8 months in with Two under Two

So Francis is 8 months old! Where on earth that time has gone, I have no idea. He’s turned into the most beautiful, bubbly baby and nearly always gets comments about how smiley he is. He has just got the most wonderful and loving nature and I can see it growing each day. He is constantly giving kisses and cuddles, so I’m covered in baby spit pretty much 99% of the time.

However, I’m a full believer in sharing the hard stuff as well as the good. Being a mother is such an arduous journey that I feel like if I was only to tell our lives in sweetness and light it would be a complete lie. Life with two under two is pretty overwhelming at times…. most of the time actually!

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Fatherhood, Feminism and Family Life

It’s lovely when I bump into people I know and they take a genuine interest in how my two boys and I are doing. Most just go through the motions, asking the obligatory questions before they get to the point they were really trying to make. And I get it, (honestly, I do) talking about nappies and nap times really isn’t the most riveting for most people and that’s absolutely fine… Its actually a most welcome change to talk about the outside world! But every conversation has a similar pattern. Mike gets asked the following:

“How is work” “How are sales?” “Business good?”…. you get the idea.

I get:

“How are you? How are the boys?” *Insert some sort of generic question about nappies, sleeping patterns, being tired and am I going back to work*.

Which is THEN followed by some sort of version of the following…

“How do you manage?” “Have you got a good balance?” and something along the lines of “How do you cope when you come home to all the housework?”

Firstly, lets get one thing straight. My contribution to housework isn’t that extensive, lets not just all assume that because I’m the Mum I do everything in this department. It’s always the last priority on my list and I’m very lucky (sometimes) to have an OCD freak of a partner who can’t really stand mess so will clean it up before I do. I’m basically inherently lazy when it comes to housework unless it involves cooking, so long as its clean but messy then I’m okay with that.

Secondly, (to the hard stuff) I love the fact that because of certain movements like feminism, the role of the father in the family is so much more hands on. Increasingly I am seeing my social feeds filled up with doting dads that change nappies, do the housework and spend quality time with their families. So then begs the question; How do they cope? How do they establish a good work/life balance? And how do they cope being away from their family during the day?

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My Second Baby Guilt

I came across this photo the other day and it brought back so many memories and feelings that I held over my pregnancy. This was taken the day before I went into labour with Francis and I was snuggling with George on the sofa. I knew Francis was coming and labour was imminent because I had all the signs that I had had with George. You can’t tell in the photo but I was quietly crying. I was soaking up every last bit of that moment because I was convinced that by the time Francis came, he either wouldn’t want anything to do with me or I’d never get the opportunity again. I was crying because I felt guilty that these were my last moments with George as an only child.

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Our Weaning Journey: Baby-led Weaning and Purees

When we first came to look at weaning George, several of my friends and health visitor recommended trying Baby-led Weaning. This is an alternative to the traditional method of weaning with baby rusks, baby rice and purees and the more I read about it, the more I felt that this method really suited our family and the way we were bringing G up. Obviously, how you wean your baby is entirely up to you and a mother knows what suits her family but I found that this very much appealed to us!

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Blog Overhall!

  So I’ve had a bit of a blog spring clean – name change and all! I basically started this blog as GCandMe (George, Cancer and Me) because I thought I would blog more about my Cancer and treatments. But like everything when you have kids, they completely take over. In addition, it’s not just George anymore; we’ve got a new bundle of joy now called Francis! Here he is being cute and moody.  

 
So why Fox and The Elephant? It’s simple really, when George was born we bought this lovely felt fox head to go on his wall (it it’s not as creepy as it sounds) and he’s grown up loving anything to do with foxes. When Francis was born, we bought the same but an elephant instead and no doubt he’ll point and laugh at it in the future just like G does.

  
 

So there. A new blog with a new(ish) baby, that I’m promising to myself I’ll update a bit more. I’ve got so many drafts sat here but never quite have the confidence to upload them so hopefully that will change too! There’s many daily challenges and stories of dealing with two children under two years old, let me tell you that. 
  

Get an Annual Pass!!!

I’m going to keep this post/excited rant short and sweet. This month I did something spectacular for the kids (and me). I bit the financial bullet and got an annual pass to a local attraction and it was probably the best thing I’ve done this year (obviously I’m exaggerating… maybe).

We’ve lived with my Mum for a few months now, and unlike when we lived in Bristol, there’s no local attractions that are free. In Bristol (and in pretty much all big cities) there are things like City Farm’s which are great days out for the kids but in the country theres only so many times I can financially take them to soft play on a rainy day; especially when its rained 6 out of 7 days in the week. Putting the cost of getting inside soft play aside, theres the amount of coffees and lunches that I have to buy whilst there and before I know it I’m spending £20 a day.

So I decided that I’d get an annual pass to Longleat which is half an hour away from where we live. The cost was £88 online and I’ve been about 6 times already, so I’ve made back the cost of the what I’d have spent on tickets in a month easily. It makes the day go so much faster, coupled with the drive there and back and the kids are exhausted by the time they get back and just want to relax or sleep whilst I cook dinner – perfect!

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Beer BBQ Pulled Pork with Appleslaw

I made this the other day in an attempt to try and do something creative with the boneless leg of pork we had, other than just a roast. It turned out to be a pretty kickass dinner so I’m sharing the love! The Appleslaw (coleslaw with apples) on the side provided a lovely acidic sweetness to cut through the pork too and served with crusty bread.

Note: I kind of make up recipes as I go along so quantities might not be exactly the same as I did but taste and adjust as you go along!

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11 Tips On Dealing With a Small Age Gap

I got an email a few weeks ago from another mummy asking for tips on dealing with a small age gap between siblings. I wanted to wait a while because basically I was still figuring it all out myself. When we found out we were pregnant again when George was 6 months old I’ll admit I did have a good old cry about it. Mainly because I felt like I was betraying George and depriving him of my love and attention. In fact, the day before I gave birth we were snuggled up on the sofa together and I was pouring my eyes out because it was one of the last times I would spend with George as a lonely child. I suppose you can never imagine loving another child as much as your first – but you do! Looking back now, it just seems silly because although its incredibly hard we’ve all adjusted to having another little one in our lives and I adore my growing family more than ever.

So basically this is what I have learnt along the way so far and these little nuggets are how I get through the days without killing or seriously maiming someone. Remember, all of this I’ve made up as I’ve gone along through trial and error so I don’t know if they’ll be useful to anyone else!!

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1. Routine, Routine, Routine.

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Mudpies and Spaghetti Worms: The importance of messy play.

Spring has finally come to Bath! The sun has been out and the weather warm enough that I don’t need to put a million layers on G before we go outside. I’ve promised myself I’m going to make more of an effort to contribute to this blog as often as possible… After all I’ve always got something to say!! And its great for G to look back on; sort of like a diary.

As soon as the sun came out this week, so have G and I. Being heavily pregnant its now hard for me to get around and play with him like I used to so being able to pop him out in the garden and watch him run around like a mad child was really rewarding. He’s happiest when he’s in an open space, unrestricted and no one to tell him where to go or what to do (I call it ‘gentle encouragement’ to not break every ornament in Grandmas house). Watching him play outside made me realise how restrictive winter has been on us and how important messy play is.
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Dear George….

Dear George,

I can’t believe a whole year has passed since you came into this world. You can do so many things now that it seems decades ago your little wrinkly old man face would squint up at me.

You look more beautiful and cheeky every day. Your hair is like Daddy’s (which was a surprise!) and has grown into a gorgeous shade of dark auburn which gleams streaks of gold in the sunlight. You’re now the proud owner of seven little pearly white teeth which you show off at any given moment. Continue reading