Friday, 4 November 2011

The Perfect Dress

Seren got her 'winter dress' a couple of weeks ago. I love it. This is Seren's third Next cord dress. Her first was a gift from a very good friend and I thought she looked adorable in it.
Bonny girl
Her second I bought on the back of the first dress, and she wears it in my favourite photo of my three little ones.
Three under two

And now this one, I love it. I love autumnal colours and to me, she just looks so adorable.
Toddler fun in Church
Next Autumn/ Winter 2011
Which got me to thinking. Girls need dresses. I have always bought Seren a couple of dresses in each size she's been in, even though it is far more practicable for her to be in trousers. And then I realised, most of my favourite photos are of her in dresses:

Baby dressBoden funBoden style
First ChristmasToddler cruising

Toddler trampolineHappy Christmas
The girl with the red balloonParty dressesFun at Harlow Carr

So, from the person who wears trousers to work 99% of the time, and is always in jeans or cords in my free time. Dresses rock!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Parenting twins

This definitely is not an 'expert' view, there are many decisions and approaches you take as a parent, some are frowned upon, some keep you up at night, some work out and some don't.

And when you add multiples to the equation, even if you think you can learn from your first (singleton) experience, the curve ball is thrown and you're almost starting again.

When Seren was born, we gave in to her every whim. We had what the health visitor called a "fussy baby", this meant changing from breast feeding to bottle (for both our sanities), soothing her to sleep, and generally doing everything we resolved not do "pre-baby".

I went back to work at six months, and I didn't mind Seren's sleeping routine was 10 till 10. We had a baby who slept through for twelve hours and I could spend lots of time with her when I finished work, Tony had some time to himself each morning.

When we found out we were pregant with twins this was the first thing to change. We managed to get Seren's bedtime to 8.30 by the time the boys came into the world.

With the boys it's been a whole different ball game. I don't like the word 'strict' but we have definitely adopted a routine, which we manage, on the whole, to stick to. And, life is so much better for it.

Within four weeks of the boys being born we used moses baskets for sleep in the day, downstairs, and they shared a cot at bedtime. At four weeks I started putting them in the cot at 7 every night. I tried not to take them downstairs till at least 9am so they got used to 'cot time'.
With bottle feeds we tried to be meticulous in feeding them at appropriate intervals and making sure they managed all their feed. This was slightly more difficult with Tom however, by 12 weeks we had it cracked and they began sleeping through for 12 hours at night.
My mum was shocked by this, disbelief I think that we were actually managing it, and how well the boys responded to it.

I read something in the first few weeks about babies needing an amount of milk over a 24 hour period, and if a baby could cope with this in daytime hours they were more likely to sleep through. We were also given guidance from the doctor about how much a baby should drink per lb of wieght.

This worked for us. It meant feeding the babies every three hours in the day but it meant a night's sleep- a compromise I was happy to make. As soon as I could I started to 'tandem feed' the boys. As they had bad wind this wasn't as soon as other twin mums had managed but if they didn't take all their feed they needed feeds more often and so patience had to prevail.
Bottle feeding twins
As is always the way, life was so difficult when the boys were on seven feeds a day and each was taking two hours. I have memories of lining up so many distractions for Seren in advance of every feed so I could focus on the boys.
As I couldn't tandem feed at night I would also have to decide who was crying loudest and use a swing upstairs to soothe the other.
It is of course, even now, a distant memory. In more surreal moments I joke with the other half about baby number 4. He jokes about triplets!

As they've moved onto solids it's been more of a juggling act, finding the right routine so they're eating three meals but not filled up on milk. They're on four milk feeds a day and our challenge is trying to get them to drink all of their last bottle so they'll sleep through, but that they've had a meal at 'tea time' as well.

I'm sure we'll get to a routine with this as well. The boys, at ten months, still aren't supporting themselves that well, we still rely predominately on bouncers, with bumbos when possible. Hopefully as we move to high chairs, we'll move to a routine which works for the family.

Whether routines are right or wrong, we have two happy babies and that's what matters most to us!
Happy twin boys

Twin boys in park
This post was written as part of the Multiples Mayhem Carnival hosted by All About The Boys

Our family holiday: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

In September, we were fortunate enough to get a week off and get away. Center Parcs appeared the ideal location, with the boys and Seren we need somewhere with enough distractions to keep everyone entertained. More importantly, my mum and dad had agreed to go with us so there was plenty of time for everyone to get some 'me' time.

