Thursday, 28 June 2012

On the dearth of pretty paper

Looking at my recent posts, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd done no scrapbooking in weeks. And you'd be so so wrong!

Since about March, I've had maybe the most creative time of my life so far. And the main reason is Project Life.

What is Project Life?! Hereafter referred to as PL, it's a system of scrapbooking designed by Becky Higgins to capture everyday life. You can find out more here.

I figured I wouldn't have enough time or enough money to 'do' Project Life but looking at the enormous number of PL spreads popping up all over blogs, I got PL envy. I also got inspired.

I love my Document 2011 album - another project I said I wouldn't do! I love seeing how things have changed over the course of the year.

I love the 4x6 mini layout format. I don't love being behind, waiting for photos and losing the little details from many of the stories I wanted to tell.

So egged on by a few scrappy friends (or enablers, you decide) I decided to make Project Life work for me. (I'm not the only one doing so, check out Leanne, Jenny and Laura for starters).

From the original idea of a double page spread per week containing a title card, photo a day & 8 journalling cards, there are a multitude of different options

I decided on 1 page per week with inserts added for special occasions. I made up a kit of supplies, aiming to use up some of the beautiful things gathering dust in my scrapspace.

I decided to print my photos at home and learned how to produce fairly decent 4x6 prints using Picasa. I downloaded some free journalling cards to print.

And you've been looking at what happened next. That's all we did in March.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

On there being two of them

Dear Louise, (a new mummy again)

The second one is easier; you know what to expect. You'll slip back into feeding, night waking and carrying a carseat like it was just yesterday. You already love Isaac so much, it's like he stretched your heart in preparation for Anna to fit right in. You'll worry less about her because it was so straightforward with him; you know you'll be ok in the end.

The second one is harder; balancing the needs of two children and yourself.  If you make it to the end of the day with both children alive and fed, sometimes that will be a good day.  And sometimes you'll need to aim higher than that, to satisfy yourself that you can still achieve something.  Just make it a short to-do list, three things is more than enough!  The only times you'll really struggle is when they both cry at once.  The answer is usually to just sit on the floor, cuddle your babies and have a little cry yourself.  Then pick yourselves up and get on with the day.

But you'll learn; how to pick up a toddler but not drop a baby, how to make the most of the quiet moments while the other one sleeps, how to prioritise yourself and your needs over the housework, how to be patient and even-tempered, how to take a deep breath and count to ten.

And it's not as hard as you're worried it will be.  And you'll be ready for the next one sooner than you think.

Love always, Louise (mummy to two for nearly 8 months)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

On the tenth of June (sort of)

We're going to gloss over the date at the top of the post.  That ok with everyone?!
Hello, seven month old girl!  This has mostly been a month of consolidation - nothing particularly new and exciting but building on skills she already had and growing in confidence and compentence.  So she's still standing up with support (this shot was taken quickly before catching her as she fell) and getting better at sitting on her own.
Her eating is going amazingly well.  She loves bread, cheese, clementines and cucumber.  And she's a little sandwich fiend!  Isaac has never really 'got' sandwiches and doesn't like to eat them.  He'll happily chow down on a piece of cheese and a slice of buttered bread but put them together and he's just not interested.  But now?  Well now, if Anna has something he wants it so it's a win all round!
We had to do a bit of shopping at the end of May; the sun came out and I realised that all of Anna's tops had long sleeves!  Thankfully she wore each outfit once before the sun disappeared and the rain came out again.  Here's hoping for a bit better weather over the rest of the summer!

Oh, there's nothing in baby-led weaning that says you can't eat purees.  And self-feeding is to be encouraged, right?!  It definitely makes my life easier!
Now Anna's sitting confidently, she doesn't want to lie back in a supermarket trolley so we've graduated to the two seat trolleys at our local Sainsburys.  Isaac is not happy about this transition, though she hasn't just hit him round the head as it appears in this photo!  We have a lot of pushing and shoving these days, and the occasional biting incident.  Sigh!
Still no rolling, but she is desperate to get further than she can reach.  I've no idea what was so fascinating about the bin bag but this wasn't the only time I caught her straining to get it.
We managed a little bit of shade-bathing before the sun went into hiding!  Anna likes to play with anything she can reach, whether it's hers or not.  I've dug out Isaac's old baby toys for her and he's having a great time playing with them too.
 The world opens up once you're sitting up - you can sit on swings and ride on buses!  Not sure how reassuring it was to see Isaac driving though...

