Being at Home

Now that Roslyn doesn’t just sleep all day we’ve been spending a bit more time at home.

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It was easier to just sling her up and let her zzz the day away while sandy and I played. Now she’s awake a lot more especially in the afternoons and doesn’t want to just sit in the sling but kick about so we’ve been embracing the old homestead.

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And of course the garden. Sandy has been having a blast out there as it’s been so warm. He’s been playing under the tap, chasing me as I cut the grass and eating strawberries from the garden. Speaking of, why is it my son will eat the strawberries from the garden but when offered some from the house (after a tantrum about there being none left outside) he refuses? We took to secretly planting shop bought ones among the leaves of the plants for him to “pick”. It’s wrong that I’m considering sewing sausages to the leaves to get him to eat, isn’t it?

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Roslyn is the tummy time queen!!

I’m loving mornings and evenings at home just playing with these two monsters.

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And their daddy of course.

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I live for these moments. Ones where sandy lies on top of his sister (eek) and kisses (um, sucks..) his sisters head for an eternity. He loves her so much.

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His biggest kisses always go to Roslyn. Always.

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And little cuddles too. Though I must admit recently he’s been a mummy’s boy full of massive tight neck cuddles complete with little pats on my back. LOVE OVERLOAD!

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Love me a husband who photobombs one’s whimsical photographs of their beautiful daughter.

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And adorable ones of their son.

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Such a fun loving lad of late. He’s finally finishing up on those incisors. Top two are all in and the bottom two are peeking through. He’s finally sleeping through again sometimes and I can see a trend of a happy day and a sleep through, a mardy day and night wakings. It makes me feel better when there is a reason.

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Sandy has also been advancing in the world of imaginative play. He brought his shopping trolley in and let stuart buy a tin of beans from it and took the imaginary penny from him for it.

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Mind you, he still prefers the real deal when it comes to making “tea”.

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In other news papa is back from his Hebridean travels and in high demand from two grandchildren.

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He came bearing gifts which went down well. Roslyn got a pink hippo that makes a purring noise. She sat and talked to it for half an hour happily, a record! Sandy got this car rain jacket which folds up into a wee backpack, he loved it too! Luckily we haven’t had the weather to use it yet but when we do he will be set.

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Speaking of weather here is a lovely misty morning we had the other day.

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And here is a little girl now moving into her 3-6 month clothing. Roslyn styles floral bloomers and looks radiant!

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She’s pretty happy with herself.

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Cheeky tongue sticking out.

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I must always have the camera to hand just now to capture all sorts of heart warming moments that arise from every day life. Sometimes I forget it’s on manual though… But the moment is too sweet to stop me posting the too dark picture.

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Sandy’s eating is slowly getting better. We had a little BBQ the other night and he ate a roll with butter and tomato sauce (weirdo) a little bit of papas roll with sausage in, a peach and a bunch of “home grown” strawberries. Not bad going. I’ve been advised to focus on the nutritional week, rather than the day, so that’s helping. Plus now I see more of a correlation between teeth and sleep it makes me worry less for loads of night waking a due to an empty tummy (though sometimes it is apparent that that is what’s going on).

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While we had the barbecue next doors two little girls who are 5 and 3 started shouting “sandy! Sandy!”. He ran over all excited to see them and had a chat. I didn’t catch what he was saying but today he was over again and launched into his most comfortable verbal territory:

“Hi sandy”
“Daddy’s car! daddy…the car. Daddy’s beep beep car! Daddy!! DADDYS….CAAAAARRRRRR!”

What a conversationalist.

Well, that’s me all blogged up to present and ready to hit the commonwealth games! On Wednesday we have tickets to see belle and Sebastian at kelvingrove bandstand, and then on Thursday it’s weightlifting. We are taking sandy into town for commonwealth fun, lunch at jamie Oliver’s and the merchant city festival on Friday. Then it’s sandy’s friend Aaron’s birthday party on Saturday, a brief respite and back out for hockey the following week. So it’s a busy time for us. Roslyn’s got her ear protectors looked out and the baby sitters are on standby for sandy… Wish us luck!

Summer Morning at Polkemmet

I’m becoming a summer lover. I used to be all about the winter, but now I’ve got a boy who just loves to roam I’m being converted. That and the fact we’ve have two amazing summers in a row now!