I could not recommend the place enough for toddlers. We intentionally went outside the school holidays, and fortunately at a place like Center Parcs this meant there will still plenty of little people to make the place feel family orientated and very few older children so the place wasn't too manic.

A lot of people said there is enough to do on your first visit without booking activities, however, my need for structure and inability not to look through a catalogue without picking something to buy did prevail. Seren did a few activities and still shouts "Where's Rupert?" now, so memories were definitely made!
Teddy Bear's Picnic, Center ParcsFamily fun at Center Parcs
Balance Bikes, Center Parcs
I managed to 'impress' Mr J by doing the Ariel Adventure:
Ariel Adventure,  Center Parcs

Although my legs did ache for it! Mr J just took the whole thing in his stride!
Ariel Adventure, Center Parcs

Mr J also managed to find out about the squash courts so managed to get in a few games (and even win medals!)
Squash, Center Parcs

And at the end of the day, there was plenty of time to spend as a family:
Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest

The Pancake House, Center Parks

Center Parcs do have it sussed. It is the perfect home from home in terms of holidaying with young people. With lots of activities to keep everyone entertained and with paths around the 'Parc' making it perfect for bike rides and walks. we were happily exhausted in the evening, although I do wonder- without the Rugby World Cup, what would my dad have done at 4am in morning! Mum was most easily pleased, the Starbucks profits probably went up the week we were there!

We're looking forward to another holiday, and we may try out the Longleat Center Parcs next!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Gallery: 'T' is for...

... well, for me it's going to have to be twins, by little gorgeous boys who had me stunned from the first scan. They are the most wonderful surprise, I found this t-shirt set on Facebook the other day, I suspect they will soon adorn the boys, I couldn't have summed it up better:
Perfect tops for twins
My little boys are almost ten months, and they are so cheeky, they are so aware of the other- especially when there's a toy involved. They roll in different directions round the lounge and are so different from those little babies who rushed into the world in January:
Newborn twin boys

Twin boys squash players
Daddy's future squash champion and Mummy's future Rugby International

One month in!

Well, we have almost reached four weeks in our new abode.

Today, our new bedroom furniture arrives, I’m very excited.

We have moved from a typical Yorkshire three storey terrace to a relatively new house which you used to draw when you were little.
A property in Rhoose
I hadn’t figured the implication of this before we moved in. Our Yorkshire house was unique, iggledy- piggledy, our random unmatched furniture fitted perfectly.

Our new house has rooms which are perfectly proportioned, no wonky walls, no quirks from years of changes.

When we moved in it quickly became apparent that we had too much of the wrong furniture- admittedly we have three cots, a toddler bed and a junior bed, a bit extreme for a family with three children!
A room fit for twins
We got the boys room sorted straight away (although we’ve now decided we’d like to take the walls down to a lighter blue). They finally have their own cots, although we haven’t succeeded in separating them.
Twins first bedroom
We then broke our bed (don’t ask- it was fixed, but never overlook the opportunity created), it fitted perfectly with my nagging requests for bedside tables and matching furniture. Cue furniture searches and a sale on bedroom furniture. By tonight we will have a room that vaguely matches.

We are going to take the extreme step of letting Seren have our broken(ish) double bed. I have no idea whether this is a good idea of not. I do know that we have pandered to her for so long, and that her routine is to snuggle with mummy or daddy in our bed, only to be moved into her own bed when she has fallen asleep. Whilst we have managed the snuggle down to under 30 mins and she does sleep through on the majority of nights, it is the hassle of moving her to her bed. So, we are trying her in a double bed so we have snuggle in her room and then she is set for the night. And maybe in time she won’t need snuggles- I can hope!

We did of course pop out this weekend to give her room a coat of paint before the bed moved in. In getting curtains for her room I have reneged on all my pre-parent mentality and gone with pink. Polka dots and gingham to be exact. I can’t help it. I would love her to have a pirates bedroom (she loves pirates) but I have two boys to explore these ideas with, oh but I still can’t convince myself pink was for the best.

We have sorted the bathroom and the spare room is in need of curtains but otherwise sorted.

So, I am quite proud of our first month in, upstairs nearly sorted with the absolute joy of fitted wardrobes which actually fit our clothes in!

Roll on December, we’ll have downstairs sorted (fingers crossed) and will have our house ready for… the New Year (no use of the ‘C’ word around here!).
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