Monday, 25 June 2012

On being two

Isaac turned 2 on the last day of May.  Andy came to bed at 11.20pm and remarked that two years previously, we'd been parents for just over fifteen minutes and he hadn't even held his newborn son by that point.  So much has changed since then; Andy's been unemployed, a temp, a stay-at-home dad and a full-time employee, I've been on maternity leave twice, we bought a new-to-us car, we became parents again, Isaac is a big brother.  And a myriad of little things that pass by almost unnoticed.  But what's most remarkable is how this;

turned into this;

At two years old, Isaac:

  • walks, runs and climbs with confidence:
  • is starting to jump:
  • can manipulate small items, such as a Lego figure's helmet or coins into a cd player:
  • loves to press the buttons (on everything!)
  • helps to dress himself and put on shoes:
  • has his own little language but is starting to speak ours:
  • follows commands obediently, even when he doesn't want to:
  • has started to throw temper tantrums:
  • shares food willingly but covets toys obsessively:
  • loves trains, cars and dogs:
  • still prefers his daddy:
  • sleeps in a toddler bed, straight through almost every night:
  • drinks juice and milk and water from valved 'active sippers' but can drink from a glass:
  • uses a spoon confidently and a fork with help.
  • can peel the tops of yoghurts:
  • likes to drink hot chocolate (and help to make it):
  • won't eat green vegetables, carrots or onions:
  • names a zillion body parts:
  • loves to sit in the driver's seat and play with the buttons & levers:
  • counts (in a fashion) to 3:
  • likes tomatoes, corn on the cob, rice, sausages, cheese and biscuits.  And chicken nuggets:
  • knows some colours (green, blue, red and black):
  • recognises our car:
  • stands in the deep end of the teaching pool and can swim with armbands:
  • loves to play in ride-along toys:
  • remembers every little thing (helpful when he's hidden something important):
  • kisses and cuddles his 'nannie' (Anna):
  • recognises his grandparents' homes:
  • has friends and looks forward to seeing them:
  • has toddler OCD, loves routine and putting things away:
  • laughs from his belly:
  • plays with his willy (even with a nappy on, heck even with a vest on!)
  • goes to bed about 7.45pm:
  • tries not to laugh when we're being funny, after he's been told off:
  • doesn't hold a grudge:
  • lights up and runs to the front door when his daddy's car comes on to the drive:
  • is fascinated by buckles and loves to do them up:
  • is experimenting with imaginative play using soft toys.

It's a great adventure, getting more interesting every day.  I can't wait to see the little boy my baby is becoming.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

On Father's Day

I'm blessed to be married to the best man I ever met and I'm so happy that he wants to be a real daddy to our children. He does his fair share of nappies and bedtimes and naughty steps and almost all of the mornings so I can have a lie-in. He stayed at home with Isaac for six months when I went back to work and I didn't worry once about how they'd manage together. He adores our children and loves to spend time with them.

But now I'm at home full-time again, I know our babies that little bit better, especially when interpreting Anna's non-verbal cues or Isaac's first attempts at talking. And the tendency to take over is strong in me anyway!! But God has given them both of us as parents for the unique contributions we each bring. He's much better at playing with them than I am!!

So this reminder is a timely one. I need to step back and let Andy be the daddy our children need. Cos he's pretty amazing at it!!

Thank you darling!!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 2 June 2012

On being a new mummy

Dear Louise, (mummy to a newborn son)

I wish I could tell you not to worry. That you actually do know what you're doing. That the other shoe isn't going to drop. Those first days are crazy, literally. You'll worry about all sorts of silly silly things (like rain damaging the car) and some not so silly things (like your not-so-perfect body bearing the scars of motherhood). It wasn't your fault that you had a cesarean section; 75% of first time mums need assistance to deliver their baby. There wasn't anything you could have done differently or better. And having another baby won't change any of that, though (like anything you practise) you'll get better at it each time you labour.

Listen to your mother. She loves you and knows you like you will love and know that tiny boy. She has wisdom drawn from experience, both the good and the bad. She has enough faith in you to let you forge your own way as a mother. She will always be there when you need her, even if it's just to remind you that you can do this.

Every baby comes complete with challenges and compensations, the good and the bad. People will want to compare him to others; keep your confidence in him and don't worry about what he does and when. He gets there in the end.

Being a mother will show you yet more dimensions of God's love for you. Dark times are coming, a desert wilderness that must be crossed but on the other side is renewal and restoration. Pray often and know that God is listening.

All my love, Louise (mummy to a two year old)

***This post is shamelessly stolen from Leanne, who was inspired by someone else. Head over to her blog & check out her letter.***