A Mothers Ramblings: August 2009

Monday, 31 August 2009

The Yummy Mummy with No Tummy Challenge - Week Two!

The Yummy Mummy with no Tummy Challenge LogoLast Thursday I spent the day with my ever so slender sister. Whilst we were sitting feeding our gaggle she mentioned that she hadn't read anything here for the last week or so as she hadn't had a chance to get to the Library (she doesn't have a connection at home) and had she missed anything major.

"Well actually yes" I said "You missed me telling the world how much I weigh."
"You didn't?" she said
"Yes I did" I said
"Wow!" she said
"Wow indeed" I said
Later she was having a look at Twitter and saw a post from Rainbow Jelly

A Tweet from Rainbow Jelly and clicked on the link.
"What have you done?" she asked me
"What do you mean?" I asked wrestling with Baby Cousin for control of my face
"This Woman has taken what you said to heart and some" she said
I lent over and read the post
"Wow" I said
"Wow indeed" she said "That is one brave woman"
"One brave woman indeed" I said

You see Rainbow Jelly has posted a picture of herself as she is now, in her undies and she isn't the only one at it Shutter Betty has done the same.

It made me realise that this challenge isn't just about me, or a bit of blog fodder, or something which I start and then don't carry on, but it is real and it effects real people that I am beginning to know and have come to love.

I just want to tell you all how proud I am that you agreed to go on this journey with me and we can all move forward to be in the best of health and to be a Yummy Mummy!

So last week I encouraged you to write a post acknowledging that you have accepted the Yummy Mummy with No Tummy Challenge and to explain why you are taking part in the challenge and if you wanted to give us some facts on your figures!

This week I am going to encourage everyone to start keeping a food diary. A food diary is a good way of becoming more aware of your eating and activity habits and helps you make a conscious choice about what you eat and when.
For example here is a small extract from mine;
An extract of my food diary

Sometimes we will eat things without even thinking about it, such as the grapes I had with Baby Boy at 5pm, but by keeping a note of it we can look and see if there are habits that need amending or if our diet is actually quite well balanced!
You can do it online if you want at the following sites that I have found



Or you can do it is a small notebook you carry around or even in an excel spreadsheet like me! Just try to do it as you are going along as it gets very hard to remember what you ate after you have eaten it!

Now on to an extract from my activity diary. I only record sustained activity of ten minutes or over;An extract from my exercise diary

This way I can see that I am actually making time in my diary to exercise, and I find that I will actually go out of my way to to do a bit more just so I can write it down!

The one thing that I do want everyone to do (and it will only take a minute) is to work out how many calories that you should be eating daily. A good way to do it is to look here;

You know you have to burn 3500 calories to lose 1lb of body fat, and if you are eating more calories than you need you will need to work even harder to get the figure that you want. By keeping a food and activity diary for a week and looking at how many calories we should be eating, I am sure that next week we will find reaching our goals a little easier :)

Now if you are still with me and are up for a challenge, how about making sure that this week you do a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise a day? This could be walking to the shop, running up and down the stairs, dancing with your children, practising making more children (!), anything that gets your heart rate up.
Because the calories that you will burn off whilst doing this activity will either make up for eating too many calories or go towards that magical 3500 calories needed to burn 1lb of body fat!

Please visit each of the blogs listed below to show your support to them too and to maybe find a little inspiration!

Rainbow Jelly @ Rainbow Jelly Ramblings
Shutter Betty @ A Shutter Betty Blog
Amy @ And 1 more means 4
Tina @ Tales from Tina

And if you want to join in then its not too late, you don't have to be a Mummy to a young child, you can be a Mummy to a fur baby (Dogs and cats to those not in the know!) or just a wannabe yummy with no tummy! Please leave a URL link to your post in the comments below and I will update this post with your URL and you will automatically be listed next week.

Its been one week since you looked at me (said the Scales)

Okay so please look away if you have just eaten or are just about to eat. You don't want to look at this on an empty stomach, or a full stomach for that matter!
Here are pictures of me as I was last week. And whatever you do don't click on them as these will pop up to a huge size and you don't want to be blinded!
Picture of me in my underware from the frontPicture of me in my underware from the sidePicture of me in my underware from the back
Notice the saggy breasts, the thunder thighs, the saddle bags, the extra spare tyres or four, the extra chins and the bingo wings, the big butt, and I am sure there are plenty of other features that I could point out and you can pretend to be too polite to notice. Please can you really do you best to ignore the overly large Bridget Jones Knickers and the large over the shoulder Breast feeding Boulder holder!

I have spent a lot of time looking at the images and it doesn't get any easier to look at. It does make me realise that love is blind too as I am sure that my husband doesn't notice or there is no way that we would have kids!
The important part of the challenge this week was to find out how many calories I should consume if I want to lose 2lb a week. I choose a 2lb a week loss because I have so much to lose to start with and as I am sure you know the heavier you are the easier it is (apparently) to lose weight in the beginning.

The answer for me was 2549 calories. I eat roughly 2500 a day because I was already aware of this figure! It has been said via DM on Twitter that my daily meal plan didn't seem to have the right amount of calories. This is because I hadn't put in snacks, some drinks (such as squash) and the occasional sweet treat (such as a bit of chocolate) and this brings my calorific values right up.