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So we hit up Polkemmet again on Sunday morning to let little legs get a stretch. He’s coming on leaps and bounds with his words and comprehension. He knows the water is wet and very dangerous. He knows the barbecue was burny and the water in the bath can be too. So smart is our sandy.

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And Roslyn is coming along nicely too. After all her progress in finding her hands, batting her toys and rolling more last week she’s settled into a nice growth spurt these last few days and is feeding and sleeping a lot.

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After a short walk sandy was back at the park with his daddy. He loves being with both of us at the moment and as soon as one of us isn’t there he’s asking for them.

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Best daddy ever.

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After sitting on that… Um, thing… Both stuart and sandy had wet jeans. It looked like they’d wet themselves. Stuart didn’t care because sandy was happy. Good daddy. Sandy thought it was hilarious that they had matching wet patches to go with their matching t shirts.

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Such a fun loving chap. Last time we visited he was too small for most things, this time he was raring round, climbing, sliding and having great fun.

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Love a matching outfit day.

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Stuarts always telling me of the kind of dad he doesn’t want to be. He isn’t any of the things he worries about.

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And this happy daddy’s boy is the proof of that.

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Swinging with my babes.

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I love these summer mornings where the heat grows and dew dries and it’s still and promising. I’m going to be quite sad to see them go.

Another New Home

My brother finally managed to get the keys to his new house. It is brilliant, I mean, just look at those doors!

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It’s the whole length of his living room, open! So beautiful, bringing the outside in.

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We popped by this morning to see the house. Sandy and I helped jamie pick the colours of his kitchen, bathrooms and floors as I was heavily pregnant with Roslyn. It was fab to see them all in situ.

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Roslyn, thoroughly impressed.

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Who’s got two thumbs and a new pad?!

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Sandy loved the place so much that he got too excited to bother stepping over the doorway out and fell flat on his face. Three times.

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It’s hard to think about practicalities when there are diggers though! Or tractors, as he is calling all large wheeled objects that aren’t cars. Here he is checking out a “tractor” from upstairs.

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He made himself right at home. Probably because it’s similar to our home being a new build, oh and totally awesome!!

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Roslyn even fell asleep so she was clearly very at ease too.

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Then she woke up though and was the life and soul.

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“Mummy, tacta! MUMMY! TACTARRRRRR!”

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As a side note this one is getting too big for her boots these days? Where did my newborn go?!

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So Jamie was getting his sky put in as we left to go the post office with bribes of sweets for good behaviour (aka not running into the middle of the road and/or thieving pancakes without paying) and home for naps. But he’s moving the majority of his stuff in this weekend so I can’t wait to see it totally furnished. Congratulations JIM!

Seamill

When I was young we went to Seamill. We went to Seamill every year. The earliest I remember it is around the age of six but I was there at five months old, sabotaging the whole stay as young babies tend to do. We would arrive midweek and stay two nights. There was a familiar routine to the visits and it would be weird if there hadn’t been, which makes sense if you know my family.

We’d arrive for lunch and head for the check in. It used to be situated through the turning doorway which was later replaced by a modern extension which, as we found out yesterday, has altered once more now. We would see if the rooms were ready and they inevitably were not, which also makes sense if you know my family and their consistency in earliness. So we headed through the hotel, jumping on the carpet with emblems of the letters S and H combined (Seamill hydro) as we ran our way past the Arran room (where children’s high tea was held), the kids crèche room, and to the swimming pool where we invariably ended up, watching with anticipation. We would be dragged past to the Pladda Bar, the lounge bar where, upon “our” sofa, my grandparents would be sitting, waiting. Our aunts might have been there too. We would order lunch and my granddad and I would match with roast beef sandwiches. Yesterday I ordered them again, an ode to him. It means a lot to bring my children here. My family has been going to the same hotel since my mother was young, so probably for around fifty years. So for the first time I brought Sandy and Roslyn. I ate the beef sandwiches, and Sandy preferred ice cream.

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Roslyn slept while we ate and my mum ran after mr ice cream mania man. He spotted the beach and was transfixed, remembering our Troon visit.

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Three whole scoops for my man. And he spat out the single slice of strawberry, realising it wasn’t pure sugar and would harsh his buzz.

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We all wore our nautical stripes.

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And here he is, my son, only two weeks from two, running down the same halls, oohing at the same pool where so many childhood memories linger. For me, my mum, my grandmother too.

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We played outside and he spotted the beach again right away.

