{Guest post} Maria – Living with a house full of boys

Living in a house full of boys

I have a guest post today from Maria over at Suburban Mum. She is posting about something I am also very familiar with, being the only female in the house – living with a house full of boys!

Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to have another female in the house so that I’m not so outnumbered. Living with a house full of boys can be pretty full on.

Here is just a little tongue in cheek insight into what it’s like for me.

Everything is a competition
And I mean everything. Ask the boys to wash their hands for dinner and they are literally fighting to get up the stairs. They both want to be given their dinner first, or finish eating first, get out of the bath first. Seriously – the list is endless. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t hear “I’m a winner!!!”

Just watching them compete over everything little thing is exhausting! Read more

{Guest post} Laura – Weight Loss and the Pain of Trying to Conceive

Today’s guest post is from Laura, a Mummy of two who blogs over at Laura’s Lovely Blog. She talks about a journey I am very familiar with, losing weight in order to conceive.
It’s funny, I spent most of my 20s trying not to get pregnant.
Having a mini panic attack if there was a slip up. Because in my mind there was
no way I was ready.
Of course after all the contraception fastidiousness it seemed to
me that as soon as we started trying to fall pregnant, that it would be easy,
that it would just happen. That the little spermy blighters were just desperate
to *ahem* get in there a give me a baby.
How foolish I was. Particularly as I already knew I had PCOS
(polycystic ovary syndrome).
After a year or so of trying we knew we needed some help and went
to the doctors. Then ensued a period of time of tests, internal scans, my
husband driving through rush hours with pots of things to be checked, dye tests
for me – investigations to see what was going on.
The verdict? I wasn’t ovulating at all. We would be unable to
conceive naturally.
My weight had been mentioned at some of the consultations and I
was encouraged to lose some. But at the consultation where the news about my
ovulation was delivered, I expected a next steps, medical solution. Clomid (a
fertility drug) and then IVF were discussed as the right path for us. What I
hadn’t expected was a refusal of treatment unless I lost weight. I was given
BMI goals and a next appointment which if I hit that goal we could start
Clomid. I was told if I hadn’t hit my weight goal by my appointment time then I
should reschedule, because we wouldn’t start until then.
I came home and balled my eyes out. I had no idea how I was going
to lose weight. No idea how I was going to manage and having my own baby seemed
unreachable. My weight has been an issue pretty much since my teens. At the
time of my fertility tests, I had been a member of a popular slimming club for
a year. I had lost some, gained some, but overall pretty much stayed the same
I was honestly so overwhelmed about how I was going to manage to
lose 3 stone. Then my husband mentioned a meal replacement/shake diet his boss
had done at work. At first I was horrified at the prospect at not eating, but
you see I was pretty desperate at this time. I made a call to a local
consultant, found out more about it and then decided to go for it. We both
wanted children more than anything.
There was a part of me that hated that doctor that day. I knew I
needed to lose weight, of course I did. I had watched friends and family have
babies while we carried on ‘trying’. My sister got pregnant twice during this
time. When she told me about her second pregnancy I just started sobbing on the
phone. Then I felt awful for spoiling her news and called back the next morning
and apologised.
However, I did it. I lost the three stone. Staggeringly quickly
in fact. The Friday before our appointment (which was the following Thursday)
my brother-in-law called to say his wife was pregnant. Let’s just say it was
lucky I was working from home that day. But, you know, unbeknownst to me I was
already pregnant.
The next week I felt so sick, I nearly passed out at work on the
Tuesday and put it down to some prawns I had eaten at work. I never considered
the possibility I could be pregnant. It was my sister who convinced me to take
a test. I was so convinced I wouldn’t be pregnant, I took the test left it on
the side and went downstairs made a cup of tea and feed our pets. Annoyingly,
my husband was away with work too. I went in to eventually check the test, saw
the result, walked out the bathroom and went back to double check. I was so
gobsmacked I had to text a picture to my sister to check I wasn’t seeing
things. Then I couldn’t get through to my husband. He called back about 20
minutes later and said I’ve got about a million missed calls from you – is
everything ok? 🙂
Sometimes it’s annoying when the doctors are right, that my
weight was such a huge issue for my fertility was hard to take. It was crushing
at the time. For people who struggle with their weight, I find it is often a
huge emotional and psychological as well as a physical burden. But I was able
to change this and in doing so gave birth to my amazing son. It took two and a
half years, but it was well worth the (pardon the pun) wait. When we started
trying for our second, our daughter, I immediately went on a diet 4 months
later I was pregnant. I know now that my weight in intrinsically linked with my
fertility. I can’t say that this doesn’t annoy me. But at the same time I am
immensely grateful for my children and that we didn’t end up going down the IVF
route and feel so much for the people that do. Becoming a mother is the best
thing that ever happened to me.