Now if you remember my weight last week was 19st 4lbs and my weight today is 19st 4lbs. That's right I didn't lose any weight at all not a single lb and this is where the other part of the homework comes into play

As I already carry out the food diary I am pleased to say that I can see what I consume and if anything is amiss. Looking at what I ate this week, I ate just over or just under 2500 calories a day. There wasn't anything that I could of done food wise to have helped me lose weight.

Looking at my activity diary I can see that my activity is quite steady, but that I probably need to make more time for longer high intensity work outs. I only tend to do these every other day as time is an issue with Baby Boy and Top Ender and working from home and trying to keep the house in a reasonable order!

And there is no time to moan about last week, time to look forward and spring into action! So here is my meal plan for this week;
Meal Plan

Breakfast: Bowl of Bran Flakes with semi-skimmed Milk and a slice of toast.
Lunch: Sandwich with fruit or left overs from the night before.
Monday: Roast Chicken and Vegetables and Roast Potatoes
Tuesday: Home Made Pizza
Wednesday: Soup and Cheese Toasties
Thursday: Jacket Potato and beans
Friday: Chicken Kiev and Vegetables
Saturday: Steak and wedges
Sunday: Spaghetti Bolognese
My exercise plan is going to stay mostly the same with an hour on the Wii everyday but I am going to make them all high intensity, ten or fifteen minutes on weights each day and I will try include the extra 15 minutes I have challenged everyone else to!
I hope everyone else had a better week than I did and here is to success next week!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Baby Boy Giggles - I like to be naked!

"Top Ender have you moved Baby Boys' nappy?" I asked
"No" she called from upstairs
"Nappy nappy?!" called Baby Boy looking under the sofa
"Baby Boy, did you hide your nappy?" I asked
"Noooooooooooooooooooooo" said a suspicious looking Baby Boy
"Fine a naked bum then, as that nappy has to come off!" I said
"BUM!" shouted Baby Boy

I carried on looking for the Nappy though and found it in the toy box, along with the remote control, a pack of wet wipes and a cat!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Yummy Mummy with No Tummy Challenge

The Yumm Mummy with No Tummy Challenge Logo
Just a reminder to all those who have agreed to be part of the Yummy Mummy Challenge, I need links to your first post about why you are joining in and you might want to include the following;
*What your motivation is
*The day of the week you will weigh yourself and if you can, the time too!
*Your Weight and Measurements, but don't feel that you have to!
*Your Long term weight goal
If you are feeling brave then you might want to include a "before" photo of yourself...
If you can post the URL in the comments field it would be great as that way I can make sure that you are included in the round up on Monday and also part of a special reward system the details of which will be revealed soon!

I have a TV Stalker

Before Top Ender was Top Ender our bedtime routine had a slot for watching Bear in the Big Blue House. If you have never seen it, then you won't know that a couple of minutes in Bear sniffs you through the TV screen and then normally says something like;

"Whats that smell? Oh! Its you!"

Bear in front of his Big Blue HouseAnd then he says something like

"Tell me did you just have toast with honey on it? Cos you smell sweet like honey"

It all got a bit weird however and I even commented on it to a co-worker. Bear in the Big Blue House was stalking me. Yup, you read that right a character from a TV programme started stalking me and it wasn't just me being paranoid.

On the first day I noticed that he was following me he sniffed me and then he told me I smelt like the beach. I had got back from Nanny B's that day and one of the last things I had done was walk on the beach.

On the second day, I thought I would confuse him and so I had a bath and he sniffed me and told me I smelt clean and like bubbles. I haven't felt comfortable sitting on the sofa in my pajamas since.

On the third day, we had been swimming and I still had that chlorine smell about me, as I like that smell and didn't want to shower it off until the last possible second. He told me I smelt fresh like a swimming pool.

On the fourth day, I ran in from the kitchen brandishing a knife as I was busy carving a pumpkin for Halloween, and he told me I smelt spicy and sweet like a slice of pumpkin pie.

I think I scared him into backing off by brandishing the knife as on the fifth day he didn't sniff the chocolate I had been rolling around in and said that I smelt of grass... I figured he knew I was on to him.

Every so often I will tune into Bear in the Big Blue House, with a morbid curiosity to see if my stalker is still watching me by sniffing something that he would only know he could smell if he had been following me all day and you know what? I think he has forgotten that I know how to brandish a knife...

Friday, 28 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - Word play

"Mummy can't you make the picture of us on the top of the blog be oldest to youngest?"
"No, I like it this way Top Ender"
"Because this way Daddy and I are stopping you and Baby Boy running away!"
"But I could run towards you" she reasoned
"No you couldn't as you only have a head!" I came back with
"Guess I will have to head off then won't I?"

Top Ender won this time...

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Six B's - a motto to live my life by

The Spin Cycle Logo
Every week I look forward to reading the entries of the spin cycle over at Sprite's Keeper this week the theme is Motto's and I decided to jump in.

I know a lot of motto's and use a lot in my life. Some I try to live by and some I use as an excuse or as a joke, but only one of them has ever caused any real difference in my life and I started using it nearly nine years ago.

The Six B's were taken from a talk given by President Gordon B Hinkley in November 2000, and I remember sitting, with my Fiancé sitting next to me, listening to this wise man talking to us (via Satellite) and knowing that we were listening to something special.

The Six B's are;

1. Be grateful.

2. Be smart.

3. Be clean.

4. Be true.

5. Be humble.

6. Be prayerful.

To me they don't need explaining but just for you, here is my understanding of them.

1. Be grateful - I always try to say Thank you to those around me, to let them know that I appreciate what they have done and do for me. I don't think I have said it to you recently though. So thank you for reading my blog and for the comments you leave me. It means a lot to me.

