Saturday, 31 August 2013

Proud Twin Mummy Moment

To many this will not seem like a big deal, but other twin parents will get why I feel so proud!
I managed to get both babies to sleep in their cots last night!
Since we started to put the twins to sleep without cuddles hubby has been getting them settled one at a time. But last night I put Taylor into his cot before Isabella was asleep. They both share a bedroom so they need to be able to get to sleep together. I wasn't sure how Taylor would settle for me as he is used to my cuddles to get to sleep. Luckily Taylor usually starts on his left side which means he is facing the wall. So I said good night, laid him down and waited for him to stand back up and shout to be picked up.
But he didn't.
He just laid there. He did look for me once, so I sat next to his cot and put my arm through the bars and placed my hand on his back so he knew that I was close. He swung his arm behind his back and rested it on my hand and went to sleep! After a few minutes I gradually took my hand off his back and out of the cot!
I had done it, Taylor had done it! He had got to sleep on his own, with no cuddles!!
Isabella on the other hand was still awake for her daddy so hubby left the room for me to have a go. She did stand up a couple of times but I didn't give in. I just laid her back down and put my hand on her like I did with Taylor. Unlike Taylor, Isabella kept looking for me, so I kept looking down trying not to make eye contact. If you make eye contact with Isabella she will launch into a conversation with you! Her little voice is so cute I wouldn't be able to ignore her so I kept looking away. It did take longer, but in the end, she too was fast asleep!
I do not know if it is a coincidence but the last two nights that Taylor has settled himself to sleep he has slept right through. Same with Isabella, she has always been a good little sleeper though.
I do feel that we have accomplished something by getting the twins to settle themselves. I was dreading breaking the settling with cuddles habit as I thought it would be harder than it has been. I am sure that we will have hard nights to come but for now I will enjoy a good, full nights sleep!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Life Goes On

Yesterday was the hardest day ever.
I am not ready to talk about yesterday yet, but I do want to start of thinking of how I can start to move on.
Tomorrow I will begin!
This last week everything has ground to a halt. When I say everything, I mean everything!
Our house hasn't been this upside down in a long time. I have got so far behind with housework, washing, ironing even my baking has ground to a halt!
Starting tomorrow I am going to start getting some control back.
This house is going to have a blitz, it is going to be cleaned, polished and hoovered from top to bottom. I need to do this at the end of the day my life and my families lives go on not matter how hard it is.
But I am also aware of how seeing me upset and crying is affecting Joseph.
The twins are too young to completely realise what is going on but they can sense something is not right, but Joseph is nearly 9, he does understand. We had a heartbroken little boy last night but today he seems to be stronger. I need to take a leaf out of his book. Whenever he has seen me cry today, he has rushed over to give me a hug. Normally you need to beg Joseph for a hug. I need to deal with my grief in a way that is not going to cause the children upset or worry.
They are my focus. Them and my rock of a hubby.
I know that my Grandad would be telling me this!
I also have some bread to be baking. Not only for my family but I am excited to take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off. It is a fantastic idea that has come from bloggers of The Crazy Kitchen and Mummy Mishaps. When I saw it on Twitter I was too late for the cake bake off so I am determined to find the time this weekend to bake some bread. I have already had my baking thinking cap on and have got an idea but obviously so far this week it has not materialised.
Tomorrow will be different! My bread will be baked!
So watch this space :-)
First things first, I need to spend some time with my hubby and live life in the present and look to the future. I know we are being watched over and this gives me strength.

For more info on Great Bloggers Bake Off visit
http://www.thecrazykitchen.co.uk/p/the-great-bloggers-bake-off.html
http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/category/gbbo


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Thursday, 29 August 2013

My Babies Are Growing Too Fast

I am coming to the realisation that my babies are not babies anymore!
They are growing and developing at such a rate.
They are growing too quick.
Since the twins arrived home we have always given them their bedtime bottle and cuddled them to sleep. I am not a fan of self soothing, I know other people who it has worked for, but it is not for me.
I did the same with Joseph and cuddled him to sleep and co-slept with Joseph until he was nearly 3. But at that time it was just the two of us.
I have always loved our bedtime routine, I have always enjoyed the quality time that we have. But I also know, deep down, that we need to move on at some point.
I wasn't expecting it just yet!
A couple of nights ago, Isabella was so hot she would not settle with hubby so he decided to see how she would settle in her cot. I will admit that I didn't think that it would work. But to my amazement, she settled.
The next night she was more awake and it took longer. But my hubby was patient and didn't relent. After a couple of moans from Isabella she went to sleep! I am so proud of her, she has done so well! But Taylor, who always goes to sleep with me, would be harder!
Hubby disagreed with me so last night I let him try.
If I am honest I thought that he would cry for me and wouldn't settle. It pains me to say that I was wrong!
Hubby got him settled without me!
I feel as if the cord has been cut a little bit more. My boy doesn't need my cuddles to go to sleep. I am so proud of him but I also look at all three of them and think
"please slow down growing, stay small"
But I know that I must let all three of them grow and flourish. It is my job to nurture, protect and guide them.
Letting go and allowing them the room to grow is hard but in order to be a "good" mum to them I will do this.
I will just make sure that we have a couple more cuddles in the day.
When they let me that is!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Circle of Life

Life.
We all know that we have a circle of life.
We are born.
We grow from babies into children.
Children grow into teenagers.
Teenagers grow into adults.
We live life, we love, we hate, we laugh, we cry, we celebrate life, we grieve.
We all know that life has to come to an end. But this does not make it any easier when it is time to say goodbye.
This is the stage that I am at now.
Am I ready and strong enough to say goodbye?
To be honest I do not think that I will ever be ready to say goodbye. I do not want to say goodbye ever, but I know it has to be said at some point.
Am I strong enough?
Probably not if I am being truthful, but I know that my family and my husband will support me and help me through the difficult days that we are all living at the moment.
I do find it hard to vocalise my feelings. This blog has become a bit like a counsellor to me. I am getting all of these thoughts out of my head.
As I am writing this the tears are flowing and I cannot believe that this is happening.
We were devastated when we thought we only had months left.
That was only 8 days ago!
How has this all happened so fast?
I just cannot even begin to understand it all.
In a way I feel that I am already grieving for my grandad. He is still here, but at the same time he is not.
Today is going to be the hardest visit that I will make. This may be the last time that I see him. The last time I hold his hand, the last time I kiss him goodbye. Just thinking about this breaks my heart. I cannot imagine not having him my life, he has always been there and has always been a big part of my life.
I need to stay strong for my children. Joseph has already picked up on things and I have had to tell him that his gramps is very poorly. I have had to prepare him for what will be happening and I dread breaking that news to him when it happens.
It is my children and hubby that are keeping me afloat and I need to stay as strong as I can for them. I am taking each day as it comes and I am coming to the realisation that things are going to get worse before they get better.
But I am preparing myself for a difficult visit and I will say my goodbyes just in case I don't get another chance.
This is the circle of life.
This is how it is.
It is still one of the hardest things that we have ever have to do.
Saying that one word.
Goodbye x

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Will This Work?


This will be my blog button.......
If I can get an HMTL that is!!!

Here it is.... I hope x

 
 

Spiced Orange Cake

Now for a happier post.......
Cake!
I tried this recipe a few days ago but it was eaten before I got chance to ice it let alone take a photograph to post!
So yesterday with everything going on I hit the kitchen to distract my thoughts.
Before 8:15am I had bread dough and pizza dough proving!
I was on a baking mission!
Next it was time for the cake!
Last time I made this as a large cake. Yesterday we were going on a picnic with some family so I thought that cupcakes would be a better idea.
Here is my recipe

Ingredients

150g butter
150g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
Zest of 1 large orange finely grated
Juice of 1 large orange
1tspn cinnamon
1tspn mixed spice
175g self raising flour

Topping

100g full fat cream cheese
30g butter
150g - 175g icing sugar
1tspn of orange zest finely grated

Method

Heat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4, 350F

1: Cream the butter until lightly creamed
2: Add the sugar and mix evenly blended together
3: mix the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice together
4: Gradually add the eggs. With each egg add a spoon of the flour mix to prevent the mixture separating
5: Add the zest and orange juice with a spoon of flour
6: Sift in the flour and spices, mix until evenly blended
7: Either put into a prepared cake tin or put into cupcake holders and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when stuck through the centre
8: Cream together the cream cheese and butter
9: Add the orange zest
10: Gradually add the icing sugar and mix with a spoon before giving it a blast with an electric hand whisk
11: Leave it in the fridge for about an hour to firm it up before piping onto the cake.
12: Once the cakes are completely cooled, pipe on the topping

I have also added a little twist onto these cakes for my hubby. I have added a couple of handfuls of muesli to transform them into breakfast muffins!

