Category Archives: Being a Mum

TBTBlog – Logan in the snow

And we’re back for Throwback Thursday Blog! This week I’m feeling excited at the prospect of some snow. We haven’t had ‘proper’ snow here in a long while, a mere dusting every now and again, but I think the last good covering that hung about for a bit was in 2013. 4 years ago. That’s a long time. Where Kiba comes from in Germany, winter always consists of snow. Plus the cold. I remember when I spent time there for my first winter, and the day time temperature never got any higher than -10C! Now that was a shock to the system, but boy oh boy did I enjoy the snow! I’ll have to find you some photos for another TBT blog, although I did just find this one of Kiba taking a photo:

3.jpg

Logan did see snow before 2013. In 2011 for his first Christmas at 6 months old we spent it in Germany. My parents came out beforehand for a visit, and then flew back home for Christmas. I do believe the snow had started to fall by then. We were flying home in between Christmas and New Year for a 2nd First Christmas with my family. As we got to the airport the snow was coming down thick and fast on top of a good layer already on the ground. Our flight was delayed, and we watched nervously as the snow continued to fall. After the plane was de-iced it turns out we were the last flight out, and then the last flight in to the UK, as the snow had begun to fall here too! Ours didn’t last that long though.

Fast forward to January 2013, Logan is 1 and a half years old. Snow begins to fall, and as it starts to settle, then accumulate, I think we all steadily got more excited.  We were living at my parents at the time, and they had huge patio doors, so I taught Logan something my sister and I used to do. Taking a cushion and lying down, looking up at the snow falling. It was always so pretty, and kind of magical, looking out for the largest snowflake. By the next morning we had a good amount, and the biggest child, Kiba, got let loose to go play while we watched from the warmth of the lounge!


It didn’t take too long to convince Logan to go out and have a play, and to inspect Daddy’s snowman! So we wrapped up warm and headed out, Mum meanwhile took photos of us from the inside, although I do believe she did come out with us in the end. I am also pretty sure we took the video camera out with us, so I shall have a dig about and see if I can find the footage for you all. For now, photos shall have to suffice!


I think Logan thoroughly enjoyed the snow, although was never overly keen on how cold it was! In 2014 (I think) my parents bought Logan a lovely green sled, and since forth it hasn’t really snowed enough to ever use it! Both kids would seriously love some snow. I lot of people hate the disruption it causes, but it really is remarkable, the joy it causes, and the sheer beauty of it. I’d love some snow! If we don’t get a good dumping this winter I will admittedly be disappointed. I remember the snow days and missing school to go and play, making snow angels. I’d be sad if my children won’t get that. In any case I’d love to go over and visit Kiba’s family next Christmas, or any after, as I know we’d definitely get some snow then! (And have I told you how amazing their Christmas markets are?!)

I know a few of my family and friends answers, but, who wants some snow?! There’s a weather warning this weekend for some, and I’ve personally got my fingers crossed! I’m guessing it’s something you either love or hate, what side do you lie on?

Advertisements

Keeping the tradition of St. Nikolaus

Long time no see, huh? Sorry about that, seems I had fallen off the wagon a bit. I’m hoping that I can hop back on and get right on track, but realistically that may not be fully until after Christmas, as I am sure you all know, Christmas can be a very hectic time! Actually, today’s post is Christmas related.

As most of you know, Kiba is German. Before meeting him I had never heard of St. Nikolaus Day, despite knowing of St Nicholas; his origins and becoming known as Father Christmas. If you look it up you find that over Europe there are a lot of variations of how people celebrate this one legendary man with a lot of names. Basically though, St Nikolaus or whomever you call him, comes to check on children to see if they have been good, and leaves treats if they have.

“Sankt Nikolaus is usually celebrated on a small scale. Many children put a boot called Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of 5 December. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at the same time checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful the last year. If they were not, they will have a stick (eine Rute) in their boots instead.”
– Wikipedia on Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Germany

I was introduced to this idea when I first spent time in Germany in December 2010, even though it is for children really, as I had never experienced it Kiba convinced him Mum that him and myself should get a little something. So we did. I got a cellophane bag filled with chocolate, and some money. Later when we picked up some of his siblings from Kindergarten I found out that even they celebrated, each child had a clementine. I thought this was a lovely thing to do, and knew I wanted to do it with my own children (I was pregnant with Logan at this point).

I don’t think we did it the year Logan was born, or even the year after, he’d of been too young to really understand, but after that Logan has chosen a pair of shoes or wellies to clean. He caught on quickly to chose the newest and/or cleanest pair to then pop somewhere for St. Nikolaus. We’ve never popped them outside as I’m sure with the weather here in the UK they’d of ended up soaked! Over the years he’s had a mixture of gifts, always a chocolate santa, some other chocolate like coins, and often a small present like a toy car.