2. Be smart - I do try to improve my knowledge. At the moment I am learning HTML and C++, I am trying to improve my Italian and French and of course every time I read your blog I have to go and look up at least one word that I have never heard of before...

3. Be clean - Not only do I try to keep myself modestly dressed, and well groomed but I try not to swear or think bad thoughts (although a few pop in about my Dad now and again) and I try so hard to think of my body as holy and so I will not eat the chocolate donut the next time I am tempted, even if I do bless it first and ask for it to nourish my body.

4. Be true - I know who I am and what I stand for, I know what I believe and what I think is right and I try to make sure that this is obvious by my actions and my words... but just in case you didn't know I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I am not afraid to admit it!

5. Be humble - This is one of the hardest for me. To let myself know that it is okay to admit that I don't know everything and that it is knowing this that lets me know everything just seems so confusing!

6. Be prayerful - I can't do this alone. I can't be the best I can be, I can't live the life that I need to live or teach my children the things that I need to teach them without help and so I pray and ask for this help and it is given to me. I ask for help and answers for a lot of things and I always get an answer. Sometimes it isn't what I expected, but I always get an answer.

So I guess I could say that those twelve words sum up how I try to live my life and I don't think that they are a bad set of twelve words to live by either!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Wordless Wednesday - What happens when Daddy and Top Ender play in the Garden

Top Ender with Baton So I twiddle it between my fingers?
Top Ender twirling Baton Are you sure I am supposed to let go?
Top Ender dancing with the Baton Can't I just sort of wave it around a bit?

Daddy balancing the baton Its all about Balance Top Ender

Daddy balncing the baton on one finger See on one finger!
Daddy having tossed the baton in the air And you gently toss it in the air...

Daddy waiting for the Baton to fall back down Watching out for low flying birds of course

Daddy smiling having caught the baton And catch it again!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Yummy Mummy with no Tummy Challenge!

Well yesterday, I let you in on my Big Secret and thanks to the wonderful support left in the comments and on Twitter, I decided to make this;
The Yummy Mummy with No Tummy Challenge
Thats right, I'm starting a challenge for all us who want to look and be our best and I really want you to join in with me!

In order to join in you need to leave a comment after this post and write a post over at yours about why you are going to join in with this.

You might want to add the following to your post;

*What your motivation is
*The day of the week you will weigh yourself and if you can, the time too!
*Your Weight and Measurements, but don't feel that you have to!
*Your Long term weight goal

Each week on Monday, if you can post your weight loss figure into my comments and a link to your post and then I will update the rest!

I am going to be looking for a Guest Poster or two as I am sure that my ramblings each week on why I only lost 1/2lb will get pretty boring and I think it will do good for all of our motivations too if we can see what others are up to!

Why not subscribe to us via our RSS feed? Or how about using these buttons to stumble us or tweet us or....

Top Ender Giggles - Sharing memories

Last Saturday we all went to see an Open Air Film Festival showing of Grease.

On the way to the screening we had explained to Top Ender that the film we were going to see was as old as Mummy and Daddy (well actually its older than me but you know ;o) ) and was what would of been our equivalent of High School Musical.

She sat for the most part enthralled and it was on the way out that we asked her what she thought

"Did you like it Top Ender?" I asked, hoping that she did so I could put the DVD on at some point
"No, I didn't like it" she answered
"Oh" said Daddy and I disappointed and wondering if our singing had put her off
"I loved it!" she squeaked


Monday, 24 August 2009

A Big Secret

Today I would like to take the opportunity to use my time with you to make a confession. Its a horrid confession and if I were you I would navigate off this page right now and pretend that you were never here.

If you do stay, then please be warned that I will not be held responsible for nightmares that may follow after you read this entry, or any urges you may have to make similar confessions either in the comments or on your own blogs.

Right now that the truly hardcore readers are here I can make this confession.

My name is Pippa and I am overweight. In fact I am overweight by over eight stone, that's over 112lbs, or to put in a more scary way there is currently over 43% of me that shouldn't be here.

Phew, glad I got that out. But I can hear you asking me questions;

Eight stone? How the heck did you get that fat? Don't you watch your weight? To be honest I don't know. I guess that it is easier to eat chocolate than it is go and do some exercise. Don't get me wrong I have been on diets and healthy eating plans over the years and I have lost weight, but it then slowly creeps back on and brings its friends.

Does telling you make me feel better? No, it doesn't I feel ashamed for making such a confession but I know that if I don't stop slowly killing myself with food that this will never get better

Do I think that by admitting to you all that I need to do something about my weight I will actually do something about my weight? Yes, I do. And the following is why.

Every Monday I am going to weigh myself and then lay out my meal plan for the next week here and my weight and anything else that I feel you might be interested in or I should tell you!

Now just before I do I need to explain that exercise at the moment with Top Ender not being at school is a little hard and so I am only doing an hours exercise a day by following my Wii game "My Fitness Coach" and of course chasing around Top Ender and Baby Boy! I also do weights for ten to fifteen minutes a day.

Right back to the plan

Meal Plan

Breakfast: Bowl of Bran Flakes with semi-skimmed Milk and a slice of toast
Lunch: Sandwich with fruit or left overs from the night before.