Enjoy x

What a Couple of Days!

Sorry for being so quiet!
The last couple of days have been emotionally exhausting and when the children have been in bed I have been too tired to even think about writing! I have also been spending some quality time with my loved ones.
It is hard to comprehend that it has only been 1 week since we got the devastating news about my grandad so much has happened! He has gone from being ok to not being very well at all and is unfortunately in hospital at the moment. He is the best place and is getting the best care that he needs. We are just hoping and praying that the antibiotics start to work so that we can get him back home with his family.
At the moment we do not know what to expect. A week ago none of us would have believed we would be where we are now!
The last couple of days have gone by in a blur of looking after the kids, visits to my nanna's and visits to the hospital!
I worry a lot about my nanna too, being on her own can not be easy. But I am happy in the knowledge that she has a good support network of neighbours and friends who live in the village. Plus we have been going over practically every other day this last week. At the moment it is easier with Joseph being off school but when he returns to school I know that it will be harder to work around school times.
Hopefully by the time Joseph returns to school things will be back to normal.
Today is a new day and I hope and pray that we get some better news, God knows we need it!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Feeling Run Down

Im not feeling great at the moment so I am glad that it is a bank holiday weekend and I have got my hubby at home for an extra day.
I just feel so worn out and run down. Because of everything that is happening in our family at the moment I am worrying a lot which probably is not helping. I feel that I am worrying about everyone.
Obviously I am extremely worried about my grandad and the time we have left with him
I worry about my nanna. My grandad is her carer so therefore with him being poorly I worry about how my nanna is coping.
I worry about my dad. After all it is his dad that this is happening too. I know how I feel about my mum and dad and if I was faced with this news about either of them I would be devastated.
I worry about my sister. She lives even further away which must be hard.
My nanna and grandad living so far away doesn't help anyone. We are all trying to be there as much as we can for them.
On Wednesday my grandad has got a session of radiotherapy which in the short term will make him feel bad but in the long term will relieve the pain and will give him a better quality of life. This is what we need to remember when he is not good.
All of what is happening certainly does make you appreciate every single day and makes you thankful for what we have got. It is so easy to take life and people for granted and it is not until you are faced with life threatening situations you fully appreciate every hug, kiss, wink of an eye, every word spoken. I will cherish every single moment that we have left with my grandad. As a family we need to make this Christmas count as it may be our last one all together.
I thank God for all my family, my husband, my children, my mum and dad, my sister and her family, my grandparents, and my mother in law. Together we give each other all of the support that we need and together we will get through this.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Walkers Mighty Lights

   

Crisps certainly are my weakness, so I was over the moon to be asked to taste and write about the new Walkers Might Lights crisps.
I was even more pleased to try them when I saw that Walkers Mighty Lights contain 30% less fat. Would these crisps be the same as other low fat, diet crisps that are on the market?
Would they be healthier but no where near as tasty?
I would certainly be happy to give them a taste and put them to the test with my families help.
There are three flavours available:
  • Lightly Salted
  • Cheese and Onion
  • Chicken
We had all three to try and this is how we got on:

Lightly Salted

These "plain" crisps are all but plain! The first thing that we all noticed when we tried this flavour was that they were not your average, run of the mill, salted crisps. These had an added flavour that I could not pin point. In the end I gave up and looked on the packet at the ingredients and found that in the seasoning they had also included some spices and herbs. With many plain salted crisps I feel that there is often too much salt used. I was pleasantly surprised that these crisps were different.
When I asked Joseph what he had thought he said that he preferred these to other plain, salted crisps as they "had a better flavour". The plain crisps are normally the last to be eaten in our house, I have a feeling that with these crisps that won't be the case.


 
Chicken

I sent a packet of the Chicken Mighty Lights in my hubby's packed lunch for work. When I quizzed him about what he had thought of them he told me that he could not taste any difference between the Mighty Lights and regular crisps. The Mighty Lights, unlike other low fat diet crisps, do not compromise on the flavour. They offer a healthy alternative, they are low fat but remain high in flavour!

 
 
 
 
Cheese & Onion

I was pleased to have the "taster" excuse and had some of the Cheese and Onion crisps at lunch time. As with the Chicken flavour, these crisps were just as flavoursome as regular crisps. Walkers Mighty Lights Cheese and Onion have kept the tangy cheese flavour that we all love with the bite of onion that makes them unmistakably Walkers crisps.





The only negative that we have got with the flavours is that there aren't any Salt and Vinegar Mighty Lights. Please, Walkers, do some Salt and Vinegar Mighty Lights!

We all know that saturated fats are the "bad" fats and that they are present in so many of the snacks that our children love.
So what better way to let them have their snacks without the guilt?
Include Walkers Mighty Light in their lunch box
With 30% less saturated fat than regular crisps, they are made from real potatoes with no artificial colours or preservatives and no MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).


They are not only a better, healthier alternative for children but for parents too!
We have other regular crisps in the house but ever since the Walkers Mighty Lights have arrived whenever Joseph has gone for a packet of crisps he always returns with Mighty Lights!
From now on we will be enjoying Mighty Lights in both lunch boxes and at home as a snack!

For more information visit:


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. We received packets of all three flavours. Walkers have had no influence on my post and all of the opinions are my own and of my family.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

My Chocolate Fruit and Nut Cake

After thinking about a new cake to bake I thinking about what chocolate bars I love for some inspiration.
I love fruit and nut!
This got my ideas going mad and came up with this yummy recipe.

Ingredients

150g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g self raising flour
25g ground almonds
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tspn baking powder
25g flaked almonds
50g raisins

Topping

200g fruit and nut chocolate bar
75g butter

Or

75g butter
150g icing sugar
3 tspn cocoa powder
1/4 tspn vanilla essence
Flaked almonds
Raisins

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4, 350F 1: Cream the butter
2: Add the sugar and mix until its creamed together
3: Sift the flour and cocoa powder and add in the ground almonds and mix together
4: Beat the eggs and gradually add along with a spoon of the flour mix
5: Add the flour mix, flaked almonds and raisins. Stir until evenly mixed
6: Put the mixture into the prepared cake tin and put in the pre heated oven for approx 30 mins or until a knife comes out clean
7: Leave to cool completely until topping

For the chocolate butter topping melt the butter in a glass bowl placed over a pan of boiling water. Once melted take from the heat, stir in the butter and mix until melted.
Leave for 5 - 10 minutes before spreading onto the cake.
For the butter icing topping mix the butter until creamed.
Gradually add the icing sugar, cocoa and vanilla essence.
Smooth over the cake and then sprinkle with almond flakes and raisins.

