Monday, 8 April 2019

The end of my maternity leave

So this is it. The end of my maternity leave (which actually ended a month or so ago but I’ve had to take my annual leave from last year too).

The guilt is REAL.

The sadness is REAL.

The anger and jealousy is REAL.

Everyone keeps telling me it’ll be fine, and once I’m there I’ll be ok.  But I just can’t believe them. I don’t want to leave my boy. 

Even when Matt gets home from work, I’m always with Harvey. I don’t pass him over, we spend time together. Yes, sometimes I feel like I need a little breather, but I just don’t like being apart from him. 

Unfortunately though, I need to go back to work. Just like the majority of parents going back to work I’m sure. I’m so grateful that I’m not going back full time, but it just doesn’t feel good enough at the moment. I work for the NHS, and my old hours meant I would have to cover 12 hour shifts depending on the office staffing... and that’s something I just can’t do anymore. I was fully prepared to quit and get a job in Costa or something if they couldn’t agree to my new hours, so I’m glad this isn’t something I have to think about at the moment. I’m grateful for my new hours, but also feeling guilty because even my new hours don’t feel good enough.

I know (well, I’m hoping!) that I’ll soon get used to it but it just doesn’t feel that way.

One positive thing about going back to work (other than the money ha) is that me and Matt are setting Harvey a good example. He’ll see both of us going to work and hopefully grow up with a strong work ethic like I did. 

No real point to this post other than to have a little moan and get this off my chest (it also saves the ears of people around me!)

Friday, 5 April 2019

Harvey’s first birthday

A letter to my one year old.

Harvey, you’re genuinely the best thing to happen to me and your daddy.

Being your mommy has been as easy as breathing. As though I have always been one but was just waiting for you to come along. 

You’ve come on so much in this year, and it has been an honour to watch you grow. You’ve learnt to walk confidently (and have been doing a lot of walking in the last 5 days). You’ve learnt to feed yourself, to clap, to do “superman” and so much more.

Your favourite toys are definitely your building blocks. Although your favourite thing to do with them is to put them away in your Thomas the Tank engine when mommy or daddy have tipped them all out. We had to take a break from you opening birthday presents because you were obsessed with your Thomas. 

You’ve just been fitted for your first Clark shoes! And you LOVE them. You like to carry them around and try and put them on your feet, or even on Donald Duck’s feet! 

You’re a little Tasmanian devil. Whenever you’re around your cousin Ryan, you’re constantly trying to play with him (or use him to pull yourself up!) Mommy has to be on constant watch to make sure you don’t grab Ryan too hard. You’re both mischievous, Ryan has just taught you to open the front room door so you can both escape! 

You love food! I’m very lucky you haven’t gone through a fussy stage yet. Please carry on being a good eater! Your daddy is very fussy, so I’m not sure how I’ll cope with two of you. Ha! Your all time favourite food so far is raspberry.

You love Peppa Pig, In The Night Garden and Mr Tumble. You also love any tv show that has music and you love to dance. 

Your all time favourite teddy is Donald Duck. Even when you was poorly when we went to Centre Parcs, you still had energy to cuddle Donald.

You have already had lots of costumes, and also photo shoots! You have your auntie Lucy to thank for this! She’ll also be the one who will no doubt help mommy make your future costumes amazing! Lots of world book days to come! 

You’re a little chatter box. Your first word was Mam. Mamamamama to be precise! You said it on Christmas Eve so it was the perfect present. You soon learnt to say dadadad which made your daddy very happy. 

Your first birthday was spent with the people who matter. You’re a real grandads boy, with graggy coming  a very close second! 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

100 days happy challenge

100 days happy challenge, let's give this a go again shall we?

I have a personal instagram account, but to be honest I don't really use it anymore. I loved that account, as it was my first account and was focused on things I loved (mainly disney). When I started my maternity leave, I thought now is my chance to start a blog. I've always wanted to write a blog (maybe even buying my Mac yeeeears ago as an excuse to write one) but I just never felt like I had anything interesting to write about.

Then I became a mom.

Now I'm THAT mom. I'll talk until the cows come home about anything to do with parenting, or babies or birth stories. Like hit me up! Tell me what your birth experience was like, I love hearing people's experiences.