Monday: Chicken pieces with Vegetables and Mash
Tuesday: Fish fingers and Home made oven chips
Wednesday: Turkey and rice in Chinese Five Spice Sauce
Thursday: Sausage Pie and beans
Friday: Pasta with Pesto
Saturday: Home made Chicken Soup
Sunday: Ratatouille

So Today I weight 19st and 4lbs and hopefully soon I won't.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - I don't care about them!

Top Ender had retreated to her room in a flood of tears over not being allowed an old box of toys from the loft without first giving me a new box of toys to put up in their place

"Top Ender, if you want the Neighbours to hear you should scream a little louder!" I called up stairs
"I don't want the Neighbours to hear!" she cried back down "I just want my Daddy to hear!"

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Stop Playing with your food! I've already done that for you!

Since Top Ender weaned, there has been a fascination on my side of things in making food look fun (and I am sure that her fascination with Big Cook Little Cook was a contributing factor here), so that she would try new foods and because sometimes its nice to do something unexpected!

Then I was reading Alpha Mummy about the creator of some fantastic sandwiches and I read the comments that some have said about it being a waste and that the children only pick at things and I started to get a little angry.
You see this is what started it off. Top Ender wouldn't eat peas. She couldn't be convinced to have one pass her lips until I made this;
A Mash Potato fish with pea embelishmentsThat's right its a mash potato and crumbed fish in the shape of a fish, swimming above a seabed of peas. Oh and little tiny pea air bubbles escaping from its mouth, and it has a pea eye and fin.
I remember that night clearly as she ate every single pea without complaint, and begged for Princess pea pie the next night (which I made but can't find a photo of), which she again ate every single bite of!
So of course the next time we asked her to try something she hasn't had before the answer was Not on your life. Until we presented it to her in a more appetising way.
Mickey Mouse Shaped Pizza
To be honest, I didn't make this. We got this as a meal for Top Ender at Disney Land Paris. But we had been trying to get her to try Olives. She took one look at the Mickey Pizza and pulled an Olive off and started to chew. She then spat it back out and looked at us horrified, but she tried it!
Then just the other night I decided that Top Ender deserved a bit of fun. So I made her dinner that evening three of her favourite foods; Hash Browns, Sausages and Baked Beans. And whilst trying to come up with an idea of what to make it into I realised this could be a Butterfly very easily...
Butterfly made out of Hash browns, sausages and beansSo as you can see that is what I did. When Top Ender came to collect her plate she was so amazed at her Butterfly, that I didn't even get any complaints that I had used "proper" sausages with herbs in. She just ate it without complaint.
Now I don't want you thinking that Baby Boy gets left out of all this, he gets his fair share too. In fact this was his breakfast this morning, Pear, Grapes and two small pancakes. It's not the Mona Lisa, but my kids know talent...
Pancake face with pear and Grape embelishments

As he ate it he pointed to the various features on his face as he ate the ones on the plate. All the while saying "Yumm!", so breakfast was not only healthy but a learning experience too.
So stop telling children to stop playing with their food - do it for them!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - Nipple Icecream

"What ice cream flavour do you want Daddy?" called Top Ender from the Kitchen
"Raspberry Ripple" answered Daddy from just outside the Kitchen
"Mummy, Daddy said he'll have Raspberry Nipple" said Top Ender
"Raspberry Nipple?" I questioned
"Yes" said Top Ender as if I were the mad one
"Do you mean Raspberry Ripple?" I asked
"Oh!" said Top Ender

Thursday, 20 August 2009

An after school activity a day will drive Mummy into debt!

Something that I do everyday is to get my news from the BBC Website and it was there that I cam across this article - BBC NEWS Education Join a new club: 'Am I bovvered?' - about why Teenagers are no longer attending clubs and groups as was the norm in the past and how they can now separate children into different categories according to if they go to out of school groups.

No kidding Sherlock? You mean shy children don't like to socialise with others? Jeeps, next you'll tell me that kids with a passion for a specific interest join clubs/groups to do with that area of interest... oh wait you do about half way down the article.

Couple this with a Tweet from Laura (Who I know from her lovely and funny and informative website http://www.arewenearlythereyetmummy.com) and who is also on Twitter (I follow her you know, I like to hang out with the cool kids, hoping it might rub off some day) about the Rainbows uniform being rather erm expensive and you have me sitting on the sofa all night wondering about Top Ender and Baby Boy and if they do enough social activities so that they will turn out to be balanced, well rounded, individuals who will contribute to this world in the future.

In the past Top Ender has wanted to join Ballet lessons, (which we couldn't afford so we brought her a DVD), Horse riding lessons (she was too young and we couldn't afford it anyway), Cheer leading (we couldn't afford it), and join a theatre group too (yup you guessed it we could afford it either).

Every week however she does go swimming with Daddy and attends the Library with me and Baby Boy and we try to do at least one fun family activity together at the weekend. Of course there are other activities at home such as painting, drawing, singing, dancing, gardening, walking, reading, jumping and a lot of other things that ends with an "ing" and are normally exhausting for me, but not her.

In July Top Ender wanted to join Rainbows (a feeder group to Brownies as I understand it) as a girl in her class had come to show and tell with the Ready for Rainbows book. I looked at the budget that Daddy and I had drawn up and knew there was some manoeuvrability and we could afford it (at long last!) and so made the needed calls. It was almost the end of term and so the group leader and I felt it would be better if she started in September, which she will.

It was also at this time that I signed her up for some Swimming Lessons at the local pool. Top Ender can swim, it is just she doesn't have the confidence in herself, or rather in the water, and the "slowly-deflating-the-arm-bands" method wasn't working. Also I could afford this as the lovely Government scheme offering free swimming to children meant that the part of the budget assigned to weekly swim sessions with Daddy was going spare!