Enjoy :-)


 
The Chocolate Butter Topping
 
 

 
The Chocolate Butter Icing Topping
 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My Twin Pregnancy Story

When I think back to my twin pregnancy it seems like a such a long time ago. Ever since the twins arrived life has been non stop.
From the start of our relationship, James and I knew that we wanted children. I had already got Joseph and I didn't want him to be an only child.
After we got married we decided to let nature take its course and I came off the pill. I had one period then nothing.
Could I really be pregnant after just one month?
We bought a pregnancy test. I desperately wanted it to be positive. There it was an extremely faint line, but it was there. Over the next week we did another test, followed by a digital test just to make sure we weren't seeing what we wanted to see. They were all positive.
I was pregnant!
The first few weeks I was exhausted and had terrible nausea. I couldn't remember feeling that tired when I was pregnant with Joseph but just put it down to working a lot and looking after Joseph.
When I was just 8 weeks into the pregnancy we took Joseph to London and Lego Land for his birthday. This trip wiped me out and I spent the last two days being violently sick, nothing would stay down. It was during this trip I bought my first maternity trousers. Already my regular trousers were too tight.
When we got back home I was still being terribly sick so I visited the doctor who signed off on sick from work and told to get plenty of rest.
When I returned to work people were astounded to see that I already had a bump. This was when the twins were considered a possibility. I knew that my dates were not wrong but I put my bump down to the fact that this was my second pregnancy.
A week before the scan date I started to bleed.
Admittedly, looking back, it was not a lot, but I panicked! I rang the midwife who told me to go straight to the Early Pregnancy Unit. I remember ringing James and telling him to come home. I drove from work to my mum and dads house in a daze. I was trying to emotionally prepare myself for bad news. When I saw my parents I broke down. I was so scared that I was loosing our baby. When James arrived he was my rock. We made our way to the hospital and waited to be seen. I remember looking at other women's bumps and hoping mine was ok. When they started to scan me, my tears started. I was just waiting for them to say
"I'm sorry but..."
Then I saw it, there on the screen I saw our baby, it was our baby, it was ok! Then there was another. At first I thought that it was a split screen and the the second one was the same baby from a different angle. We then got the question
"are there twins your family?"
I couldn't reply, but James told them that his dad was a twin. We then realised that it was not a split screen, we were looking at our two babies, we were having twins. We were told that we were having fraternal twins (non identical) which meant that each baby was in their own individual sack and had their own placenta. This, we were told, is the safest form of twins to carry and they have the fewest risks.
I went through a mixture of emotions from relief that I was still pregnant to fear! One baby was hard work, how would I cope with two? That soon changed to excitement, would we have 2 boys? 2 girls? A boy and a girl? Next I had a feeling which continued until the day they were born, that was worry. I worried that they were developing ok, I worried they'd be born too early, I worried about whether they'd both have enough room, I worried about everything. I was carrying two delicate loads and that did mean double the worry.
Once we knew that we were having twins I started to look for information on twin pregnancies. I was disappointed to see that all of the information from the midwife was for "singleton" pregnancies, there was one page of information on twins and multiple births, just one page! This started my online hunt for information. During this time I came across TAMBA, Twins and Multiple Birth Association, who became my first port of call for information. We are still members of this charity and will be for quite a few more years!
I knew from early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to breastfeed. When we found out that we were expecting twins this did not change. But I did invest in a good electric breast pump. I knew I would need help and if I expressed I knew I would have this. It was also in my thoughts that there was a high chance that the babies would be born early so I was also prepared for this.


My growing bump at 17 weeks

The first 18 weeks went well. We started to have regular, 4 weekly, hospital appointments with our consultant and everything was going well and my bump certainly was growing!
At around 19 weeks I started getting pains in the base of my back and in my pubis area. I was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. I was told that I needed to reduce my working hours down to just mornings as this was when I was at my best. Unfortunately I was unable to do this so I was signed off as unfit to work. I was disappointed as I had wanted to work longer but now I could rest and keep my babies inside and safe.


Christmas - 27 weeks

When Christmas arrived I was 27 weeks and I remember people saying to me
"Oooh are you having a Christmas baby?"
I was so big. When I told them that I had another 13 weeks to go peoples faces dropped, it was quite amusing but also quite annoying. Some people would be quite rude with their reactions. I remember people saying that I was unlucky! I felt like the luckiest person alive, I was carrying not one but two babies, how is that unlucky?
We were extremely worried about the babies coming early so we didn't like to look too far ahead. We prayed we would get to each hospital appointment and once we had got there we looked to the next. Each week, each day that I carried the babies was another safe day for them in the warm.
At our 28 week appointment we found out that "twin a" was breech. We were told that she could still turn, however I was not too sure. Would there be enough room for her to turn? So we had to accept that there was a good chance that our twins would be born via caesarean section. I had wanted a natural birth but I also knew that I wanted the safest possible delivery for the babies.
When I got to 31 weeks I noticed how I was getting a persistent itching on my hand and up my arms. I would sit and scratch so much I would make myself bleed. Nothing I did would ease it and it was constantly there. I rang the midwife and explained it to her and she sent me straight for blood tests. It was when the results came back I was diagnosed with Obstetric Cholestasis.
Obstetric Cholestasis is a liver condition that affects fewer than 1 in 100 women. It is when the bile salts that flow from the liver to the gut do not flow as they should and build up in the body. This increases the chance of premature birth. This added to our worries. I had to take some medication to help and have weekly blood tests to check the levels of bile in my blood. From this time on the hospital would become my second home. We had a couple of false alarms and spent many an hour there.
I was scheduled to have a caesarean section at 37 weeks.
At this stage I took each day as a bonus and another day of protection for my babies.
Soon after I had my diagnosis the Braxton hicks started. I had them so often they became part of our day and I would sit stroking my bump, telling them to stay in the warm where it was nice and safe and get bigger before coming to meet us.
When I got to 34 weeks I was absolutely enormous. Even walking became hard work. My bump was so heavy. When I walked I literally held my bump up for support.
When I was 34 weeks and 5 days I broke down to James. I was so tired, so big, uncomfortable and I'd just had enough. I remember saying to him
"I just want them to come now, I've had enough!"
After I'd had a good cry and a moan I was ok and rapidly backtracked and kept on saying
"I don't want them out, I want them to stay just where they are"
I was either trying to convince myself I was ok or I was saying it over and over in the hope that they would hear me and take notice!


The day before the twins arrived 34 weeks 5 days

That night in the early hours, a popping sound woke me up, then I felt something warm. I felt my leg and it was wet. This was it, it was happening today and there was nothing I could do about it. I woke James up and after the call to hospital and a call to my mum to come and look after Joseph we got my hospital bag and went to have our babies.
I was examined and was told that I was in labour but they needed to get steroids into me to help develop the babies lungs. It was also during this examination we were told that our little girl was still breech and our little boy was transverse (sideways) so a caesarean section would be done.
My labour progressed quickly and once I was dilated 4cms they knew that they would not be able to get the second dosage of steroids in me as they had wanted to. I was rushed down to theatre. I remember feeling so scared for my babies, would they be ok? Was it too early? Would they be big enough? The worrying thoughts were endless whilst I was on my own being prepared for the surgery. Once James was allowed back in he calmed me down as he always does.
It all seemed to happen so quickly. Isabella was delivered first. It felt like an eternity waiting to hear her cry, but in reality it must have only been a minute or so. But then we heard her. We quickly saw her and were told that she weighed 5lb 13oz then she was quickly taken into Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Taylor was born exactly 1 minute later weighing 6lb 0.5oz. He was not rushed off as quick and my husband got a cuddle for a couple of minutes. He looked so small, all we could do was stare at him. They soon wanted to take him to be with his sister. I told my husband to go and be with the babies while the surgeons finished my surgery and I went onto recovery.
Once I was out of recovery I was able to see Isabella and have a cuddle. She seemed so small. However I was told that I was not able to see Taylor as he was having breathing difficulties.
When I was returned to the ward I felt so empty and hollow. My babies had been delivered but they weren't with me. When the other new mums were returned to the ward with their babies my heart ached for my babies.
I was soon moved to another section of the ward which was for mum's whose babies were in NICU. After a week I decided to go home. Before I left I was able to have the babies with me for one night. It was the most exhausting night I have ever had and I did not get a minutes sleep, but I loved it. I had my babies by my side.


The morning after my first night with the twins before I left hospital

Leaving the hospital was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. But I am ashamed to say I was forgetting my other baby, Joseph. He needed his mummy at home. Leaving the hospital I was nearly on my knees in floods of tears. I felt like my heart was being ripped out. But once I got home I knew that I had made the right decision to leave.
Each day the babies grew stronger and their health improved. They were soon moved from the NICU room to the Special Care Baby Unit. Which was a huge step on the right direction.
After 12 days we were told that the twins were well enough to come home.
Those 12 days were the longest 12 days and went by in a complete blur of hospital visits. When we were told that the twins could come home we were overjoyed. It all became real as we were putting them in the car.