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Thank you Laura for sharing your journey. It’s wonderful that you managed to conceive naturally due to your weight loss.

{Guest post} Tracey – Losing weight and becoming a Slimming World consultant

Today’s guest post is from Tracey who has a page over on Facebook, Ramblings of a Slimming Mummy. She shares about her journey from Slimming World member to consultant! (You might need a cuppa!).

Hi guys! I’m Tracey, and the lovely Stacey has asked me to write a guest post, to talk about my weight loss journey with Slimming World. I’m very open with my journey, as I hope to inspire people to do what I have done, and change your life forever.

I’ve had a problem with food ever since I was 14, I can still remember the first time I’d ever had a binge, I can tell you exactly why, and near enough what I ate. I remember cramming cake after cake, packet of crisps, and chocolate down until the hurt disappeared, and it seemed to really disappear, it was almost as though it had made all of my problems go away, one chunk of chocolate at a time. I remember the taste of the food being irrelevant (but always calorific!).

Of course this obsessive behaviour wasn’t the only problem with my binges, it took a good couple of years but inevitably then came along the weight problem, by this time I was just turning 19, and was naive to how all the binge eating I had done would affect my adult life. I laughed off the fact that my college had to up the order of crisps because I ate so many of them. I used to challenge people to eating competitions and always win, and in a sick way I was proud of my self because it was something I was good at!

I’d always make the jokes before other people did, that way they couldn’t hurt me. Everyone thought I was the bubbly one with the big boobs because I was clever, but at the time I had little self esteem and even less confidence, not that anyone could tell because I hid it so well. I got called the fat lady by a small child, bullied by people, and even heckled about my weight from a passing car, all this not to mention the fact I was always tired and I couldn’t go shopping with the girls without going to my own section!

Ok, so I will fast forward a few years now, as there is only so much you all want to read about my eating habits, we all know what a binge is! So it’s the year 2009 now and I’d had several years of this binge eating which continued into my working/adult life and got worse when I had started binge drinking too. I had met my fiance (now husband) and was getting married in November.

Sounds amazing you’d think, that I’d met the man of my dreams and I was going to have my perfect day, only it wasn’t going to be my perfect day. I didn’t have the chance other girls had to go and try all the dresses in the shop because I’d convinced myself I was too fat, and the shops would never have any dresses in size 24, which is what I had unknowingly become! I got my dress from eBay so I didn’t have to go through the ordeal of having to go to a wedding dress shop only to be told I was too big to get into the pretty dresses, so I stuck to the safe option.

I was working in a factory at the time with another girl, and we’d got into a conversation about Slimming World. Now I’m not going to lie, at this stage I was still adamant that if my fiance wanted to marry me, he could have me the size I was! I was convincing myself I was happy being overweight! Anyway, this girl who will remain nameless, nagged and nagged me to join Slimming World. She made it sound amazing with all the foods she was allowed to eat, she could still have pasta, rice, bread, and above all chocolate! Now that sounded like my kind of diet!

So that was it, I decided on my next day off I was going to join a group. Hubby was supportive all the way, and decided to come with me so we could both lose weight for our wedding day.

I still to this day remember walking down the road to the church hall where the group was held, looking for every excuse in the book not to go inside, I was terrified! I didn’t know what I weighed, I didn’t care to! I’d even convinced myself the scales wouldn’t fit me, and that I’d be the only ‘big’ one there! I remember walking in and being spoken to by a couple of the lovely group members and then I met my consultant, who from the week I met her, I knew she was pretty awesome! Little did I know that day changed my life forever! I listened intently whilst being told about the plan and took everything on board, then listened to the group. One guy had lost 7 stone; my jaw literally dropped, I had no idea how anyone could lose that much weight!

My first weigh in came along and I’d lost half a stone in a week! I was gobsmacked, and weirdly hooked at the same time! Weight loss is addictive, the feeling is fantastic, if I could bottle that feeling I would! Time went on and I had lost 4 stone for the wedding; I had gone from a size 24 to a size 14-16 and couldn’t be happier! I even went to a real wedding dress shop and tried on several beautiful dresses, my confidence was much higher too with all the complements coming in, life was good.

So, I got what I wanted, I got married a size 14, blog post over right? Only no, sadly this was only the beginning of my battle with my weight loss; people call it a journey, well mine really was. Only I had got lost in the middle massively which resulted in having a baby and a massive 5.5 stone gain over the course of about 2 years! I’d gone right back to where I had started, only this time with a new baby; my beautiful boy, that’s when I knew things had to change.