But what about Baby Boy? I should take him to a Mother and Toddler group yeah? Well the last Mummy that I made friends with became a bit odd and overly competitive (see my post here Baby Versus Baby) and this has put me off a bit, plus I'm actually really shy, but I bet you wouldn't realise it as fake it 'til you make it is my motto, (although I've been faking for about twenty years now and still not made it!) and I smile a lot.

I am going to be signing up for Mummy and Me swim lessons for him and I in September and maybe there we will meet a Mummy and Toddler who can be our friends (or maybe not!) so for now I have to be content with my children growing up being able to swim and just hope for the other areas to round off nicely.

So let me ask you what do you do? More importantly what do you think I should do!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wordless Wednesday

So what causes a face like this on Top Ender?
A worried looking Top EnderThen this?A still worried looking Top EnderThen this?A smiling Top Ender with the sun behind/above herWell this obviously!Top Ender smiling through the monkey bars of a climbing frame And What was Baby Boy doing whilst this was going on? Sitting in a tyre of course!
Baby Boy sitting in a hollow Tractor tyre
And then he decided he wanted to have a climb too!Baby Boy having a climb on a climbing frame

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - I don't trust that one

"Will I be 54 Mummy?" asked Top Ender
"Well, Yes. One day you will be." I answered
"I don't think I will be" she said
"Oh are you going to be 50 for ten years?" I asked
"No. I just don't like the number."

Monday, 17 August 2009

Harry Potter and the trip to the toilet

I took Top Ender to the cinema yesterday and as is usual in our household we both paid a visit to the toilet before we left our house. It reminded me of a trip to the toilet that I made on a Wednesday in April 2003 before Daddy and I (then just plain old Him and Me) went to see Johnny English.

Daddy and I had been trying for a baby for what seemed like ages, and had decided to stop trying and just let nature take its course. If I became pregnant then so be it. If I didn't, well then we would take the next step then.

With Daddy standing outside of the Bathroom door waiting his turn to empty his bladder before filling it with the super size coke during the film, I spied the last of the multi pack of pregnancy tests poking out of the box I kept sanitary products (and pregnancy tests!) in. Suddenly I realised that I needed to use that test because I was pregnant.

I remember clearly setting the test down on the small sliver of shelf next to the box whilst I continued doing my business and washing my hands and then picking up the test to see if the line was there or not.

Opening the door to Daddy who had no idea what I was doing (other than peeing) was the start of a whole new life for us and as I passed him the test, no words were needed. Of course handing him a stick covered in pee probably did need a little more explanation, than me standing there with a goofy grin but he understood after a nanosecond or two.

This of course led me to remember another trip to the toilet in September 2007, which I just realised was also a Wednesday, but first I need to take you back to the weekend.

Top Ender and I were going to visit Nanny B without Daddy as we did every month. Daddy and I had decided just a week before that it was time to have our second child and as he was saying Goodbye, to us in the car he bent down to my stomach and whispered "Bye Bye Baby".

When we got back from Nanny B's I wanted to take a test straight away but knew that if I did that it would probably show up negative because of my dates and knew I needed to wait a week.

I managed to last three days.

Again Daddy waited outside the bathroom door as I didn't want him to see me peeing on a stick, although this time he knew what I was doing! As I waited for the lines to appear I felt sick with nerves wondering if a new life was already inside of me waiting to be discovered.

The test turned positive and Daddy and I managed to keep our pleased grins and celebrations to ourselves as we didn't want Top Ender to know just yet and we wanted Top Ender to be given a gift when she found out that she was going to be a Big Sister.

We managed to last until the next day.

At the time Top Ender was very much into My Friends Tigger and Pooh and on a quick trip to the Disney store I purchased a Darby doll which we gave to her and told her the Baby in my tummy told me to buy it for her. Top Ender was thrilled with both the news and her new Toy!

So now I know what my Wordless Wednesday picture will be one day in the future, as I shall only ever take pregnancy tests on Wednesdays!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - That's a soundbite!

Whilst we were at Nanny B's I attempted to explain to her what a blog was and why I blogged.

"Originally I had three blogs" I told her
"Three?!" she said in surprise still not quite understanding what a blog was
"For different things. Now I have one about Top Ender and Baby Boy and another about me."
"That's why she says 'That's going on the blog' if she thinks something is funny" said Top Ender

Both Nanny B and I started to laugh

"I guess that's going on the blog then!" said Top Ender derisively

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Baby versus Baby

Do you know one of *those* Mums? I think we all know at least one of them. You know who I mean don't you? The Mum who makes everything seem like a competition?

I knew one of these Mums. Lets call her Dawn.

It started off when Dawn found out she was pregnant and she kept asking during her pregnancy when I would have a baby. Looking back it was almost as if she was trying to get someone to have a baby so she could race them to the delivery suite!

When I did become pregnant with Top Ender she was a great friend and told me lots of little things that you don't find out in the pregnancy books, but after a few months the competition started. There were comments about how her ankles had been so much more swollen when she was pregnant, or how she had so much more energy when she was pregnant, or how she hadn't put on a lb whilst she was pregnant.

Dawn compared our labours, recovery times, number of stitches, time spent in hospital (Dawn's baby was born about a month early and so they had to stay in for a week) and just about anything else she could.