We had done it, they had survived and we were taking home two small, healthy babies.
At last we were all at home, all 5 of us, our perfect, not so little, family.


My advice for any expectant twin mum would be to take each and every day as it comes, get as much rest as you possibly can and try to enjoy your pregnancy. Carrying twins is hard work on your body but it is a truly magical feeling when you feel two little babies moving around inside.

This is just the start of an extremely exciting journey that you will be going on.

This post was written as a guest post for Kiddieclinic parenting forum who can be found at:

http://www.kiddieclinic.co.uk/

I also mentioned TAMBA, Twins & Multiple Birth Association who can be found at:

https://www.tamba.org.uk/

How Can We Only Have Months Left Together?

Today I am lost for words to describe how I am feeling.
I am not great at talking about how I feel but I have always been able to articulate better through writing. However I am really not sure where to start. So I will probably babble my way through this one!
Yesterday we received the devastating news that we only have months left with Grandad.
Months.......
How do I even begin to comprehend how a life can be measured in months?
For example, the last 18 months, which you could technically measure in years, have flown. I do not want the coming months to fly by. That I think is my fear. I do not want it to go quick as I am not ready to say goodbye. I don't think I'll ever be ready.
How can I make the time we have left count? First I think I need to come to the realisation that the cancer is winning and eventually it is going to win.
I had already promised myself that I would go and see them more often. I had been thinking about going every other week. I wish we could see them everyday but I know I am going to have to settle with every week. I want to see as many good days as I can, I want the children to have happy memories. I know that the twins will be too young to have any memory of their Gramps but Joseph will have.
Joseph......
How do I even start to prepare him for what will happen? As long as Grandad is "well" I won't say anything but when he does start to get ill I know that I will have to say something. I also know that he will be heart broken. How do you begin to tell a 9 year old that his Gramps is poorly and will not be getting better.
If I cannot get my head around it, how will he?
My Nanna and Grandad have always been a huge part of my life and they have always had a big presence in Joseph's life too.
Even though you know its not true, you always imagine them being there and cannot imagine a life without them.
I also worry about my Nanna. How will she cope? I don't think that she will.
How will my Dad cope?
How will my Mum cope?
How will my younger sister cope?
How will I cope? When it happens, I don't know that I will for a while, then again I may surprise myself as we will all have had prior warning.
I do appreciate that we have what ever time left but it does not make it all any easier.
I think that as a family we will all support each other as we are all close and with each others help we will get through this.
We are going to have some hard times coming and I thank God that I have got my hubby and children to keep me strong.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Baby Memories

Over the past week I have been working on a guest post that I have been asked to write about my twin pregnancy.
Tonight, I think, I have finished it.
Writing this and going back into my memory from my pregnancy has really brought back so many emotions. The strongest emotions have been pride and luck.
I feel so lucky that our babies were born as healthy as they were. Yes they did have some struggles at first and needed special care. But it was only for 12 days! They have gone from strength to strength.
I cannot wait to share the guest post that I have written and feel quite proud of it as it has come straight from the heart. All that needs adding to the post is a few pictures and I will be passing it on and sharing it.
Something else that's twin related and has really touched me today.
We were told today about a couple who are visiting the UK who have had some twins at 23 weeks. This was my greatest fear and my heart goes out to the couple who are going through this and I do keep on thinking about them. My thoughts and prayers go out to them and their tiny babies.

Mummy Failure

Oh dear, I have had a mummy failure today which resulted in Joseph having yet another late night and having treats!
Hubby had today at home with us and we had planned to go to our local park and house which we have an annual pass for. This was planned last week so Joseph had been looking forward to our trip out.
All we got from Joseph this morning was
"When are we going?"
"Are we going yet?"
But both me and hubby wanted to catch up with a few jobs so our trip out was going to be after lunch.
Sometimes I feel that I am trying to remember so many things my mind goes into overdrive, particularly when we are going out, I start to forget the silliest things. Or in today's case, the one thing that we actually needed!
As we were on our way going into the next village we had to turn back as I realised that I had not brought my purse. If was then that Joseph said
"Have you got the card mum?"
I went on to tell him
"It's in my purse, we're going back for it"
We got home, hubby ran in, got my purse and we were off again.
It wasn't until we got the the entrance and I asked hubby for the card we realised it wasn't actually in my purse.
Oh no, this was me well and truly in the bad books!
Thanks to hubby, I redeemed myself by telling him we would have yet another movie night and treats.
Thankfully this worked. We did find the card when we got home which is now safely in my purse so that we have it for another promised visit next weekend.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Silent Sunday

Busy Day, Bad Night

As predicted, yesterday was such a busy day.
Despite all the rushing around it was a great day!
After swimming, I took charge of the twins so that hubby could watch the football match that he had been wanting to watch for weeks. After lunch I made some more of my lemon and courgette cupcakes which have become quite a favourite. Especially with Isabella. She can say cake! Whenever she knows there is a cake around all you can hear from her is
"cake, cake!"
Whilst I was in the kitchen the match finished a draw and we were ready to head over to the field day. As I started to walk round with Joseph the heavens opened. So we had to make a quick dash home. This was not a good start to our outdoor plans! Joseph was so disappointed. We decided that we would still go to the BBQ that was planned as there would be some undercover area to shelter from the rain if need be.
On our way there the sun started to shine and the rain appeared to be going away.
It had been a long time since I had seen my old work colleagues. When I say a long time, it is probably only a few months, but it felt like a long time. As we got closer I got more and more nervous. I know that this is ridiculous, these are some of my closest friends, in fact they are my closest friends! When I was at work we all got on really well and when I was working full time, I spent the majority of my time with these people. I was nervous that I had changed too much, or that I would not know what to talk about. Come on, I'm a stay at home mum, when people ask me what I've been doing it is all children and home related. But as soon as I saw them all my worries vanished. It was as if I'd seen them last week. Of course I could still talk, the children had not taken over my brain completely! It was lovely to see everybody and I sincerely hope that we all get together again soon.
What also added to my worry was how the twins would react to new people. I really should not have worried about that either. Taylor was straight off to grab a ball to play with. Isabella was a little bit more reserved. For maybe 5 minutes she stood with me holding my hand. But then she too was off to play ball with Taylor. There was not one tear! I was so proud of all three of them. Joseph went straight off to play football and the twins relished the freedom. They loved being outdoors and being able to run around and have mummy and daddy chasing them left, right and centre! We must have looked quite comical. I'd start a conversation, then mid chat I'd dash one way to get one twins and hubby would dash in the other direction for the other. It was fun. I feel so blessed with our children. However it was nearing the twins tea time so we needed to be off. As I was saying my goodbyes I was hoping that it would not be the last time that everybody gets together as I had thought it would be. I guess it won't be if we all make an effort every now and then, and I hope that we all do.
We managed to get the twins home without falling asleep, which was a major concern for us. If they fall asleep at that time of the day you can guarantee that we will have a bad night. I sat in the back with them and had a fruit pouch on hand to give them to keep them going. Hubby decided to go home via the most bumpiest, uneven road there is. So you can imagine how hard it was it squeeze some fruit onto a spoon and feed the twins whilst trying to keep steady and stop bouncing around! We all giggled on the ride home, which also helped to keep them awake.
We were even home before the end of the field day and managed to call in for the last half an hour. Everything that we had planned may not have occurred in the original order thanks to the rain, but we did them. The rain did not beat us!
After the twins were in bed Joseph went out for a birthday tea party, my mum and dad arrived with an Indian take away. So we settled in with some great food, a drink, a movie and brilliant company for the evening.
After such a busy day I was looking forward to sleep. However our little angels had other ideas. Every time I started to fall asleep one of the twins would stir, cry out or loose their dummy. I was up and down until gone 1am. Then Taylor was in bed with us from about 4am, I think! Therefore I did not get the sleep that was needed last night. But I did not get up with Taylor until nearly 7am which is a lie in.
So here I am on a sunny Sunday morning writing whilst Taylor has his milk and watches Mickey Mouse, its a good start to the day.
I may not have my career as I did have but I couldn't be happier with my new career as mummy and housewife.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Jam Packed Day Ahead!