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A more accurate depiction of a typical Scottish beach day for mr corkscrew hairdo.

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He chased his aunt fran while Roslyn lounged inside with aunt lib and granny.

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So, like I say, it means a lot for them to be here. I want to make it a yearly thing again, a stay over for two nights like we used to, once I can afford it again. I want to be letting sandy and Roslyn get into the pool the minute those sandwiches are wolfed. I want them to eat their dinners in the Arran suite and play at the games room as we dine in the main restaurant. I want the visit to Largs and the proverbial coffee at the bean and leaf, ice cream at nardinis and orange and lemon slices. Amusements and the one where the horses race. More swimming, early in the morning, giant breakfasts and walks on the beach. In the rain. Always in the rain.

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Yesterday we drove from torrents of the stuff but when we arrived it was merely overcast. It stayed that way through lunch and as sandy played. We walked down those well worn steps to the beach and as sandy’s feet his the sand and he squealed with delight the first drops fell.

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This picture was taken and the heavens opened and we legged it back to shelter.

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Not having time to make it to the hotel we hid under a gazebo. Sandy found the whole running from the rain thing the height of hilarity.

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We waited for it to pass but it didn’t.

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Sandy escaped and lib, who sensibly packed a jacket, ran after him.

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He came back down a welly. There’s something about this place, making me reminisce. I remembered back to being in my garden with Jamie, a torrential downpour and us two allowed to go wild in our pyjamas as mum and dad watched from the conservatory, laughing. The kind of memories that are so special, I want him to have them too. We ditched the other welly and he went for it.

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I love being able to give him freedom to play. Why should he care if it’s raining?

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If it hadn’t been for Roslyn – who was already damp enough for only 10 weeks old – I would have joined him. Luckily his aunt lib is a good sport.

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And so is aunt fran who retrieved his lost welly, soaking herself in the process. We retired to the pool changing rooms and got towels despite not being guests. Sandy was cuddled in as he got a bit on the blue tinged side by now. He was so happy.

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It’s just a place. Just a hotel complex on the beach in Scotland. Nothing too special but to me it’s incredible. I can’t wait to go back for a proper stay over to build up this memory bank for my two.

Commonwealth at George Square

We are properly gearing up for the games here now. Stuart had to get a haircut in town so we took a jaunt to George square to check out the commonwealth on goings.

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We spotted some new murals in our old bit. It seems crazy that sandy lived there for 8 months but doesn’t remember anything of it!

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Raaarrrrr!

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Big boy loves to push his own buggy.

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We took some photos at the big logo. It was a nice thing… People were queuing up beside it letting each other get shots in, waiting their turn. No official coordination required. It’s funny how orderly and civilised us humans can be.

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Sandy was so good, he waited patiently for his turn then stood where I asked him to for the picture.

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Then I pointed out stuart and asked him to wave to daddy and he did.

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Then I asked for a kiss and he kissed me. Such a sweet sweet boy.

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We then took a walk in the big merch tent and got some commonwealth clobber for the three of us, annoyingly there weren’t any baby items for Roslyn, boo! Sandy got a bit antsy in there so I took him out while stuart paid and he saw all the “caw caws” (pigeons) and both laughed maniacally at them and freaked when they all flew past him at once.

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Rozzie woke up for a bit. She’s no longer the sleep all day newborn she was recently which is just crazy. Time flies when you’re having fun it seems…

Garden: June 2014

Everything was blooming here in June.

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The sweet pea snow drift became an avalanche that didn’t respond too fondly to being tied back up!

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We’ve finally tackled the drainage issue in this part of the garden by digging a trench and filling it with guttering and gravel to try and funnel away excess rainfall to the field behind us. We’ve yet to have a massive rain to test it but after a wet day yesterday it seemed to help!

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Here we have the gooseberries starting to ripen. It’s going to be a small crop so I think I will make crumble out of them.

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As for the brambles, they will be added to more picked from the hedgerows in September and if I have enough there shall be jam! My mother in law adores my jam so I’m hoping to try and make several different flavours to test for her – and the rest of my jam loving friends and family.

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My sweet peas were so successful this year because of them being planted at the end of summer last year. So as they start to make seeds I will be planting again for a head start on next year and hoping for not too much frost so they survive!

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Sandy has been enjoying the strawberries in the garden. It’s only a tiny crop because I planned on getting as strawberry barrel but didn’t yet. He goes up to the border and points saying “strawb…in there” and wants to eat the green ones when all the ripe ones are gone!

