2 August 2015

Henry at 21 Months

Character: Henry is a loving and kind hearted little boy. He loves cuddles and is very caring with both toys and other children. He's such a well behaved child at playgroup, waiting patiently for his turn and sharing with others. He loves to immerse himself in play and gets lost in a world of imagination with his cars and trains. He truly is a delight to be around and brings us so much joy each day.

Health: Thankfully, besides the silent reflux and milk allergy he had as a tiny baby, Henry has been very healthy since. He's only had two colds in the last 21 months, and has coped well with teething. With his second birthday approaching, it means vaccination time, which I'm a little nervous about, as he's so much more aware of his surroundings since the last time someone stuck a needle in him!

Food: Henry's going through a bit of a fussy food stage. When he was little, he ate everything and was open to trying new things, but now he's a lot more selective in what he will and won't eat. It's frustrating when you spend time making something and then he won't eat it, so for now we're just sticking to the things we know he likes and hoping it's just a phase!

Sleep: Still a solid 12 hours sleep each night, with an afternoon nap at 1.30pm which can last anything from an hour to 2.5 hours.

Weight/Size: We've not had Henry 'officially' weighed for a long time, but our scales tell us he's around 28lbs. People often comment on how tall he is, yet he still fits into a lot of 12-18 month clothing, which is a little confusing. I'm unsure of his size when it comes to trousers as it's too hot to wear anything but shorts here!

Likes: Any vehicle with wheels, playing in his teepee, Play-Doh, Melissa & Doug sticker books, running, taking a piggy back ride on daddy and pretending he's a horse, being outside.

Milestones: The biggest milestone that's happened over the last few months is that Henry has started to use more two and three word combinations. He's started to make us laugh with little things he says, and it's a joy to witness his language development. It seems like just yesterday he was a sweet newborn sleeping in our arms and now he is starting to put words together to talk about his world, it truly is incredible. His latest 'sentences,' are "sit with me," "dada, read book" and "me stairs up." He also likes to say "night night, mama," when we put him to bed. He loves to sing the chorus of Old McDonald, with a loud and enthusiastic 'EIEIO,' which is just too cute!

Henry can now identify and name a rectangle, star, heart, circle and oval. He likes to find shapes around the house, pointing out that there are hearts on our bedspread and that the Pop Tart I was eating was a rectangle shape! He's coming along well with learning colors, and can correctly identify and name red, blue, white, grey, purple, brown and yellow. He loves to bring me his toys and tell me their colour. He's started to understand opposites, knowing the difference between big and small, and up and down.

Henry is growing in his independence daily, which I especially notice at the playrgroup we attend a few times each week. He'll try things on his own and doesn't always want my help doing things which he finds difficult. He loves other children and is now confident enough to run up to them, wave and say 'hi.'

The little things we love:
- How when we tell Henry his dinner is ready, he throws his arms up in the air, shouts 'yay!" and runs to his highchair.
- His attempts to jump, which always turn out as a quick lift to tiptoes with his arms in the air.
- How he strokes his dressing gown and says, 'ooh, nice.'
- His enthusiastic reactions. Bring him some apple and you'll be greeted with, 'Oh WOW. Apple.'
- The way he takes us to the pantry and when we ask what he would like, he puts his finger to his chin and goes, 'ummm,' while he thinks about it!

26 July 2015

Pregnancy Update - 23 Weeks

How far along? 23 weeks + 2

Total weight gain/measurements: After losing almost a stone due to severe nausea and sickness in the first trimester, my weight remained static for another 2 months, but I've now finally started gaining and I've returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. It's a relief to be gaining again as I enjoy getting bigger in pregnancy. I remember how breastfeeding made the weight fall off and I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight about 6 weeks after having Henry. Although when I stopped breastfeeding I gained 7 pounds in a month - I clearly didn't realise just how much it was doing!

Bump: My bump (or lack of) caused a lot of worry this time around. With the twins and Henry, I had a bump at 9 weeks, in maternity jeans by 12 weeks and had people asking me about my pregnancy from 14 weeks. This time, my bump (which was clearly just pregnancy bloating) disappeared at 15 weeks and I was back to wearing regular clothes. I was so flat that I was still sleeping on my tummy at 18 weeks, and I was incredibly anxious that my waters had broken without me realising (as they did with Noah at 12 weeks). We spoke to our lovely OB/GYN and arranged to have a scan earlier than planned, and thankfully everything was as it should be - plenty of amniotic fluid and baby was wriggling around happily.