Wow what a busy day ahead we have got!
As usual we are starting the day off with Joseph's swimming lesson. So I am enjoying the time out before the madness of this afternoon descends upon us!
Today is the annual village field day which we will be going to. The one thing I really do appreciate about living in a village is the community spirit. Everybody knows each other and the children look out for each other. In the village school there is under 50 children so it is a very close knit school. When I was growing up we lived in Suffolk. I remember when I moved "up north" finding it so bizarre that people I didn't know would say hello and great you in the street. After spending so long moving about abroad it is a good feeling to be settled somewhere. I really cannot imagine us leaving the village where we live. It is a so peaceful and we feel extremely lucky when we sit and look out of our window to fields.
We also ot an invitation to a BBQ this afternoon. It seems everything has come at once and on the same day. So we will be dashing all over!
The invitation came from my boss when I worked before having the twins. I am really excited about seeing all of my old work colleagues, albeit a little nervous too! Not sure why, these have been some of my closest friends and were present at our wedding and were with me on my pregnancy journey. Since having the twins I have not been out socializing and have just preferred a quiet home life. But as soon as I got this invitation I knew that this was one I would regret missing if I did not go.
We are all going as a family which I am pleased about. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been out on my own since the twins arrived. We prefer to do things as a family and not as individuals. We have said that we will only go for an hour to see everyone as we need to keep the twins routine but Joseph has also got a tea party to go to this evening and we have my parents coming down for our customary Saturday night meal, drinks and a film.
So today is going to be jam packed. First things first, the boys have got a football match to watch on tv. After full time we will be on the go!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Family Friday

Today did not go as planned but has still been a good, quality, family day.
We went over to see my nanna and grandad. Unfortunately it was not a good morning for my grandad so lunch was called off. However we did spend a lovely couple of hours with them. I love seeing their faces when they are with the children. You can see in their eyes how much they mean to them and how much having that time with them means.
After our visit we went to collect my new glasses, which I love! When I first put them on it was like putting on a pair of beer goggles! The floor moved as I looked up and down much I felt quite dizzy. After wearing them for a couple of hours the difference in my vision is evident. How did I cope not wearing glasses? I think that I just go t used to my level of vision and got used to seeing things as I was. It is only when you see things better you realise how bad it was.
We took the children for their first walk around a shop. We had never taken them out without the pushchair, but today we were feeling brave. We took them for a walk around Toys R Us. They went mad when they saw the toys! Everything that had Minnie Mouse on Isabella immediately went to and the same for Taylor with Thomas the Tank.
All we heard from Isabella was
"Minnie, Minnie"
"Peppa, Peppa" (Peppa Pig)
"Yo, Ho, Ho" (Jake & the Neverland Pirates)
"Stuffin, Stuffin" (Doc McStuffins)
She did not know where to go to first.
Whereas Taylor knew exactly what he wanted to see. Thomas the Tank and he told us
"Choo, Choo"
In fact he did not want to leave. When hubby told him we were going he plonked his bum on the floor in protest and wouldn't walk. He was with Thomas toys galore!
We had a great day, spending time together as a family, enjoying being the five of us together.
Once the children were in bed it was time for date night. Movie, snacks and a bottle of wine.
What a perfect end to a quality family day.

The Weekend Arrives Early

The weekend has arrived early in our house!
Hubby has got a couple of days off so we have got an extra long weekend together. We have got a busy couple of days coming up.
Today we are mixing a couple if jobs in with a family day.
We are going to be spending quite a bit if the day with my nanna and grandad. I am keeping up with the promise I made to myself when we found out about my grandads cancer. I am really enjoying seeing them both more and I can tell the children are too. Grandad has got another appointment next week so it'll be good to see him before we know any more. Its going to be a relaxing day too. They are taking us all out for a late lunch so I won't need to cook later so that means no clearing up! Then me and hubby can start our weekly date night early!
Thankfully today my new glasses arrive which I am looking forward to. It was only after it was pointed out how bad my eye sight is that I've noticed. So clear vision here we come and hopefully the headaches will go too.
The day has started well, thanks to hubby getting up with the twins and letting me have a lie in. I've got a feeling today is going to be a good day!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Delicious Meal When The Cupboards Are Bare

This evening I have had to put a bit of extra thought into our dinner.
Our weekly shopping isn't delivered until tomorrow and I am pleased to say, that for once, I have used up what I bought last week.
But that did leave me a bit stuck as to what to cook for tea. I took some mince beef out of the freezer this morning and hoped for the best!
We had no potatoes or rice. We had pasta, but I did pasta last night, so wasn't going to cook it again tonight.
After looking in the cupboard, for what seemed like an eternity, I had an idea!
I had minced beef, spices, an onion, yellow pepper, a tin of chopped tomatoes, plain flour, a little bit of rice and the end piece of a block of cheese..........
Mexican chilli beef wraps with a side portion of rice!!!
I cooked the chilli and made some tortilla dough.
Tortilla dough is so simple and quick. All I needed was:
250g of plain flour
5g salt
150ml water
I mixed it up and gave it a quick knead. Once the dough had come together I separated the dough into about 6 pieces and rolled them out. They only needed a couple of minutes on each side in a hot frying pan and they were done.
Easy and quick!
I feel so much more pride and satisfaction in a meal that I have really had to think about. This certainly was a delicious meal made from the odd bits that were left in my cupboard and fridge mixed with some of my cupboard essentials and some imagination. I am sure that this will be a meal that I will be cooking again!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

I Cannot Get Sick!

Oh no!
As the afternoon has gone on I have been gradually going down hill. My head has been feeling so heavy and has felt like pressure is building up.
Hubby has not been feeling good all week so I am hoping and praying that I have not caught what he has got.
Gone are the days when if I wasn't very well I could curl up in bed and recuperate. If I get sick now I will still have to soldier on and take care of the kids and home.
I am hoping that my head is feeling like this because I need my new glasses. But that doesn't explain why my neck aches.
Here is my plan of action to zap any bug that is trying to get me:
* Vitamin c tablets
* Plenty of fruit and vegetables
* Fresh fruit juice
* Paracetamol
* Plus a wee dram of whisky for bed!
I cannot get sick and I will not get sick!!!!

Fun with Finger Food

This morning has been a kitchen morning. These have to be some of my most favourite mornings!
After yet another lie in until 6:45am, I have been on the go non stop.
I am trying to come up with new foods for the twins to try. In particular new finger foods.
Last week I let them go mad with a yogurt each. I put on their coveralls, gave them a spoon each and waited to see what they did. Taylor sat squeezing the tub and watching as it oozed out. Isabella placed the spoon in the tub, pulled it out and sat examining the yogurt on her spoon. I soon realised that it would be easier for them if I transferred the yogurt into a bowl.
This resulted in so much food fun!
They both enjoyed not just eating the yogurt but also the sensory experience! They were putting their hands in the bowl and squeezing yogurt through their fingers and using the yogurt to make patterns on the table. Isabella even decided that it would be fun to put yogurt on her face as if she was putting cream on. Yogurt was everywhere. It was all over the table, their chairs, their coveralls, faces and even in their hair! But they had so much fun and at the end of the day it is how they learn learn and it is easy to wash off.
Needless to say, once they had eventually finished, the only way to get them clean was to bath them!


Messy play is certainly going to be a lot of fun in the future!!!