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We’ve got some summer colour too now with these lovely Californian poppies and morning glories.

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And the nasturtiums have joined the party too.

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The lawn is improving too though I really need to keep on top of mowing it!

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And the veg garden is in full swing.

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I took out the spinach as it had gone a bit mental and I wasn’t keeping on top of it.

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I love having a kitchen full of plants too.

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My pepper plants have yielded fabulously!

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And the tomatoes aren’t far behind. I’m really looking forward to hopefully having a greenhouse next year to make a bumper crop as I only have a couple of plants here and there just now.

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This chilli plant is amazing. I bought it last year and it made loads of chillies and then kept producing all winter and is in full swing again now having been potted up and well fed.

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The fig plant never got potted up so I will do that at the end of summer, for now it has a few figs coming.

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My favourite part of having a blooming garden is being able to have fresh cut flowers in every room of the house for free!

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The roses out front have bloomed too.

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This is Roslyn’s peace rose, with her caul planted under it.

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The other day I pulled up the first of my early potatoes. We had them with olive oil and fresh herbs… Delicious!

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So as you could see the side still needs done but it was put on the back burner to get the drainage issue sorted. Other than that all I plan for July is to maintain the growth and eat the produce! Hooray!

Sleep Deprivation

So you got pregnant and you were in that whole ‘I’m so jazzed I’m having a baby eeeee!’ place then someone (your long suffering mum, a bleary eyed colleague, the woman serving you in mamas and papas as you get confused over car seats…) says one of the following to you:

“Make the most of sleeping now! You won’t ever sleep again!”

“Mine didn’t sleep through til he was three…”

“Babies don’t read the books… You are going to be soooo tired”

Think back to that moment? What was your response? Your real response I mean, the thought in your head and what you uttered with your partner later, not the vague mmmm you said to get the person to shut up and stop ruining your oxytocin buzz. You probably thought it wouldn’t be like they say didn’t you? You thought, it won’t be that bad, you would cope fine, you probably thought of that day you had to work a full shift after getting home from a night out at 4am right? I know I did. How stupid I was.

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I guess there is nothing you can actually say though. I remember the ferocity with which people with children already imparted advice, warnings, general tales of woe to me when I was pregnant. It pissed me off to be sure. Why were they so set on bringing me down? Why did they want to scare me? I thought they were just spiteful, but I see now that they were trying desperately to warn me. Sadly, I don’t think there are any ways to word the reality of infant sleep – or the lack thereof – that could penetrate the pregnant glow manifesting itself as a self protecting ignorance to all reality. There have been countless times that I have thought of something that’s been happening in relation to the raising of my babies where I remember in the fogs of time some poor soul telling me that the exact thing that was going down was going to happen, and just how crap it would be. And I remember me mentally taking the piece of paper the advice was hypothetically scrawled upon and scrunching it up tight into a little ball and flicking it away before carrying on my merry first time pregnant way. Sigh.

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So yeah, there’s not much to be said for blogging on how to survive the sleep loss that WILL come from having a baby. But with the hindsight of being through the other side with sandy (inasmuch as he isn’t a baby anymore, not that he sleeps!) and having found the same stuff soooo much easier second time round with Roslyn, I want to just mush together some truths and coping mechanisms, more for posterity and for the mums out there reading this nodding along, because I sure as hell know a first time pregnant woman is seeing this, laughing, shrugging and going back to researching which cot to buy, totally unaware that said item will be the one place that baby will NOT sleep in.

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Newborn sleep, a handy 5 point anecdotal guide by me:

1: the first day or two of your baby’s life it will sleep pretty much all the time. You will find yourself very quickly thinking “this isn’t so bad!” Don’t think it! THIS IS A TRAP! Give then another 24 hours and you are going to be sitting there feeding for the NINTH HOUR WITHOUT A BREAK sobbing over that little scrap that just won’t stop being awake.

2: when your newborn does sleep it will sound like a plane starting to take off. Every few minutes. You lay that precious miniscule thing down and then start to doze off when “BLLLARRRGRHHHWAAHHEEEERRGHHHHHAAAHHHHH!” Then you look in the cot and, what the? They’re still asleep? Crazy. Lather rinse repeat on a cycle every five minutes until the end of time. Newborns are noisy sleepers.