It makes me wonder if I always carry small at the beginning, I just haven't realised, as the first time I was carrying two babies and the second time I got pregnant again so quickly after giving birth to the twins that my uterus didn't have time to shrink back fully. Thankfully, my bump suddenly popped out of nowhere at 20 weeks, completely easing my worries and it's now about the same size it was with Henry at this stage.

Medical: We saw a maternal fetal medicine specialist for my 20 week scan due to losing William and Noah from PPROM. She prescribed me progesterone, which helps women carry to term who have had previous premature births, which I'm relieved to be taking, as in the UK they simply take the 'wait and see' approach, which causes a lot of anxiety.

Maternity clothes: I'm very much in need of maternity clothes at this point, but I'm really struggling to find anything I like. The high street options are as disappointing as ever, so I've been making do wearing stretchy vests paired with some maternity shorts, as it's so hot here in Virginia to wear anything else. I'm on the search for some pretty dresses for our holiday, but I may just do what I did for my maternity shoot with Henry, and order a non-maternity dress, just in a bigger size. 

Sleep: Sleep is generally alright, although I still need to get up once a night to go to the bathroom and every so often I have very painful hips from sleeping on my side. 

Miss anything? Being able to wear all my pretty summer clothes that are lying unused and unloved in my closet. We finally live somewhere hot enough to wear them and I can't!

Movement: I've been feeling little flutters since 14 weeks, but now at 23 weeks they are full on kicks and turns, felt and seen on the outside. I love feeling our baby girl move and reminding me she's ok in there.

Food cravings: I recently went through a phase where I craved sweets, which is something I never usually eat. Skittles were my sugar rush of choice, but it seems to have passed now and my new current craving is pasta with tuna. I can't seem to get enough and I'd happily eat it every day if I didn't need to limit my tuna intake due to the mercury content.

Gender: A sweet baby girl

Symptoms: The heartburn started this week, but besides that, no symptoms to report. The second trimester is generally the most enjoyable one, and I'm finding that again with this pregnancy. I'm glad to have said goodbye to the extreme fatigue and sickness the first trimester brought, and looking forward to the third trimester.

Looking forward to: Buying a lot more for our little girl. So far we haven't been able to resist picking up a few cute baby clothes and some decor for her nursery. I have a huge wish list on my dedicated Pinterest board, but we're going to wait a few more weeks before we go into full on buying mode. I know how I'd like her nursery to look so I'm very much looking forward to getting started on it once I'm in the third trimester.

12 July 2015

Baby Girl Nursery Wishlist

I love browsing Pinterest and Instagram for nursery decor inspiration, even when I'm not pregnant, so once we found out I'm carrying a baby girl, I was even more excited to look through the hundreds of beautiful interiors and plan how I'd like our nursery to look. My vision is something whimsical and fresh - white and pink with touches of gold in the accessories. There are so many pretty things I've found which would look perfect in a nursery. I like to buy from small business owners - they hold the unique and high quality items which can't be found anywhere else. Little items to treasure and love for years to come. Here are the items I'm currently coveting for our little girl's nursery...

9 July 2015

Strollin' with the Stokke Scoot

Stokke is well renowned for their innovative designs and well-made pieces, so I was excited to be given the opportunity to try out the Stokke Scoot - the ideal compact solution for a smooth ride around the city and for travelling. Although the Bugaboo Cameleon has served us well, now that Henry is older I wanted something a little easier to get out and about with, that didn't require taking the seat off before folding, and that's where the Stokke Scoot is ideal. What I especially love about the Stokke Scoot is the modern and functional design.  Not only is it one very good looking stroller (I always receive compliments whilst out and about!) it's also incredibly easy to assemble - it only took around 15 minutes and I was quickly able to familiarise myself with the various features.

The Aesthetics
There is no denying that the Stokke Scoot is beautifully designed. What initially drew me to the Stokke Scoot was the array of different colour combinations. I adore the pastel colour pairings of this stroller - the aqua blue paired with the fresh grey creates one super chic and stylish stroller, and it stands out from the crowd of ubiquitous black strollers. It's definitely eye-catching and I feel like a very hip mama pushing Henry around!