Seeing how much they enjoyed feeding themselves got me thinking of ways to give them healthy, more independent foods at meal times, particularly lunch time.
Today I have made some homemade chicken nuggets by mincing up a chicken breast, adding a little paprika, making finger style shapes, rolling in egg and covering with breadcrumbs. I chose to mince the chicken instead of using chicken pieces as Taylor still has not got any molar teeth and I find that if their food takes a lot of chewing they immediately loose interest. So using mince has kept them quite moist and will be easy to hold and chew.
Lunch time savoury pancakes filled with a vegetable mash went down well. At first Taylor wasn't sure but after a few pieces he was wanting more and more! 
We just need to wait until tea time to see how my homemade chicken nuggets go down!
I feel a huge sense of pride watching how they are developing and growing but I also feel some sadness. My babies are growing too quick!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Day of Ups and Downs

Today started so well!
We were woken up by hubby's alarm clock and not the twins!
Yes, you have read that right, the twins actually slept until 6:55am!
We all had a lie in and it was divine. Just having an extra hours sleep was pure bliss. Fingers crossed as the sunrise gets later we will have more lie ins to come.
This morning was the twins bath morning. Whoever baths the twins normally ends up just as wet as they are. This morning was no exception. They certainly lived up to their expectation. Now that they are bigger I am able to bath them together which not only saves me time but they thoroughly enjoy competing to see who can splash the most.
This morning I could literally wring out my top! Isabella, as normal, started the splashing off. The more she splashed the more Taylor giggled and the more he splashed. Which resulted in lots of giggles and a soaked mummy and Joseph. Not to mention a dripping door and a puddle on the floor. For me, bath time is also a time that we can spend quality time together with no interruptions from the television.
After bath time it was was time to visit our chickens or "bock bocks" as Isabella calls them after the noise they make. She is just adorable, as we walk down the garden she knows where we are going and says "bock bocks" all the way until we get there.
All in all, we had a lovely morning, but this afternoon's appointment was looming!
Today I had to return to the dreaded dentist. After my check up last week I was told I needed work doing and today was the day it was being done.
It is just sods law, the first check up after my maternity exemption expires and I need to pay, work needs to be done.
I am a complete wimp when it comes to dental work. Especially if I need to have an injection.
I felt physically sick while I sat waiting to be called. Then I heard my name. I made my way up the stairs to the room where I was going to face one of my fears. As I sat in the chair waiting for the dreaded anaesthetic injection I was close to tears I am surprised I managed to keep it together. But I did, I kept my tears in. Just!
When I left the dentist, with my mouth still numb, I went to find my mum and the kids in the park. I got questions from Joseph about what was wrong, what I'd had done, why my mouth looked funny and so on. I've got to admit I did enjoy being able to say
"This is what happens if you do not look after your teeth"
All of the stress from this afternoon left me with not just a sore mouth, but a banging headache, which does not go well with toddler twins.
Thankfully after a couple of pain killers, a relaxed bedtime with the twins and some tv time with hubby my head is getting better and the day is finishing well.

Product Reviews

I am really looking forward to Mr Postman knocking on our door!
Yesterday I was selected for my first product review for Monster Mummies which I am soooo excited about. Obviously it is top secret and I cannot tell you what it is until I have got the product and have given it a good run for its money. But I can tell you I am excited to see what it is like!
I am also waiting for some lovely baby bath to try out. I'm sure we will all enjoy testing that one as bath time, in our house, is so much fun. Whoever is bathing the twins tends to leave the bathroom soaked from head to toe!
I've also heard this morning we are going to be getting some children's crisp snacks to try.
So it is going to be all go and I am extremely excited about not just testing the products but also writing the reviews. This is going to be an amazing opportunity to develop my writing skills.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Lemon & Courgette Cupcakes

I am posting again.
Yes, you guessed it!
They are soooo yummy!
Here is my recipe:

Ingredients

150g softened butter
150g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
Zest of 1 lemon grated
Juice of 1 lemon
150g courgette grated
Cream Cheese Icing
100g full fat creamed cheese
25g unsalted butter
160g icing sugar

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C / gas mark 5 / 375F
1: Cream the butter until smooth
2: Add the sugar and mix until creamed together
3: Add the lemon zest and juice then mix
4: Add the eggs one at a time with a spoon of flour to prevent the mixture separating
5: Add the courgette and sift in the flour and mix until evenly blended
6: Spoon into cupcakes cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean when put into the centre of the cake
7: To make the icing, using an electric whisk cream together the cream cheese and butter
8: Gradually add the icing sugar stirring it in with a spoon before finishing it off with the electric whisk
9: Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for an hour before piping on once the cupcakes have completely cooled

Enjoy x

A New Twist on a Classic Cake

I am constantly trying to come up with new twists on the classic cakes that we love. Especially when it means I can use what we have grown.
Over the weekend hubby pointed out to me that we had an abundance of courgettes both read to eat and in the process of growing. So I got my thinking cap on and tried to think of a new way that we can enjoy this versatile vegetable.
I was thinking of flavours that courgettes like to be with. I came up with the usual courgettes and mushrooms, courgettes and onions and courgettes and potato. But this was nothing different for us.
I have seen in the past recipes that use courgettes and lemons.
This got me thinking, the one classic cake that we love is lemon drizzle cake, how would a lemon and courgette cake taste?
I made my lemon drizzle cake mix and added 150g of grated courgettes to give it the twist!
I have made these as cupcakes and I am going to make a cream cheese icing to put on the top once they have cooled.
They have just come out of the oven and they smell delicious!
Mmmm can't wait to taste them!
If they are good I will post my recipe and pictures. If I don't post about them again you know that they did not taste as I had planned!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Silent Sunday

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Spoiling the Kiddies to Stress in the Car Park

Hubby likes to say that it is my fault that the children got treats yesterday.
But if he is honest, Taylor melted his heart!
Of course if we buy for one that ends up in buying for three!
Yesterday we decided to go out to our local retail park. Hubby is making a lot of changes in our garden and wanted to look for some screening. As soon as we got there Joseph wanted to use the toilet so I suggested going into the toy shop so that he could use theirs. I thought we'd have a quick walk round, look at a few toys, get ideas for Joseph's birthday and Christmas. What we were not expecting was Taylor's reaction to seeing a Thomas the Tank toy. As soon as he saw the toy that hubby was showing him, his face lit up and he grabbed it saying
"ta, ta"
"choo choo, choo choo"
He did not want to let it go!
We have recently noticed that Taylor is trying to say more and more. So as soon as we heard choo choo we were so proud. The more he said it the more proud we felt and we knew that this would be a toy that he would love. We cannot just buy for one so we told Joseph that he could pick something too. After picking up various toys he eventually settled with a Skylander Giant that he is missing from his collection. Unfortunately all of the toys that we knew Isabella would like were more than we really wanted to spend. So we decided to go to the supermarket to have a look.
When we go we normally park in the parent and child parking spaces as they usually keep the twin trolleys there and getting three children out of the car we need the additional space. When we drove in there were was someone leaving one of the spaces but there was a man in his 50's waiting for the space. Yes he had, what looked to be, his child with him. However his child looked to be about 17 years old! I don't think he quite got the concept of parent and child parking! So I didn't hide the fact that I wasn't happy. He saw me looking and tried to say that his child was in the store. I did later see him inside and yes he was still without a small child. We got parked up, in a regular parking space, and walked over to get a trolley. When we got the where the twin trolleys are kept we were shocked to see that there were plenty of single seat trolleys but no twin ones. The hunt began! We went back to the other end of the store to see if any had been left there, yet again, plenty of single seat ones. Hubby went off to search the car park for a trolley. If I was on my own I would have left without doing my shopping, all because there were no trolleys that could accommodate my children. Surely the majority of family shoppers have more than one child. Or are there only a few families that actually take their children shopping with them? I felt quite discriminated against. Luckily hubby found one in the car park. While I saw waiting for hubby to return I saw 2 ladies walking to their car with a trolley full of alcohol. Where was their car parked? Yes, you've guessed it, in the parent and child space. As they were filling their boot I was shaking my head at the trolley situation when I heard
"what are you shaking your head at?"
So I look and yes she was talking to me, so I snapped back
"what is your problem? I was not shaking my head at you!"
What I really wanted to say was
"I wasn't shaking my head at you but come to think of it I should be shaking my head at you! That's a parent and child space, where your child? Do you realise how hard it is with more than one child? No, you're just too lazy to park further away, inconsiderate people like you drive so many parents mad"
That's the nice way I would have put it! But I didn't lower myself to their level but she obviously had a guilt complex and knew that she was in the wrong.
As we couldn't find a toy for Isabella we settled on some Minnie Mouse clothes, which she was over the moon with and kept shouting
"Minnie, Minnie!"
Even though we had the stress in the car park and spent way more than we had planned it is all worth it when we see our three children enjoying their treats!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Parenting Forums