As the children got older the competition started to get more heated and I was afraid that it was all in my head and really Dawn was just a nice normal person and I was the one who was making it a competition.

It wasn't. Other people noticed and passed comment.

It all ended in tears however. Top Ender has had a large vocabulary and has never been afraid to use it, and often would in front of Dawn and Dawn's baby. I could always see Dawn start to tense up when ever Top Ender spoke especially as Dawn's baby didn't speak clearly.

We drifted apart and only saw each other occasionally and then I became pregnant with Baby Boy and the competition started again with her trying to become pregnant. She let it slip one day to a mutual friend she was only trying for a baby because I was pregnant and she didn't want me to have one over on her. There was me thinking that I was having another Baby because we wanted to add to our family, but apparently it was part of the competition!

I managed to cut all ties with Dawn, but now I am always wary when ever someone asks if Baby Boy or Top Ender is doing x,y,z that they are trying to start a competition too.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - I'm not a thief!

"Top Ender, come on we have to go in the shop!" I said
"No Mummy!" she replied
"Why not?"
"Do you remember we brought my sandals from here?" she asked
"Yes, last time we were here" I answered
"Well I am wearing them today and they might think I stole them!"
"Top Ender, they are not going to think you stole them"
"Okay, but I'll tell the shoe lady just in case"

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Breast feeding

Baby Boy is nearly 15 months old and I breastfeed him still. I breastfeed him because we enjoy it and I think it is what is best for him (and its cheaper!). It annoys me when people ask me if I am ever going to stop feeding him or pass comment about how often he has breast milk.

When I was pregnant with Top Ender there was no question in my mind that I would breastfeed the baby growing inside of me. I hadn't ever really known anyone else who had breastfed, but I knew that it was what I wanted to do.

Top Ender latched on really well the first time she was offered my breast, I just had to hold my breast back a little from her face as she seemed to want to push her nose right in and suffocate herself! When my milk came in, she seemed to suck harder. I didn't know that she was sucking slightly wrong and it would cause me to have cracked and bleeding nipples. A couple of days passed and I started getting worried because Top Ender appeared to be sucking more blood than milk and of course the pain was excruciating.

My Health Visitor noticed and gave me some advice and even popped back that evening to drop in a free sample of Lansinoh that she had been given by a rep after she had seen me. After a few days they healed and I was once again able to feed Top Ender without pain and blood.

Baby Boy was completely different. He didn't seem interested in the breast when it was first offered and so I tried again a few minutes later where he took it and again was only interested in it for a few moments before he decided to ignore it again. It was only later that he really took to feeding.

Baby Boy now knows that he is allowed to have milk before his nap in the morning and afternoon and before bed in the evening. He still wakes up in the night and he has milk then too. He knows when he is getting sleepy and if I am not with him he comes up to me asks to sit on my knee and then asks for "boob" and just in case I don't know what he means he points at my breast too.

Baby Boy and I will continue feeding until he decides that he wants to give up. Top Ender was about eighteen months when she stopped feeding and it made me sad that we no longer had that link and I am not looking forward to the day that Baby Boy decides to stop as he will no longer be Baby Boy, but Little Boy.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Top Ender asleep on the stairs One from the Archives, Top Ender fell asleep as she was climbing the stairs to go to bed!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Top Ender and Baby Boy Giggles

"Baby Boy come here!" called Top Ender from the hallway
"Hiya!" he replied standing at the gate in the doorway
"I'm doing a fashion show and you are the audience okay?" she asked
"Yes" he replied
"Sit down then" she said
"Yes" he replied
"You have to clap when I walk past okay?"
"Yes" he said clapping his hands
"Stay there whilst I put the new outfit on okay?" said Top Ender

And he did. He watched her show for a good 15 minutes before realising he could move off!

Monday, 10 August 2009

4 years, 4 months, 12 days and about 5 hours

There are 2 years, 2 months and 18 days between when I was born and my little Sister being born. Growing up it felt a lot closer. We were dressed in identical outfits that and shared a room until we moved house when I was seven. We were often mistaken for twins, which I think pleased our Mum.

We were very close and as we got older although we were two very different people with different tastes and interests we did a lot together - it was expected in our family. I would do anything for my little sister, I even got a paper-round because she was too young to get one and begged me to get it for her! Once we were "grown ups" we worked at two further companies together and loved it. We were still mistaken as Twins, or my favourite I was thought to be the younger sister!

When Daddy and I met, I was amazed at the age gap of 4 years 5 months and 1 day between him and his brother and the further gap of 4 years 3 months and 30 days between his brother and his sister (8 yrs and 9 months between Daddy and his sister). Watching the dynamic between them I could see that whilst they were friends and affectionate to each other they were not as close as my sister and I was still convinced that the 2 years age gap was the right one.

Baby Boy was born 4 years, 4 months, 12 days after Top Ender.

If I am honest I was terribly upset that we were not in a position to have our second child, but I knew that we had to wait. I was worried that the larger age gap would cause trouble for them bonding. Top Ender would not be interested in playing with Baby toys or with a baby.

Now however I'm a convert.

Having Baby Boy has been like having a first child all over again and that is a good thing. I have been able to give him my sole attention whilst Top Ender is at school, I have been able to teach him songs and words and take him for walks and play with him without worrying that Top Ender is feeling left out.

I have an in house help for fetching nappies and socks or shoes, and for making Baby Boy laugh when I can't stop him crying. I have been able to see Baby Boy follow his sister round the garden pausing at flowers like she does and pretending to sniff or water them.