This year both kids eagerly  cleaned some footwear and popped it out in the hallway. Once they were both fast asleep I split the chocolate coins, penguins and snowballs between them, and  both got a Lindt santa too. They were both up early and I heard many shouts of CHOCOLATE as they disappeared down the stairs with Kiba. Taya took no encouragement to dig right in, and Kiba had to confiscate her welly boot and bring them back upstairs to me! Unfortunately he left it within reach, so when I said they  could down while I got dressed (Kiba had left for work at this point) so as I came down the stairs I was greeted with a very happy toddler stuffing her face with a chocolate Santa!

When Logan was in Preschool I mentioned it to them, hoping maybe they’d look in to it and adopt the tradition themselves. They never did, but maybe I should have been more forthcoming and outright asked them? I’m too shy for that I think. However, that preschool closed, and is now run by a Montessori Preschool, which Taya will eventually go to when she turns 3. I think they’ll be quite happy to offer a clementine to each child, but we shall see. It’s actually kind of scary that that is only a year away.

I love having our St Nikolaus present as a family tradition, and it’s a perfect way to get the kids excited for Christmas, for the impending arrival of der Weihnachtsmann, Father Christmas, Santa, or whatever name you like to call him! I’m going to write another post all about some of our Christmas traditions, so look out for that, and in the mean time, tell me about the traditions you have in your family? Or between friends?

Klean Kanteens – Why I love them, and so should you!

A few years ago I can’t say I’d heard of reusable non-plastic bottles, let alone Klean Kanteen. I, like many, many others had grown up having plastic reusable bottles, and as a parent you are bombarded with loads of different options. Different styles, different volumes, different colours. You get the point. But as a parent, I realized that despite being reusable, they really didn’t have that long of a life, especially with kids. They’d break or be impossible to clean. I’d end up throwing them out and replacing them with an equally disappointing bottle. After Taya was born I discovered Babipur. You all know that of course, as I am slightly obsessive. Through them I was introduced to the world of Klean Kanteen, who make stainless steel drink bottles and food canisters. My initial reaction was how much?! and I kind of backed away from them. I was a product tester for another company at the time and got asked to try another brand of stainless steel bottles. Taya loves hers, and although initially I was impressed it did have one of two bad points. This made me wonder back to the KK’s (Klean Kanteens) and I read more and more good things about them on Babipurs facebook group ‘Babipur Hangout’. Eventually I asked for my first one for my birthday.

3a.jpg

I got the 12oz Wide Vacuum Insulated Cafe in Neptune Blue. I instantly fell in love. Not only is it a beautiful colour, but it is amazing! My only regret is that I didn’t get a slightly bigger size. For tea it is the right amount, but I’d never say no to more hot chocolate! Being insulated it keeps hot drinks hot for 8 hours, and cold ones for up to 24, and no, that is not exaggerating! It really does keep them that hot, that hot in fact that you’re better off making it at drinking temperature, so you don’t scald yourself! (The outside doesn’t get hot in any way, perfect to have round kids!) In the summer, My mum took the kids, my friend and I, and we went and watched the Red Arrows perform at the coast. I made myself a KK of tea at just before 9:30am. I had a few tentative sips enroute. By the time we got to the coast, parked and walked a long way back to clifftops due to awful parking (thank goodness for my Pride Connecta!), watched the Red Arrows and then by the time we got down on to the beach it was 11:35. Picked up my KK and took a swig. My Mum look absolutely horrified and said “You’re not still drinking that, it must be cold tea now!” I actually laughed. Passed over the KK asking her if she thought it was cold. She burnt herself. She was absolutely amazed at how hot it had kept it, and my friend was pretty impressed too. I know I’m a bit mean at letting my mum get burnt, sorry Mum, but a lot of people just don’t believe how effective they are!

1a.jpg

Technically it says you shouldn’t have milk in there, but it’s perfect for hot chocolate! One clever mama has said she’ll be filling up her kids KKs full of hot chocolate on Christmas Eve so it’ll be perfect temperature by the time they wake in the morning. Now I think this will be perfect for any parents who may need a coffee or tea fix ready for that early start. It’s kind of perfect for any parent really, being leakproof it can be chucked in your bag or under the pushchair, and is a staple on any day out over the winter for me!

2a.jpg

In the summer it keeps drinks cold too, so just as good for days out in the summer too. On Sports day I even put ice lollies in for Taya and her friends to have while the boys ran their races. I did have to cut them to fit, and they had started to melt, but I reckon with a slightly bigger KK and some ice they’d be perfect for taking icy treats out and about.