I have visited a few parenting forums in the past.
I have replied to a few questions that have been posted.
But I have never posted a question.
I have always either muddled through or have seen a similar sort of question asked by someone else. I am not very good at asking for help, I never have been. It not that I am too proud, its more that I don't like to bother people with my problems or admit I could do with a little help or advice.
At the moment I do not need help but a little bit of advice would be nice. Also a bit of understanding would also be good.
I have posted before about the twins climbing. It feels like we are constantly saying:
"no"
"get down"
"stop climbing"
But how do we stop this?
We have been telling them no and putting them onto the floor, but it is becoming a game for them. They giggle then go and do it again! Isabella is developing a defiant streak, we shouldn't be surprised, both me and hubby are stubborn, but as we are telling her no, she is staring straight at us with a look as if to say
"what are you going to do?"
I really cannot remember Joseph climbing as much as they do but of course there was only one Joseph. Now we have two climbing toddlers!
I feel as a mum of twins it is often hard to get advice. The majority of sites that I have been on do not cater for twins and multiples. Also the majority of health visitors do not have the knowledge to help with "multiple" problems.
So I am considering posting on a parenting forum.
It would be nice to hear how other "multiple" families have coped. New parents of multiples always ask "does it get easier?" in some ways yes it does but in other ways no it doesn't. It just changes and you have new challenges!
I have recently joined a new parent forum that has been set up by the people that brought`us the fantastic Gumigem (which I am a huge fan of) called Kiddieclinic  ( http://www.kiddieclinic.co.uk/ )
I feel quite different about this forum as it is new and it feels more personal. To my delight and surprise there is a section for "multiples" as well as forums specifically for different age groups all the way from anti-natal through to terrible teens, special needs and multiples. If the multiples section wasn't included this probably would have been a forum that I'd look at and then forget. For me, it has it all covered, I can look at forums that are relevant for Joseph's age and on the same site, read posts that may relate to the twins! It will be good to "chat" to other mums of twins who will no doubt understand how life is when you are running around after two curious toddlers but also be there to offer support to new mums of twins. Believe me it is a daunting experience and just speaking to someone who knows what it is like makes all the difference.
I know that it will get easier as the twins get older and have more of an understanding but I am not under the misconception that it will ever be stress free, with any children 1, 2, 3 or even 8 there is going to be stresses and worries. As they come, as parents, we learn to adapt and we cope. At the end of the day all of the changes are just our children developing and growing as people.

Disclaimer: Kiddieclinic have had no influence on my post and I have not received any payment for this post. This is just my honest opinion and thoughts.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Exhausting Day

The only way that I can describe how I felt at the end of yesterday is exhausted!
I spent the day catching up on house jobs. First thing in the morning i even got chance to potter around outside. I basked in the tranquillity of the our garden. Looking back, this was the calm before the storm!
The next lot of potatoes have been planted and I started to clear space for the broccoli, cauliflower and leeks. Even though summer isn't over we are thinking about what winter and spring vegetables we are going to have. I even managed to tackle the green house vegetables. The twins were getting tired tired so they sat really well, but their big brother was entertaining them! After snipping away at the abundance of excess leaves I found that we had a few tomatoes ripening and a huge cucumber that was hiding. Hubby was giving up on the peppers, however, after having a clear up I discovered some tiny peppers that are starting to grow.
Over the last few weeks, I hate to say, that I have neglected the beautiful sweet peas so that will be my garden job today.
After my relaxing start to the day I rapidly evolved into a manic mum, rushing to get jobs done before the twins sleep so that I wouldn't wake them. Then when they were asleep I was rushing to get as much ironing done as possible before they woke up. Rushing was my day! Once the twins woke we had to rush lunch so we could get Joseph to the tennis session he had booked.
The whole day was just manic.
I lost track of how many times I had to tell the twins to get down. Anything that they can climb onto, they are on. If it's not the settees, it's the chairs, if it's not the chairs, it's their toy table, if it's not their toy table it's the futon! They are all over the place! Gone are the days when I could calmly leave the room. After a couple of bad nights I was feeling well and truly frazzled!
Thankfully I was only up once with Taylor in the night but if I put him in bed with us, he snuggles up and goes back to sleep so I get more sleep too. I am feeling ready for the madness that the twins and Joseph bring to life. Whether I'll be feeling like this in an hour or so is a completely different matter so for now I'll just enjoy hearing my 3 beautiful children squeal and giggle as they play together!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Horribly Expensive Day

I knew I'd be spending money today. But I didn't realise how much.
After going through all of the routine checks at the opticians I was told that my eye sight, particularly my left eye, had deteriorated. I knew that it had got worse but I was not aware of the extent. I was told to cover my right eye and just use my left to read the letters and I was shocked to see, or should I say, to not see, that I could not read a single letter! Thanks to the extent of the muscle deterioration I need a completely different prism in my lens. As he is telling me all of this all I could think was
"Oh no, this is going to be expensive!"
I ridiculously asked him,
"What causes this, what can I do to help it?"
He asked me if I get tired a lot. I could not help but laugh at this question! I nearly replied
"Errrmm of course I get tired, I have twins!!!!!"
But settled with
"Yes, quite a bit"
So basically I need to be less tired, if only it was that simple.
I chose my new frames, ordered my lenses and left feeling quite depressed. So much for leaving with a bargain!
This afternoon we continued with the check ups and visited the dentist. Today was the twins first visit. We really were not sure how they would react to someone who they have never met before trying to look at their lovely little teeth. But they did really well. We were told that they are both a bit behind with their teeth but with them being 5 weeks premature its to be expected but they'll catch up. As per usual Joseph had a clean bill of health. I just wish I had!
My check up resulted in a £50 bill for work that needs doing! I couldn't believe how much it was going to cost. If it had been on a different day I may have reacted differently but after this mornings sting on the credit card for my glasses I was not expecting any more. There I am stressing and my hubby, who is the calming element in our relationship, just tells me to not worry he has it sorted! He just knows how to calm me down and takes the weight off my shoulders. I'd be a wreck without him and feel truly blessed to have him by my side.
Here's hoping we have a good night tonight as hubby is back to work and I have got lots of baking to do in the morning!

Tired Eyes

Well our little tag team were at it again last night.
It has been a few days since we have been up and down in the night. It all started at about 1:30am, from then on, if it wasn't one in bed with us, it was the other. Then little man was ready for up at 5:30!
So here I am. My first coffee is all gone, Taylor's milk is all gone and its not even 6:30 yet!
Having tired eyes is not a great start to the day as I am having an optical eye test this morning. I have worn glasses for a few years now. When I was at work I wore them as I should but since becoming a stay at home mum they have become more of a fashion accessory than anything else! However the last few weeks I have noticed that I am putting them on more and more because I feel that I need them on. So we will see what the damage is today.
In the past I have chosen expensive, designer glasses. I love the frames I have got at the moment and would love to keep them. But this time I am going to have to look for not just a stylish pair that suit me but also a pair that we can afford. Now that I am not working I know to stay clear of my usual section.
Todays challenge is to walk out of the opticians, for the first time ever, feeling like I have got a bargain and happy with what I have got.
Fingers crossed....