So I started my mimblewimblemummy instagram account, and suddenly felt like I could post what I wanted because there was no one from my "real" life there. But slowly people started to find me and I started to feel like I had to adjust what I was posting. Nothing major, everything has been real.. but where before I'd have posted a picture of myself looking rough (let's face it, if you're a parent there are going to be days you do) now I had real followers I was wasting time doing make up when I didn't want to. That soon got old though, so now I post what I like again (most the time, I'm still human and have bad days).

I was scrolling through my personal account and went deep (that's what he said). Suddenly I'm looking at photos before I'm married, photos of my nephew as an actual toddler (the way I see him in my head) and just daily snippets that otherwise I would have totally forgot about. While I'm looking back through them... most of what I remember was a really happy time! Of course it wasn't all good back then, but what I can see is the good stuff. I had done the 100 days happy challenge, along with my bestie. You'd be surprised even the tiny happy things that happen on those "terrible" days that stress you out soo much. Now? Looking at those pictures? There's no way I can even remember if or what bad things happened!

My maternity leave finishes... well basically tomorrow while I'm typing this. Then I start next Tuesday (thankfully my new hours mean I don't work Mondays anymore and I couldn't be more grateful). I'm really not looking forward to it, obviously (anyone else read that word in Snape's voice? no? Just me? ok). I'm so lucky to be going back part time, so I'll be finishing at 1 so it's not too long away from my boy. But I just know, it's going to be so easy to focus on the negatives. The dramas, the stresses, the nights with no sleep and still having to get up and go to work.

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, basically I'm going to do the 100 days happy challenge again. I'm going to make an effort to notice the good things in my life. I'm going to let those moments build up until there are 100 days of happy moments I've experienced. I'm going to have bad days I know, but this will help me not to dwell on whatever is making it a bad day. It'll also help document new things Harvey is doing, like a diary. I have a diary, but I just always forget to get it out. One quick photo will capture those moments. Why didn't I start this sooner?!

Our first Centre Parcs family holiday

How is our first family holiday over already?! I’m sitting at home not sure where the week has gone.

Just a quick warning, this is a long one. So if you want something lengthy to read with a cuppa, get yourself comfy.

We went to Centre Parcs after jokingly saying “shall we go to Butlins” back in January. After looking online we found the dates we wanted were actually cheaper at Centre Parcs, and we’d get our own cabin too. 

Matt won £100 on a scratchcard which was perfectly timed as Harvey had suddenly had a growth spurt. We popped to Next and picked up basically a new wardrobe for Harvey. We packed all this, along with mine and Matt’s things. I always used to love packing but it feels like we literally pack everything but the kitchen sink now! 

We were finally on the way, setting off when Harvey was due a nap so he’d sleep in the car. We drove past a little piggy farm on the way, I do love car journeys! 

As we came to the road leading up to check in, (you check-in in your car so it’s nice and convenient when you’ve got a cranky one in the back!)
We were a bit confused as there were A LOT of people driving out... I’m guessing there must have been a shift change because there was only one person in most cars.

We finally made it to our cabin, which was perfect for us for this trip but I do think we’d need a bigger one when we next go with Harvey. 

It was perfect location, just a 5-10 minute walk from the main villiage. We’d spent about half an hour studying the map figuring out which would be the best cabin, without spending ridiculous money (the closer you get the more you pay on top of the total price). We figured it was a good location so Harvey would be ok if he was a bit cranky (ha! Good job we thought ahead). 

We dumped our bags and thought we’d try our luck at one of the restaurants. We didn’t book anywhere in advance since we didn’t know how Harvey would be, whether napping late or if we’d want to do something else. I’d imagine if you went during busy periods you’d need to book, but we managed to get tables every time we walked in. 

Harvey had napped in the car, so what could go wrong? (Famous last words). We went for Hucks, their American themed restaurant. They really cater well for kids, which I suppose should be no surprise since it’s a big family holiday place. They have a children’s buffet, which as soon as you’ve been seated you can go and help yourself to. So no waiting for food to come and trying to keep the kids entertained! This is when we noticed Harvey just wasn’t right. He didn’t touch any of his buffet, and the waitress was so lovely she didn’t charge us for it. 

The waitress brought Harvey a balloon, which helped for a few minutes.

Me and Matt took turns walking Harvey round while the other ate, but sadly we just had to call it a day. 

We got back to the cabin, and although Harvey had slept most the way, he watched the swans for a bit and then just crashed out. But not before this insta-mom could get some amazing snaps! I mean, you see these sort of pics in the brochure but I didn’t expect to see it myself! 