3: you know how you got warned about the baby blues? Well the reason they are just so potent isn’t just that you are going to through a mental hormone withdrawal while your milk comes in, it’s that all that is happening right around your fourth night of being utterly sleep deprived and exhausted and it’s pretty much your breaking point. My advice is as soon as that baby is out SLEEP. Like, the cord is cut and you are waiting on that placenta impatiently so you can get into bed and sleep. Grab that little one and get those zzzs in. I spent the first night of sandy’s life so high from the birth that I didn’t sleep, I just stared at him and went online to see if anyone else had liked that picture I put out there. What a stupid, stupid person I was. So every living moment from the birth for the first three days where the baby isn’t awake, focus on resting.

4: babies sleep better in your bed. Sorry but it’s true. Without getting into debates about co sleeping, it’s an evolutionary truth that babies need to be on you. Like, all the time. Your going to be getting them into a nice deep sleep, warm that Moses basket with a hot water bottle and lay them down on one of your smelling of mum t shirts and they will lie still for a moment and you can bet as soon as your head hits that pillow they will realise MUMMY IS GONE! GET HER BACK NOW! Because that’s what they do so that you don’t ditch them. So the sooner you accept that the better.

5: go to bed early. Don’t argue with me, just do it. The best stretch is the first one they do so what the hell are you doing being awake during it? Log those three plus hours and you’re set. I mean it.

So yeah, newborn sleep is tough. You can’t prepare for it and it is going to floor you and then you have your second and you are so used to being up all the time that you don’t even notice it. True story.

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Look at them? Like butter wouldn’t melt. I’ll tackle more sleep problems as they arise, and if Roslyn’s anything like her big bro there will be a lot to talk about.

Slowing Down

Things have been mental of late. A whirlwind of warm weather, days out and all round good times. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been loving it. As my last post indicated, soon I will have to think about more serious things and not the joys of staying home with my babies all day, but for now I’m making the most of it.

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We’ve slowed down a little this week. Spending more time in the house, playing and coaxing Roslyn into a snooze.

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Honestly I’m not sure what to do with her routine-wise. She’s such a chilled little sausage. Part of me reckons there is little point in messing with plans and routines until she’s a) sleeping consistently at night and b) past the four month sleep regression phase. For now I am just trying to get her to nap at the same time as sandy each day and go to bed before 9pm.

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Things have been pretty poor sleep wise for this little lad recently. We were really working on getting him to sleep through consistently before Roslyn but since she came he’s been up at least once a night and often more than that.

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Part of the problem comes from his fussy eating. Well, I say fussy eating, it’s not that he’s fussy about food, he’s just wilful about getting told to eat things so getting him to a place where he wants to eat a full meal of nutritious food is hard going and usually involves an hours worth of coaxing and a LOT of patience. It’s hard going when trying to juggle a baby in the fussy evening phase too. So some nights he is going to bed unfed because he decided the dinner must’ve been poisoned. Or because I told him he couldn’t have ice cream. Sigh.

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Then he wakes up 30 mins after he goes to sleep starving and needs milk, and then more milk in the night. His poor daddy is up and down all night to him. On the odd night Roslyn sleeps a long spell (she did 6 hours one night!) we don’t even get to enjoy it because sandy will be up. We are going to be working on dinners more and more now to try and weigh him down before bed. Another problem is he’s moved to his big boy bedding – which he loves – in preparation for his new bed he’s getting for his birthday. The problem is he keeps losing his dummy in the sheets or out the cot as I took the bumpers out, so wakes up crying for it. We do plan on irradiating the dummy at Christmas but it doesn’t help in the meantime! I suppose at least because we are up in the night with Roslyn anyway we don’t notice it as much. First time around the sleep deprivation and constant wakings totally broke me, this time I haven’t even noticed it. I guess that’s what happens when you get used to something.

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In other news I’ve been redecorating both sandy and Roslyn’s rooms step by step. No big overhaul just some changes. Sandy’s room used to be red and green with the apple print in the pictures here but I’ve decided to go with “up in the sky” as a theme featuring clouds, hot air balloons, planes and stars. He’s obsessed with stars and the clouds look like cars so he’s pretty happy so far.

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I’ve totally surprised myself with what I can still achieve with two in tow. I got Roslyn sleeping in her Moses basket and sandy playing with water in the bathroom and was able to stencil his wall. Photos will follow but here’s a sneak peak…

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As for Roslyn’s room I have painted one wall the same shade of blue as her bird fabric and plan on making a silver birch tree motif in white on it to complete her bird theme room.