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Yummy Post

Apart from my family my other love in life is cooking and baking. For me there is no greater compliment than seeing people enjoy what I have cooked and baked for them.
The last couple of days, with hubby being home, I have enjoyed some quality kitchen time.
This year I have started to bake all of our bread. At first it started out as a challenge as it was something that I had never tried to bake before. However, after the first loaf, I became enthralled with how the dough changes and transforms and becomes one of the most staple elements of our diets. I get such satisfaction from putting all the different, individual ingredients together, mixing with my hands, kneading and feeling the change within the dough and creating a food that everyone will love. I do like to get creative with my cooking and baking and I often take a basic recipe and add what I think will go well and create my own twist.
This weekend I was making some bread and decided to make a wholemeal loaf for the children but I also made an olive and seeded bloomer which was delicious served with some tangy chives and onion cheese and blue Stilton.
Every weekend my parents come down and I always bake a cake. Both my dad and hubby are huge cake fans so it is unthinkable to not serve a cake. This week I tried a twist on a lemon drizzle cake. This week I made a St. Clements drizzle cake. I love to make a moist orange sponge but my lemon drizzle cakes have been going down a storm. So what better way to add a twist, I mixed the two! This created such a light, moist cake and one that I definitely will be baking again. Needless to say by the time my parents left there was only one piece left!
It certainly does sound like all I have done during these last couple of days is bake cakes!
Today we went to have lunch with my father in law for his birthday. Now, it really would be rude to go cakeless. So I baked his favorite. Carrot cake. This too is my absolute favorite cake. But, believe it or not, this is a cake that I have never dared bake until yesterday. It is extremely laborious preparing all of the ingredients and I think that this is one of the reasons that I have shied away from it. But I am always up for a culinary challenge and it was for my father in law. Yes it took me forever to grate the carrots and I felt like a work out had been done on my arm once the were done, but it was so worth it. I was over the moon with the results and this will not be the last one that I bake!
I do have one challenge that I have not conquered but I will not give up. My nanna used to make the most amazingly, scrummy, fruit scones and I have her trusted recipe. However mine never turn out like hers did. Sadly she is no longer with us. We lost her 3 days after the twins were born so I cannot ask for her advice. One thing is for sure, I will keep practicing until I have got them perfect! That is going to be my next bake this week, we'll see how I get on this time.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Ha Ha Rain!! You Can't Stop Us!!

We woke up this morning to rain. It was not just a bit of rain, it was chucking it down.
This week hubby is not at work until Thursday so we have been looking forward to spending some quality time together.
Today we had planned a picnic and a walk around the local house and gardens. But looking at the weather this morning we very much doubted that we would be going anywhere!
However, after we had our carpet picnic, as opposed to our planned outdoor picnic in the sun, the rain eased and eventually stopped. We saw our opportunity and made a dash to the car and went out.
We went to the house and gardens as we had planned. We have got so many happy memories from the house. I have been taking Joseph there since he was toddling about. I have many pictures and videos of him having fun and I look forward to having more as he grows and of the twins as they become more aware of the natural world around them. I too have many happy childhood memories of being taken through the gardens by my nanna and grandad.
I love walking through the wooded area, smelling the fresh earthly smells and listening to the wind rustling through the trees. We enjoyed a peaceful walk through the gardens and woods. We strolled within the walled gardens stealing ideas and inspiration for our garden and took the children through a bamboo tunnel.
I thrive on moments like todays outing, being with hubby and giving our undivided attention to our family.
After we had explored the gardens we let the children explore the play ground.
Joseph climbed, zoomed down slides, swung like he was trying to reach the clouds and spun like a spinning top on the roundabout. No piece of apparatus was untouched my Joseph!
The twins, on the other hand, we're thrilled to just be on the swings. With every push they squealed "weee, weee" with excitement.
The rain had dampened our hopes of a day out when we woke up but it did not stop us getting out and having a fantastic afternoon together.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Girls and Boys - Noticing the Differences

One of the things I love about having boy/girl twins is watching how differently they are developing. When you sit and watch them you can certainly see the differences.
But is it simply down to their gender?
Many seem to think that this is the case.
Isabella is very attentive, she thinks about things and talks no end. I am going to, when I get chance, write down all of the words that she does know. She is 17 months but knows so many words! Isabella is quite independent too. Already, when she doesn't get whats, she wants she screams and stamps her feet! I can see that we are going to have a little diva on our hands!
Whereas Taylor is a lot more physical. Taylor has led the way with the climbing, crawling and walked first. He has no fear! He also happily sits and plays with cars or trains. He doesn't say much bless him, but Joseph didn't either at his age. Taylor is a lot calmer and chilled.
Taylor is certainly more of a mummys boy but Isabella is definitely a daddys girl.
So is this is all down to their gender?
Part of me thinks that it is, but I also believe that a lot is down to each individual child regardless of their gender.
It is the same with gender specific toys.
We have "girls" toys, "boys" toys and "unisex" toys.
We do have a pink Minnie Mouse tub and a blue Mickey Mouse tub but toys are not separated. They both play with all of the toys. Isabella often sits with the cars or trains and Taylor often sits and plays with the tea pot. They do not differentiate between the two. This makes me wonder if the gender specific toys are for the parents to specify what their children "should" be playing with according to society. Whereas children do not see a toy, at this age, and think "I cannot play with that, it is for a girl/boy" a toy is a toy and it is a way for them to discover the world around them.
It is going to be so interesting to watch how the twins continue to develop and change. The one thing I have learnt is to not compare them to each other. Each child is going to develop in their own time at their own level.
All 3 of our children are different and have their own individual personalities. It is our job to help them grow into polite, respectful but most importantly happy, contented people. This is, undeniably, the most rewarding job in the world and the one that I am most proud of!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Manic Couple of Days

What a couple of days we have had. I really do not know how I am still sane. The twins have changed into climbing explorers and escape artists and Joseph has just been full on.
If feel that I may have jinxed everything with my post that said it was getting easier! I have not had a moment to even blog! As soon as we've had some peace and quiet I've been shattered and ready for bed.
Taylor has discovered that not only can he crawl with his seat still strapped on but he can also walk with it on. The chairs were my safety net that has now been whipped away. Whenever I wanted to keep the twins in one place I would put them in their chairs. So these last two days have been exhausting days. I have been rushing around trying to get house jobs done before they can get into any mischief. Believe me this has been a huge challenge and a lot of jobs have just not been done. But on the other hand I have had even more time with the children. Our house is rarely spotless and the floors are always covered with toys but I like to think that we have got happy and contented children which is much more important.
After all of Thursday's stress from a bad night on Wednesday and feeling like we live in a mad house, hubby suggested asking my mum and dad to come down for a BBQ. This was to our first BBQ in our own house. This time, chilling in the garden, with the people closest to me and a glass of wine helped me no end. We had a lovely couple of hours talking, laughing and reminiscing. Apart from my hubby, my parents have a huge role in my life. We missed 7 years together when I lived abroad and from the moment that I moved back to England we have been close. Even more so when I moved back into the village. I really cannot imagine living anywhere else. I feel so lucky to have them just down the road.
Yesterday I made the trip to see my nanna and grandad. This is the first time that I have felt able to go on my own with the twins. I normally go with either my mum and dad or hubby, if he is not at work. Our twins have always been quite shy babies. If they are around people that they see regularly, they are ok, but if they haven't seen you in a while or they don't know who you are, they are hard work. They just want to be held and scream at the "new" faces. This may be my fault as we do not go far from home. When Joseph was younger I took him to different play groups purely because he was, at that time, an only child and I wanted him to socialize. I don't do this with the twins. I feel that they have each other to play with. We did go, a couple of times, to a local playgroup to get them weighed and as we were the only multiple family it felt like we were a circus show. The other mums, who just had the one baby, found it fascinating to sit and watch and stare at the mum with twins. It made me feel like people were judging and watching to see how I coped. For any new mum, whether you have multiples or singletons, this is hard. So I did shy away from the groups. But also, anyone who has multiples, will understand that going anywhere require meticulous planning and organisation and when you throw in the school pick ups it is hard! With two clingy, shy babies it would have caused more stress than enjoyment.
I felt that this visit the twins would be ok as we were all there, as a family, at the weekend. I knew that they would still be fresh in the twins memory. Thankfully I was not wrong. Taylor went walking straight in and even Isabella never made fuss. This was probably the first time that they have interacted and played with their great grandparents in this way and I could tell that they were over the moon with this. Since having the news about my grandad I have been thinking a lot. I am going to take the children over so much more than I did do. I have come to this decision, not just for the children and my grandparents, but for me too. I want to spend as much time with them both before times get really bad. It is hard to imagine how we will all cope when he does get poorly so that is why I want to see as many good days as I can.
I want to create memories for all of us to treasure. We certainly achieved that yesterday.