Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes and Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Watching the news the other day there was bit about the amount of pumpkin flech that was getting thrown away after Halloween and how wasteful it is. I couldn’t agree more so made a point of using up all of our pumpkin innards to make tasty Halloween themed treats.

So with the puréed flesh I made spiced pumpkin cupcakes:

Make a sponge mix by beating 250g butter, 250g sugar and 2tsp vanilla. Stir in 2 cups of puréed pumpkin flesh. Whisk in four eggs one at a time and then fold in 250g self raising flour, 2tsp ginger and 3tsp cinnamon. Bake in cupcake cases at 180 until golden brown and firm on top. Decorate with vanilla buttercream icing and sprinkles!

IMG_3105

IMG_3114

IMG_3118

IMG_3120

IMG_3122

And for the pumpkin seeds, remove them all and rinse then pat dry on a tea towel. As they are still damp sprinkle sugar over them. Make up a glaze of icing sugar and milk to a thick consistency and pour over them in a baking tray. Bake in the oven until the glaze is just beginning to go golden. Remove and spread on a nonstick surface immediately and leave until solid. Break into pieces and enjoy pumpkin brittle!

IMG_3106

IMG_3182

IMG_3183