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I’ve spent today painting wooden bird houses for the wall and have plans involving bird cages and nests too.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m actually currently on the couch with Roslyn, getting over a bout of mastitis. Holy moly, it comes on fast. I mean, I always knew it was meant to, but I went from totally fine to floored with flu symptoms in an hour. Crazy. So I’m going to go and chill with my little lady but enjoy a few other happy moments from our week. I’m really loving life right now with my perfect family.

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What To Do

There have been a lot of picture filled posts recently and few words. It’s a sign that things are great here, where days are taken up on outings in good weather and there is little time to elaborate when updating the blog. So I let the pictures do the talking. But there is one thing that I can’t let the pictures do the talking about and that’s my career, or lack thereof. There are no pictures because there is nothing happening.

Let me elaborate. I’m currently doing a PhD in history. Or not, as the case may be. I left school at 17 as you do and went to university in Glasgow where I studied for five years to get my degree. A first in history and politics. I was ecstatic and couldn’t believe my time studying was ending, it just didn’t feel like it was time to stop and get a job. So I applied and was successful in getting a funded masters in research which I completed and graduated with the year later. A masters is the first step towards a PhD which I applied for and very very luckily got funding for too. I was loving my academic life and had my eyes set on a long term goal of becoming a lecturer and researcher at a university, making history my all.

I don’t know that I ever thought too much about having children. Stuart and I started going out in my first year of university and got married the year I got my degree. But by the time I finished my masters we somehow both came to the conclusion that – though risky – we were ready to start a family. Of course I underestimated all that it entailed and just how much it would change me. At the time I’d have told you that it wouldn’t be a big deal and even if you asked me in the early months of sandy’s life I’d have said I was coping fine. Turns out I wasn’t coping fine, not with the work, that was ok because I had worked very hard whilst pregnant to get some breathing space, but rather with motherhood. I loved being a mum but unbeknown to me I was suffering with PTSD as well as the earth shattering lifestyle changes which only happen when accustoming yourself to life as new parent. Anyway, I struggled on, told myself that the work wasn’t the problem as I realised what was and as I recovered from the traumas of the prior year I began to lull myself into a false sense of security.

I don’t know what delusions made me think having our second in the final year of my PhD would work out. Actually, if I’m honest, I think I knew there was a large chance it wouldn’t. But you know what? Becoming a mother changed me. It changed my priorities. In some ways it made me more selfish, not for myself but on behalf of my family. I wanted two children, I wanted them close in age, and I wasn’t working. It seemed like an incredible opportunity to finalise our perfect family while I wasn’t working anyway. I knew I was jeopardising my so called career but I really didn’t care. I wanted my babies and we got them.

It sounds harsh. It wasn’t that harsh in reality though. I tired to keep working, I had every intention of doing so. I met with my supervisor and I agreed that since becoming a mother my goals had altered. I wasn’t cut out for academia long term. I would complete my PhD under his wing and he would retire in the October anyway then I could look for work with a great qualification. We agreed on a full draft before my due date and finalising over the summer for submission in October. But the morning sickness had taken it’s toll and I was further behind than I thought.

I can’t say my situation was met with much sympathy if I’m honest. In fact, ever since I had become pregnant with sandy I was out of favour at university. I was pushed out by their passive exclusion of me and left trying to navigate the murky waters of lonely research without any face time, let alone support. This continued and I had a horrible meeting in which I don’t believe I was treated appropriately. I mostly ignored it, since meetings were a rarity anyway. I was stronger then. But when it came to being four months pregnant with Roslyn and I was faced yet again with blow offs, getting hurried out of meetings with no advice, and finally a verbal lashing for my lack of effort, the straw on the proverbial camels back broke. I came out of that meeting in a daze and I called stuart. We were meant to be going for lunch after. It was near Christmas. I called him from my car. It was lashing hail. I picked him up and was too upset to drive home. He drove, I cried. All the way home.

