My birth story

Everyone loves a good birth story so here is mine. In true still of all things that I do, it is incredibly late!
Baby Ethan, our youngest son, was born just before Halloween last year, via emergency c-section. It seems like with each child I have the labour gets a bit more dramatic and risky. I can only dream of the calm births with breathing techniques and the warmth of a birthing pool and steady build of contractions. I am actually laughing at the thought of this as  1) is this real? and 2) I am not that bloody lucky if it is a real thing! I haven't really written a birth story before and now I think of it I don't think I have actually read one either, so we will see how we go. 

I was admitted for a planned induction of labour at 38+3 as I have a pre-existing heart condition that was getting progressively worse as I neared the end of my pregnancy. I was of course overjoyed as I was so uncomfortable, my health was suffering and after two miscarriages in a row, it felt like a mi…

EHCP drama - an open letter to my local authority

Dear local authority,
My heart broke for my baby when I was told he had Autism, I felt a mix of relief to get a diagnosis for him and also sadness and loss for the childhood I thought he was going to have. He was just two years and four months old at the time, and all of a sudden we didn't know whether he would be able to make friends or whether he would be able to learn in a school, what if he could never talk? We were terrified of what the future held but also reassured because we know there is so much support out there for families and for children. There are specialist schools for autistic children and local authority funding for therapies and services. After all we are a developed country and we look after our vulnerable people, right?

Our little camping trip in Norfolk this summer!

This summer we went camping for the first time, a 7 month pregnant me, the husband and Conner who is never away from his xbox for longer than ten minutes, and Noah who is nocturnal. This was going to be interesting to say the least! First obstacle was the actual lack of camping gear we owned, so we borrowed a tent and some other camping paraphernalia. We had prebooked at a newly opened campsite in Wells-next-the-sea in Norfolk, Blue Skies Campsite if you fancy a nosey. It is a family run site, and this summer was their first season, not that you would tell. 

If I am honest I didn't quite know what to expect, and I had no idea what facilities to expect at a campsite. I imagined grim toilets and an old concrete shower block but I couldn't have been more wrong. When you arrive at the site you drive in a gated entrance and the reception is a caravan with information notices outside and contact numbers for the staff, the site is staffed from first thing in the morning until late at …

Our visit to Twycross Zoo this summer

As a family we love going on days out, but with Noah and his communication difficulties, it is always relatively stressful and requires careful planning on our part. We wanted to take him out somewhere after his 3rd birthday in July and decided that given his current interest in animals, a zoo would be the best bet. We had previously visited Twycross Zoo in East Midlands in 2014 and absolutely loved it! Actually when it came to writing this post I realised that my blog picture was actually taken there when we visited in 2014. From our memory of our visit we particularly liked that the zoo covered such a vast space and it didn't feel particularly busy so we decided to make a return visit. We booked our tickets online which saved us a few pennies and while we printed our receipt off, the staff there are happy for you to provide them with your booking reference if you don't have a printer. 

As you enter the zoo using the entrance pictured above, there is a large indoor complex wit…

For the crappy days (literally)

We are all guilty of editing our lives and putting a filter over things, sharing a snapshot of how perfect and lovely we want people to think our lives are. Since being a mum this is definitely something I do much, much more. Taking pictures of our darling children the first day of term, usually in front of the door where there is no mess, or putting mushy statuses on facebook about how wonderful our children are and what a dream they are to look after. And of course not forgetting the adorable (filtered) pictures on instagram that were actually the best of 20 snaps where they weren't smiling or even looking. 
Not all parents are brave enough to bare all about how being a mum or dad can be really crappy work, meant in the descriptive and literal sense. I think it is fair to say we have all had the pleasure of dealing with a 'poonami' you know, the one where your small baby does a poo and it goes all up their backs, down their legs and sometimes even in their hair. That is p…

Family expansion by 1

This post has been sat in my drafts for months, in February we found out that we were pregnant with our rainbow baby. A rainbow baby is a baby that comes after a loss, or a number of losses. With our previous pregnancies we have always told our friends and family very early on, and then have had to call around and give the sad news that our baby had died these last two pregnancies in 2014 and 2015. I am an advocate of sharing your news before 12 weeks because as hard as it is to have to call your loved ones and tell them, it is easier when they are let in to your grief. Some people may not know how to support you, but some will and it is in these testing times you find that those that really care, will stick around. They will make you a cup of tea and ask you how you feel, how your heart is healing and if there is anything they can do, most importantly they will acknowledge your loss. 

Transforming our small garden

I spent all of last summer moaning about how much my garden depressed me, all of last winter planning what we would do to improve it, all of spring saying "we really must do something about that garden" and the other half (the manual labour half) 2 days of graft - and a lot of sunburn - to actually get it done. It was literally a neglected square of weeds and the odd blade of grass, dirt patches and a greying fence. I didn't take proper 'before' photos, this is just one on my phone that I sent to a friend when she insisted that my garden couldn't be as bad as hers, point proven I think and you can see why I hated it so much, nowhere decent for the children to play, although the trampoline is used, the kids just have to head up the path and traipse through the weeds!

Our garden is fairly small so we had to think carefully about how to make the most of the space we had. Originally we just wanted all grass, but didn't know quite what we would do to stand the …