I didn’t want to be Ethan’s fat mummy at the school gates and I knew I had a lot of work to do before I would be happy, so in January 2012 I re-joined Slimming World for the last time and never looked back. I’m not going to lie, weight loss after a baby was tough, really tough, but I stuck with it. I had massively hard times; I had been the girl sat wanting to cry all the way through group, and I’d also smiled my way through, when after time the weight I was losing was getting more and more noticeable.

It took time, it took what seemed like forever, but finally in November 2014 I had hit my weight loss goal; I was finally size 12/14 and happy! That day felt like the best day of my whole life; I had worked so hard to lose it, and now all my hard work had paid off – I had lost 6 stone and was so proud!

It was around about this time that I had started toying with the idea of becoming a consultant as mine had changed my life for ever and doing the weighing at the group I attend had given me a taste for it. It became something I could really visualise me doing, something the old me would have never considered doing, but now I had all this new found confidence I dared to dream!

I stayed at my target comfortably until the new year which I was proud of, then I needed a new challenge. So I decided to aim for under the 12 stone bracket which in a couple of weeks I had achieved. The months were going on and I was getting more weeks at target under my belt. It was this time I started seriously thinking about becoming a consultant so I went along to an evening to find out more about the amazing opportunities I could have, if I were brave enough! The outcome of that evening was the beginning of the roller coaster I am currently living (and loving!). Two interviews later and I’d been accepted to be a consultant, I couldn’t have been prouder. That was it, I was on the roller coaster that is being a Slimming World consultant!

In turn, due to being so busy, nervous, and excited my weight was affected again and it dropped off, so I changed my target again which meant I could aim for my 7 stone award!

Every time I get nervous to the point I tell myself I can’t do this, I remind myself of what I’ve achieved already and I know I can do anything now.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be given this opportunity to change people’s lives the same way as my consultant did for me 6 and a half years ago.

This weekend my training has made me realise how far I have come in my journey, and now I have a very brand new one beginning and I’m going to love every second of it, all thanks to the day I joined Slimming World!

Thank you Tracey for sharing your amazing journey; you really are one of my Slimming World inspirations!

{Guest post} Sarah – Surviving with two under two

Today’s guest post comes from a fellow blogger who I ‘met’ on Twitter.

Sarah is mum to Daniel and Emma – both are under two years old (a 16 month age gap). She blogs at Let them be small about life with two under two and shares some of the activities they do. She can also be found on twitter – @MsSBurns

Surviving with two under two….

Having two children is challenging, no matter the age gap, but having two under two presents its own challenges. There’s 16 months between Daniel and Emma, and it’s hard sometimes to remember that Daniel is still a baby really too, and still very much needs my input into his play. Whilst he happily plays alone, he is inquisitive and wants (and needs) me to explain the things he sees to help him understand the world around him.

I thought I would share my top five tips for coping with two under two.

1 Accept that, sometimes, one of your children will be crying
I found this really hard to accept. It goes against all my instincts to leave one of my children crying. But the reality is, you cannot meet both their needs all of the time. Both Emma and Daniel go through clingy stages when they want me to hold them constantly. It’s not possible so sometimes I need to put them down whilst I change a nappy, sort a bottle or do lunch. The best way I have found to cope is with Emma, to give her a toy to play with. Now she is reaching for things this is so much easier as she will settle a bit easier with a few toys – rotate them so there is something new to catch her eye. I will keep talking as I leave the room, reassuring her I’m not too far away.

With Daniel I try to include him, so if I am sorting a nappy change out I ask him to choose which of the cloth nappies we will put on Emma, or I will ask him to choose a toy or book for us to look at when I come back.

2 – Fresh air helps
With one baby it can be hard work leaving the house but with two, it can sometimes seem impossible! I have had days where as I have strapped one into the pushchair the other has needed a nappy change. Get that sorted and them Emma is sick. Get that sorted then something else happens. It once took me four attempts to get out of the house. Some 90 minutes later I finally managed it. I was stressed, frustrated and annoyed, BUT, the walk to the greengrocers was great. Emma fell asleep, Daniel was happy as he could go to the park on the way home and I had a bit of adult conversation in the greengrocers. As hard as it is some days, getting out of the house is key. I try to get out each day, usually to buy fresh fruit and veg for the evening’s meal. Have a reason to go out and you will do. It also helps to have changing bags ready packed the evening before, so you can just grab it and go without having to check for spare clothes, nappies, wipes etc.