The Seat
Stokke pushchairs are well known for their high seat height, which sets them apart from many of the other brands. I love having Henry higher up - when he was parent facing it allowed for plenty of eye contact and engagement, and now that he's forward facing, he can be more involved in all the sights we see. The high seat position also means we can bring the stroller to the table in restaurants if we need to. An adjustable footrest means Henry's feet have somewhere to rest and he loves using it to attempt to climb up and into it all by himself.

The seat features a large canopy with SPF 50+ and a cute little visor that flips out, which is very much needed now that we're in Virginia experiencing such hot weather. I love that it provides that extra bit of protection from the harsh sun and protects Henry's legs. The canopy also offers ventilation via a zippered section, which allows air to circulate better on the particularly humid days. The seat can be placed in three positions each way - active, rest and sleep. The full recline is easy to engage by unclipping each side on the back of the canopy, perfect for when little ones get snoozy on their day out.

The Ride
The handle height is adjustable, which is always a bonus as I'm 5'9 and need the extra length to stop my legs catching on the pushchair as I walk. The Scoot features large foam filled rubber tyres with built in suspension, so it gives a very smooth ride and there's no risk of puncturing. It’s comfortable to push for long periods of time, simple to steer (even one-handed) and has an easy to use foot brake. I also appreciate how the Scoot features an audible click and colour indicator to reassure you that the seat is securely attached. Once correctly in place, a red dot switches to green which gives peace of mind that your little one is safe.

The Storage
The size of a stroller's basket is always a selling point for me. The Stokke Scoot features a very spacious basket underneath the seat, which is easily accessible from all sides, as well as having plenty of height available above it, so I have no problems carrying my large changing bag as well as various items of shopping, without needing to rummage around and unpack everything to access what I need.

The Fold
One of the biggest draws of the Stokke Scoot for me what that it collapses and folds down into a compact shape - in just one piece. There's no need to remove the seat before folding, and it's quick and easy to collapse down and lift. It's not too heavy either which I'm grateful for being pregnant and needing to get it into the back of our SUV.

The Scoot comes with a rain cover and mosquito net. Car seat adaptors are available to allow for easy transportation from car to stroller, and although there is no carrycot with this pushchair, with the addition of the Stokke Scoot Softbag (£54), it's suitable for newborns. The Stokke Style Kits (£99) offer an easy way to switch up the design of the stroller by mixing and matching. Each kit includes a hood, seat liner and shoulder harness protectors - plus a matching tote for your own use. I love the Soft Dots Kit - the pastel polka dots are perfect for adding a playful touch of colour in summer, and it looks great paired with the aqua blue of the seat.

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I really can't fault the Stokke Scoot, every design need has been met with the functional and easy features. Overall a really fantastic pushchair that has every base covered.

The Stokke Scoot retails for £529
*Item sent for review


5 July 2015

Baby's Gender Reveal

This past week, we had the all important anatomy scan, where we anxiously entered the darkened room and hoped that all was well with our baby. Thankfully, it was, and we breathed a sigh of relief to know our little one was growing and developing as it should. And then, it was time to discover the gender. 

I've never hesitated when deciding whether or not to find out the sex of the baby. Not only because 40 weeks seems like a extraordinarily long time to wait, but it allows the excitement to build, the conversations with each other to begin about what life might be like if we had a boy or girl, to slowly ponder over names and carefully select tiny items of clothing and lovingly decorate the nursery. Before the whirlwind of a newborn enters our world and there's no time for anything else. But above all, I like to know the gender as it helps me bond with the baby. Knowing the sex, and being able to refer to baby as 'he' or 'she,' rather than 'it.' And if the worst was to happen, and we lost another baby, I would be thankful that I had that time knowing who our little one was when they were still alive inside me.

We had no preference for gender. I loved to imagine having another boy, a little brother for Henry, and picturing the brotherly bond they'd develop, that we never got to know after losing William and Noah. Yet at the same time, I've always imagined myself having a little girl and it would be lovely to have both a boy and a girl. When we were told I was carrying a baby girl, it didn't come of as much of a surprise, in a way I was expecting it, after already having three boys. It was a treasured moment, discovering that we have a daughter. Three boys and a girl. Just as my parents have. 

We had no problems picking names for boys, we chose three we love and still have more on our list should we have had another one. Girls names we're finding a little trickier. We love feminine, soft names, but agreeing upon one is proving difficult. With all the boys, we waited until they were born until we finally selected a name from our shortlist, wanting to see their sweet little faces to see which they suited, so perhaps we'll do the same with our baby girl.