This was the night we didn’t get to sleep until 4am. We think a combination of bad teething (his tooth had started to break the skin), constipation (from the teething) and a bit of a cold/cough. The poor boy just didn’t know where to put himself. We topped him up with calpol, teething oil and lactulose and he was finally comfy enough to sleep on Matt. We watched some random Disney tv (such a weird programme about a cartoon character using too much spot cream and becoming a raisin??) and then turned on the Apple TV and watched Rampage. Gotta love Dwayne Johnson! 

The next morning (which still started at 6am.. why do kids still wake up at the same time even without sleep?) Harvey woke up, still out of sorts. 

He struggled to eat breakfast, so we only managed to give him some strawberries and milk.

That day we were hoping to get out and about, and go swimming but Harvey was just too poorly. You can always tell when he’s not well because he will lie on mine or Matt’s chest. So we managed a little walk and a look around the village and then it was back to the cabin for cuddles and naps. He still had energy for Donald Duck cuddles though! 

The good thing about Centre Parcs is even when you’re in the cabin, there’s plenty of nature to watch. 
We became familiar with a pair of ducks, a park of geese and a pair of swans. All of whom like to knock the patio door with their beaks.

And these are just some of the wildlife that came to our patio!

The village square where all the restaurants and shops are, has a decent selection to be fair. 

One of the days we were walking through and we happened to see someone who we went to school with... what are the odds of that?? Of course this was on a day I had decided to go completely bare faced and hair shoved up. We were out in nature after all! I'm not going to lie, where I was feeling confident about going swimming before (because we didn't know anybody) I was more self conscious after this. I'm happy to say we didn't see them though.

I haven't been swimming since we went on holiday to Vegas, so getting into my swimming costume was a bit daunting. I've been following WW (used to be Weight Watchers) and I have to admit that I am feeling much better in myself. My costume now fits (thank goodness I didn't throw it away because that saved me some money not needing to buy a new one! I love when we go away though, as it means we crack out the special beach towels (I'm old, ok?) as I don't want to waste them haha!

During the week we tried again to eat out for lunch, this time at Bella Italia. Harvey seemed pretty cheerful, so we were optimistic. However, by the time our drinks came Harvey had already had enough. I tried to take him in the softplay area (really handy having these in the restaurants, isn't it?) but sadly it just didn't help. I wasn't able to just leave Harvey to crawl and wander around as there was another little girl in there (unsupervised) and I'd say she was about 6/7? She had one of the large toys in the middle of the (small) playarea and was literally running, jumping and bouncing off it in all directions. This didn't really help to be honest, as of course Harvey wanted to go right to her but I couldn't risk her not falling into him. The staff in Bella Italia were really understanding (I mean, they must be used to this sort of thing) and they boxed up our food when it was cooked (didn't even make it to the table).

We ate this in the cabin, while Harvey ate some raspberries and had a nap. Me and Matt watched (part of) a film, and then decided to go for a little walk when he woke up. That was one of the good things about Centre Parcs, while Harvey was feeling ok for a walk you could literally just walk out your door and you're straight into nature. No walking through complexes first.

On our last full day at Centre Parcs we managed to go to the Pancake House for breakfast. Matt had been most excited for this one, so although we lost pretty much half the holiday to Harvey being poorly, we still got to try most of the restaurants. Harvey only ate one strawberry and just played with the rest, but luckily it was enough to keep him enterained while we ate (along with a balloon - I never really got why restaurants gave kids balloons... now I get it haha).

 It looks out onto the lake and a little beach, which we'd found on our walks earlier in the week. We'd got Harvey out of his stroller (and his socks) so he could feel the sand on his feet. It was a nice bit of distraction for Harvey from feeling so rubbish, bless him. I have to admit that the staff at Centre Parcs are all so friendly, we were just in the queue at Starbucks and was just chatting to the server who was asking about Harvey. She gave him a pack of shortbread biscuits for free bless her.

We walked past SO many activites and things to do, so we know we'll definitely return again and if Harvey is around 2/3 there will be so much he can do.

Then just because I love a bit of foodporn, and to remember how amazing this breakfast was..

Yum! It was a-mazing. What made it better? Harvey was actually enjoying his breakfast so we all got to eat and enjoy a meal together! We didn't have to take turns or rush eating! We also shared an ice cream on our last day... which was just as good. (Sorry, but who doesn't love a bit of food porn haha)

Well done to you if you got this far! 10 points to whatever Hogwarts house you belong to haha!