I can't wait until I add another character to the mix... by my calculations I have another three years and about a month until I'm due!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - Say what you mean!

The other day we went past the first home that Daddy and I owned together. As it was a flat on the first floor I needed to clarify which one it was. Luckily there were some Painters up some ladders painting the woodwork.

"Our flat was the one where the men are painting the windows Top Ender" I said
"Are they using white paint?" she asked
"Yes, they are"
"How will they see?" she queried
"Well the old paint and the new paint is easy to see the differences" I said
"No, I mean out the windows. How will they see out the windows? White isn't see through is it?"
"They aren't painting the glass Top Ender"

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Eight things to do on a small Entertainment fund!

Auntie (My Sister) has two daughters (Cousin and Baby Cousin) and together we have been talking about things we can do for free or reduced cost with them as an Entertainment Fund doesn't really feature in our budgets.

We have both allocated a small amount each week which in my case is spent on Top Enders Swimming Lessons, the occasional Saturday Kids Club Cinema trip (which is now free thanks to Woolworths!) and I really need to find a place or two that are suitable for Baby Boy. This has led to me looking for things to do for fun for little or no money, which in turn led me to create this list;

1) Board Games - Who doesn't enjoy a family board game? At the moment Baby Boy is a little too young to play, but is quite content to sit with either Daddy or I whilst we play a game or two.
Top Ender loves to play games and we have a fair few that we have collected over the years.

2) Film Nights - We have a lot of DVDs and have only scratched the surface on the number of films that we have that are suitable for family viewing. In addition to the films we own I will quite often record films from the television for later viewing on family film night, it takes no effort at all to all sit together eating popcorn and sweets being relaxed together.

3) Computer Games - With some money we got for Christmas and birthdays a couple of years ago we brought a Wii and a range of games soon joined the games we got for free as part of the deal. We enjoy playing all these games together and even managed to sneak a few educational ones in that help Top Ender! We also have a range of PC games that we play and Daddy has a set up that means he can play race games and flying simulators sitting between three screens that both he and our Top Ender loves. Again we have a number of games for our Top Ender that she thinks are fun, but we know are educational!

3a) On top of this there are hundreds of websites out there that Top Ender and Baby Boy will quite happily surf. Top Ender has a log on to the family PC and in her favourites are CBBC, CBeebies, BBC Learning Zone, Barbie, Disney, Nick Jr and those are just a few!

4) Parks and Playgrounds - We are so lucky, within a short walking distance we have a park, two playgrounds and just a short drive away we have a whole range of parks and playgrounds that are all free and fun to run round or to follow trails and to look for exciting nature type things. The benefit of this is that we also get plenty of exercise and fresh air!

5) Library Events - Our Local libraries are great. We can borrow books for free, we can attend story times (which are free) at any of the local libraries and there are normally displays that we can browse. Did I mention they are free?

6) Arts and Crafts - I am considered to be artsy crafty by my friends, the fact that I have no talent or natural ability doesn't stop me having a go and this means that I often surprise myself with some surprisingly good creations! Top Ender and Baby Boy love making and drawing things too. Together we can easily colour away an hour or three.

7) Cooking - When Daddy and I first started dating we would often cook together. Over the next few years we would cook together regularly and now Top Ender is learning to cook a dish a week with me. If it is the evening meal, cookies or cakes everything tastes so much better when she has cooked with me!

8) Gardening - Top Ender loves watering the plants, harvesting produce and weeding and in the Autumn will spend an hour or more gathering leaves. Baby Boy is quite happy running up and down smelling flowers and poking in the mud. Once a year we take a trip to a pick your own farm where we pick the fruits on offer for a fraction of the cost in a supermarket.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Top Ender Giggles - Listen the first time!

"Top Ender, would you like beans and egg for dinner?" I called upstairs
"No!" answered Top Ender
"Okay, what would you like?" I asked
"Could I have beans and scrambled egg?" she queried
"Top Ender?"
"Yes, Mummy?"
"What did I just ask if you would like?"
"Beans and egg... I want scrambled egg though!"

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Lost: One Daddy and Mobile Phone

Thirty minutes after Daddy should of been home, I realised that he wasn't home. I thought twice about calling him on his mobile as he normally has his ipod on listening to Stephen Fry podcasts and doesn't hear his phone but I thought that as he was walking home it would be safer to call just in case he had forgotten to come home (he enjoys his job!) and we could go and pick him up.

So I rang his phone and a strange voice answered. Now I knew I had dialed Daddys phone, but I wanted to make sure so I took the phone away from my ear to check the screen and as I put it back the voice answered again;

"Hello" said the strange voice
"You're not my husband" I said
"No, I'm a Police Sergent" said the strange voice

At this point my heart started to slow right down and I could see Daddy laying in the road hit by a car, or possibly a mountain bike.

"Oh" I said

"Do you know if your husband walked past the Blue Lagoon lake today?" said the strange voice

At this point I was imagining Daddy in the lake and the local police dragging the lake.

"Yes I know he did this morning" I managed

As I said this I had wandered into the hallway, I didn't want to be near the children if I was told that their Daddy had been in an accident or worse.

"Well we found his phone by the lake today" the strange voice said

At this point I was about to collapse in a heap when Daddy walked in the front door into the hallway where I was standing. I ended the phone call after a few more minutes and arranged to pick the phone up the next day from the local Police Station.