I realised my mental health was on the line and with Stuarts support we decided to use some savings and I took a voluntary suspension from university. I haven’t seen my supervisor in person since then. I’ve been a stay at home mum. Sometimes I joke I’m a stay at home bum because I should be doing my PhD and earning my bursary, and I shouldn’t be having days where sandy is with his grandparents, but that’s more my own insecurity than reality. The truth is I love being at home. I love my children to pieces and I can’t imagine not raising them this way. If you’d told me at 17 that when I was 26 all I’d want to do is stay home with my children, playing, clean the house, take trips to the park and generally be a housewife I’d have laughed and laughed and laughed.

I’m meant to return to my PhD in October. I’m looking at our finances and considering September instead. All I need to do is get a letter from the doctor saying I’m fit to return and I can. I will get my bursary back. I won’t need to worry about my dwindling bank balance or pray for decent weather so I can take sandy to the park here and not have to drive to some indoor activity and spend more on fuel. I don’t want to exaggerate, we are in no way out of money, it’s just me not wanting to spend away our savings on silly things. So I’d have my income back but at what cost?

Everytime I think about my PhD I feel ill. I mean, I can think about the thing as a whole and what I’ve achieved so far okay but as soon as I consider what I still need to do my stomach lurches. The idea of meeting my supervisor again? It fills me with dread. We drove past the Mitchell library the other day and I wanted to vomit, because I’d done some research there previously. I keep telling myself that it will be ok once I get going, perhaps it will. Maybe I’m just holding onto the last emotion associated with it, that of terror and major upset. I don’t feel like I’m good enough. I was told as much before. That I don’t put the effort in, that I don’t know enough. I don’t have time to immerse myself in history. I don’t have time to read every book out there in full. I was practically ousted from the postgraduate ‘community’ by my supervisor anyway. That in itself is enough but adding six months of not writing or reading a word to the mix? It’s daunting. And it’s haunting me.

The other morning stuart was in the shower and I lay in bed in silence, feeding Roslyn. I looked at her little smooshy face and milk sucking and felt do much love for her. Sandy came over the monitor shouting “maaaammmeeee! Baaaba!” And I was thinking of my mums suggestion of child minding. She floated it months ago when I was a pregnant mess and I laughed about it. As I lay that morning it suddenly seemed like a very good idea. I really don’t know how practical it is though. I have two children so I don’t even know how many I could take? I don’t know that it would generate enough income. I just want to pay the bills and be with my children but how much is enough. There’s so much to think about. Now I’m catching myself constantly working out any situation where I could earn from home, anything to avoid the phd. I keep running scenarios out and none result in a safe plan in my mind. It always comes back to the security of that bursary. There is a sense of comfort that floods me, and then the dread returns.

I don’t know what I’m going to do but I have to decide in the next month or so. I just feel like there are so many barriers with every other avenue but the phd and the bursary are sitting right there, ready for me to jump back in. Except honestly? It’s the absolute last thing in the world I want. To many it seems insane to work for two years on something then give up at the last one, like I’m throwing away all my hard work. But for me it’s more emotional and it’s too hard to explain so I just hmm and wait. I will have to decide soon, who knows what’s going to happen. I said I would have my baby and enjoy summer with her and sandy and we are doing that. She’s seven weeks old today. But I feel it’s already Sunday and I’ve got school tomorrow. Goodness knows what’s going to happen on Monday. I just wish there was some other way out.

Commonwealth Games Torch Relay

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m getting a bit excited about the commonwealth games. Mostly because they are taking place where we live and we have tickets to see hockey and weightlifting. Not only that, we are going to see Belle and Sebastian performing on the opening night of the games at the newly renovated bandstand in kelvingrove park! Roslyn will be coming to all of these things to stay close to the boobs she won’t let go of, of course. We will also be taking sandy into town to see the festivities. It’s also the merchant city festival at the same time so plenty to do in July this summer for us!

To get into the spirit we went to Carluke to see the queen’s baton relay with the kiddos.

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Sandy was an Olympic baby. I laboured to the gymnastics, saw Bolt winning the 100m in the postnatal ward and watched the closing ceremony feeding him as a newborn. He also went to see the baton relay in Glasgow when he was still a bump. Roslyn is a commonwealth baby, born the same year as the games come to Glasgow so it was fitting that she got to see the baton. She wasn’t in utero like sandy had been but she did sleep right through it in the sling!

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The baton was scheduled for 10.10-11.55 but didn’t come until 11.45 so we spent the morning in Carluke playing in the park and eating ice cream.

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Finally the baton came and Sandy watched from his daddy’s shoulders.

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Hooray!

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And with that we headed home. Zzz. Bring on the games!