3 – Include your older child as much as you can
Now that Emma is almost six months old, she is so much more aware of the world around her, and adores Daniel, especially when he shares his toys. In the morning after breakfast, I like to sort out the washing and tidy the breakfast dishes away. I ask Daniel to show Emma some toys, so for example ‘Can you get Emma the owl?’ Can you tell Emma what noise the owl makes? It’s good for Daniel’s development and it builds into the daily routine the idea of sharing his things with Emma. She loves it reaching out for the different toys.

I also include him in nappy changes as mentioned above and he also helps when I am cooking by putting the veg peelings into the food recycling bin or taking some of the cutlery to the dining room.

4 – Books are brilliant
Books are my life saver. Daniel is super engaged in books – so I can read a story to them both and extend it in some instances for Daniel. We are big fans of Room on the Broom and Gruffalo here. So whilst we are reading I will ask him which animal is next, what the witch says and ask him to show Emma where things are. Emma gets loads of stimulation from the pictures and listening to the words and Daniel is extending his vocabulary too. I have also printed off colouring sheets for a lot of the books we read so after we have read them Daniel will happily do a bit of colouring and I can read another book to Emma.

5 – Cherish the moments you have alone with your youngest
When Daniel was small I used to enjoy lazy mornings. He would wake, feed and invariably go to sleep snuggled against me in bed. I could then read a book, catch up on the news etc. I don’t have this luxury with Emma, as Daniel wants to get up, have breakfast and get on with the day.

If Daniel was feeling under the weather then we could have lazy snuggles on the sofa or head back to bed in the afternoon for his nap, him snuggled warm against me. Again, Emma doesn’t have this luxury. To promote the closeness I had with Daniel I like to use my rose & rebellion carrier when travelling, so Emma is close to me. But on the occasions when Daniel is napping and Emma is awake then I give her a lot of input. Be that singing nursery rhymes, playing with the sensory basket or a bit of messy play.

{Guest post} Louise – Cleft palate

Today’s guest post comes from one of my online friends, Louise.

We always knew that when we started our family, we didn’t want a huge gap between the children so were thrilled when we found out we were expecting number 2 (D2) when Will was 13 months old.

The pregnancy progressed exactly like my first but was under consultant lead care as I delivered via emergency section the last time.

We have no serious health issues in our families and I don’t know about anyone else but you don’t go into the scan expecting to be told anything apart from the sex of the baby during the 20 week scan so when the abnormally scan picked up a bilateral Cleft Lip it was like someone had pulled the rug from under us.

They took us to what I call the bad news room, a room of neutral calming tones, comfy sofa and box of tissues and were told that it was ok the surgeons would do a great job of repair …….. Sorry ??? surgeons???? A what now???

We had to wait a whole week to have it confirmed by the consultant that it was a unilateral cleft lip and although they couldn’t tell we should prepare ourselves for the baby to have a cleft palate also. Almost as soon as we were diagnosed we were contacted by the local cleft team who would be taking care of us after D2 was born and we were given a good understanding of what we should expect in the coming months.

The following 4 months went in a blur and during which I went through almost every emotion imaginable including a sort of grieving process for the ‘perfect’ child which now seems incredibly crass and melodramatic. However, I think it was me I was feeling sorry for as a cleft meant breast feeding would be nigh on impossible and as I had such a hard time the last time had been looking forward to knowing what I was doing this time around!!

D2 arrived 13 days late, induced and once again delivered by emergency c section as I was losing a lot of blood (1 litre in the end). We were introduced to this 8lb 12 oz of boy who looked almost identical to his big brother apart from the obvious gap in his upper lip. It was a huge shock to see even though we were expecting it, and I’m sure this feeling will continue for some time although it has no bearing on how gorgeous he is and how much I adore him.

We called him Samuel and were visited in hospital by one of the cleft nurses who gave us 3 specialist bottles to use to feed him. Initially I despised them but quickly got over this and realised Sam needed feeding regardless of how so I needed to suck it up and get on with it. The cleft team understood my need to breastfeed so have provided me with my very own milking shed (or as good as) in the form of a hospital grade medela pump, it’s hard to find the time to pump but at least he is benefiting from my milk as well as formula.

So where are we now? Well we have seen the surgeon who is pretty much the best in the country and spends a lot of time completing cleft ops in India for charity, so he’s a great guy too!

Sam will have to have two operations the first we anticipate to happen when Sam is 3-4 months old to repair his lip and the hard part of his palate and the second when he is 6 months to repair his soft palate. Which apparently afterwards may mean he will latch for me (if it’s only for a week I will be thrilled!)

He has been diagnosed with glue ear which is the preferable reason for why he failed the newborn hearing test which is normal for cleft babies and we are awaiting a date for his first operation, it’s going to be a tough year but we will get through it as a family!

We will keep you posted on our progress

Lou xx