Talking it over later we realised where it had all gone wrong. Had the policeman said to me "A local dog walker found your husbands phone on the path after having walked round the lake" then I would probably have remained a little more sane and my imagination would of been kept in check!

At least Daddy knows that I love him though!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Wordless Wednesday - I've never been though

Sign for Bletchely Fire Station Open Day
Two things - Is it already that time of year again? and that's a weird time to start an open day isn't it?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Baby Boy Giggles - Anything she can do I can do better!

"Mummy?" said Top Ender as we were sat in the car
"Yes?" I answered
"Can I take my cardigan off?" she questioned
"Of course you can, but don't take your seat belt off" I replied

There was a pause and a slight shuffle from Top Ender as she took off her cardigan

"Mama?" said Baby Boy in the exact tone Top Ender had used
"Yes?" I answered
"lar did da doot too car brmm?" he queried just as she had moments before
"No sweetheart you can't take your seat belt off either" I answered to laughter from both Top Ender and Baby Boy

Monday, 3 August 2009

Operator there's a Polar Bear in the Garden!

The other day I wasn't feeling too good. I spent most of the day trying to take it easy whilst trying to carry out the chores for the day and look after the children. I tweeted about it and got a few concerned @replies letting me know that people cared. I told them that I had checked that Top Ender knew what to do in an emergency and was now getting some air to try to shake off the dizzy and sick feeling.

I originally taught Top Ender how to dial 999 when I was pregnant with Baby Boy. I had visions of something going wrong when only she and I were home so we practised how to make an emergency call and how to contact Daddy.

We would let her pretend to dial an emergency service and we would have a conversation as if we were the operator and then the service for the emergency. She would call for fires, car accidents, mummy not being able to be woken up and other things that Top Ender dreamt up such as a polar bear having escaped from the Zoo (that could happen you know!) or a thief who only stole things starting with the letter K breaking into the house.

After having gone over what to do I realised that now she would be alone in the house with her brother and so asked her what she would do with him until help arrived. She was quite happy with this and explained she would play with him and make sure if he cried that he didn't need a drink or something to eat (she knows how to help feed Baby Boy, but doesn't do it very often) and if all else failed to stop him from crying because he wanted me she would give him one of her toys or some chocolate, "which always stops him crying".

We realised that we would have to make a few changes (just in case) to make things easier for her. She is able able to reach her own cutlery and we keep a plate for her in a lower cupboard but Baby Boys things are kept higher up so we moved a spoon, a bowl and a cup down for him to her cupboard and we went over again where we keep snack foods for both her and Baby Boy.

I felt a little better after having got some air, so Top Ender didn't need to put our plan into action, but I know that in the future if something does happen we will be ready.

Please leave a comment though letting me know what else I should teach her, because I am sure I missed something here!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Baby Boy Giggles - The nose of a Bloodhound!

Top Ender having finally finished her dinner was allowed two jaffa cakes as a pudding, which she only took one of. As we can't give anything to Top Ender without Baby Boy demanding some we also gave him one and the rest of the packet were hidden behind the computer screen, as I was Tweeting.

A few moments later Baby Boy tried climbing up on my knee.

"Up Mama!" he demanded
"Hiya Baby Boy!"
"Ta Mama!" he said waving in the general direction of the computer screen
"No, sorry Baby. They are all gone!" I said
"MAMA!" he screamed and buried his head in my chest

At this point Top Ender returned for her second cake and I quickly passed her the entire packet so that Baby Boy wouldn't see. It couldn't of been as fluid as I thought however as a few seconds later he climbed down off my knee and went in search of Top Ender and the Jaffa Cakes.

"Its okay Top Ender, let him have one." I called over

A few seconds later Baby Boy appeared with a Jaffa cake with a bite taken from it

"Look Mama! Ummmm Mama" he almost purred

I knew he didn't believe me when I told them they had all gone!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

A weekly reminder of how good I have it

On Thursdays and Friday nights and every other Saturday I get a little taste of what it is like to be a single parent.

On these nights Daddy works a full day and then goes straight to his second job and doesn't come home until after midnight if everything runs to plan. If it doesn't I have known him to come home two or three hours after that. On the Saturdays that he works he is out from 8am to 8pm so he doesn't see the children or me really for three days.

It's weird when it is just me and the two children. Firstly I need to cook a meal but I can't rely on someone to look after Baby Boy. You can't expect a five year old to watch a baby whilst you aren't in the room. And of course even though Top Ender is five she still needs watching.

I don't like to rely on the TV to babysit for me, but I will put it on for them both to watch whilst I am out of the room. I leave the door open between the kitchen and the living room so that I can watch them too, but meals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are normally very simple affairs. Something that can either be cooked in ten minutes or under (pasta for example) or something that cooks without attention (anything that I can throw in the oven).

Bed time logistics are also something that needs to be carefully planned. Both children go to bed at roughly the same time. Top Ender needs to be in bed at 7:30pm so that by 8pm she is asleep. Baby Boy starts to go to sleep between 7:30 and 8:30pm, but is not able to go to sleep independently just yet, so timing is everything! Of course once the two children have gone to bed it is then time for all the chores to be done.

The dishes from dinner, watering the garden, tidying the living room, preparing for the next day and I'm all alone. Looking after the children by myself is something I do and don't complain about. Doing the chores by myself is something I do and don't complain about. Being on my own night after night, day after day is something that I don't know how I could cope with.

Every week when I get my little taste of being a single mummy I am glad that I am not.

So to all you single parents out there who do it for real day in and out, I bow to you.