Lots of people use theirs to get takeaway drinks, I don’t as I can’t afford it mainly, but just think of all the cups you would be using then chucking away if not? With this, it’s just a simple clean where you take the lid apart, and then it’s ready to use again and again. All in all, if you are considering an insulated KK, don’t dither, just get one!

4a.jpg

Since my first KK I then wanted to get a reusable water bottle. I didn’t want to keep buying plastic bottles of water when out, so I asked for one for my birthday. I couldn’t justify an insulated one, although that would of been awesome, but I asked for the 27oz classic loop in tidal pool. It compliments my Neptune perfectly colour wise, which suits me to a tee. It has been great for days out! Kiba and I will generally share it, or use it for backup when the kids run out of their drink. With the loop cap it means that I can use a carabiner to  attach it to the pushchair when I’m using it. I’m normally quite bad at drinking enough, especially on days out, but this has helped me stay hydrated and remind the kids to also drink!

7a.jpg

I soon realized that I’d love the kids to have one each. Although I was a bit nervous at how rough they are with their belongings, I was getting sick and tired with how dirty Logans got, and how utterly impossible they are to clean. I haven’t made the jump with him yet, cost has prevented us so far, but my awesome friends got Taya her own for her 2nd birthday. She was gifted the Kid Kanteen 12oz Sippy, in school bus yellow, which is such a gorgeous colour. Taya is used to a 12oz bottle, so I wasn’t worried about the weight, as they are a bit heavy when full (be mindful of toes, Taya dropped her other stainless steel bottle on her toes and it hurt, a lot!) but as she was used to the straw on the other would she take the sippy spout? Nope! She downright refused it. I was slightly heartbroken to be honest. I then remembered I had a spare sports cap lid, and although it isn’t recommended for under 3’s I gave it a shot and…

6a.jpg

…Tada! She still prefers her other bottle, but she will use this one. And so will Logan, so I know he’d love his own. He has asked for one, and I really do want to get him one if budget allows us too. I’d probably get him a slightly bigger one as he does drink a fair amount. Being stainless steel they do not retain any smells, or flavours, which is amazing, as I am sick to death of the stink from Logans bottles. I think these would be a lot more durable too, all plus points that are pushing me towards getting him one. Plus, wouldn’t another look pretty in our collection?

5a.jpg

I have a couple of other Klean Kanteen items on my wishlist, particularly the stainless steel straws. Again, they’re reusable and have a silicone tip, and although they may seem expensive, by cutting out the need to use plastic straws feels like a big win in my eyes, and I am sure the planet would be thankful. Plastic one use items are making the news a lot recently as there has been a shift in way people see them, they are damaging to the environment, and now we have that chance to make a difference. I’d highly recommend in to looking in to reusable products, maybe not necessarily Klean Kanteen, but although they seem expensive, they are so, so worth it, for your benefit and the planets. Team Heberling are very much Team Klean Kanteen here, as well as Team Babipur and like to think that we try our best to do the best for our kids future.

Hope you enjoyed the blog, feel free to ask any questions, sorry if I waffled on a bit, hope I didn’t miss anything out!

Autumnal Chicken Pox Adventure

Wahoo! It’s finally half term! 10 days with both my kiddies lies ahead, alas I’ve caught some sort of lurgy along with Taya, but, I have to make the most of both kids being home, so as long as Taya is up for it, and Logan doesn’t catch it also, we shall be having lots of fun! Hopefully! 

Talking of the lurgy links in with today’s #ThrowbackBlog going back to October 2014. Logan caught chickenpox at the end of September. He wasn’t happy, he was very itchy and wasn’t impressed of being housebound. As he started to scab over we decided we just had to get out, but obviously didn’t want to go anywhere that we could pass on the pox. So we visited both the beach and the woods, the fresh air did us all the world of good and it was nice for Logan to burn some energy off. Today’s photos are from our trip to the woods. I actually believe they may have been taken on Kibas birthday.

We’re really lucky in that we live in an area that has loads of natural landscapes to explore. We have heaths, woods, marshes, broads, beaches and many green spaces to explore. The particular woods we went to this day was just a short drive away, we literally parked on the side of the road and wandered in to the autumnal sunshine streaming down through the leafy canopy. 



Logan decided to take his (plastic) sword along, I can’t remember the particular reason, he could of been a pirate, a knight or maybe hunting Dragons or demons. He had a great time whatever he was doing. He mainly followed Kiba around, who I’m sure was looking for decent trees to climb. Logan mainly used his sword for the many, many brambles that covered the woodland floor. It made it slightly tough going, but to be honest we didn’t wander particularly far, and just let Logan have free reign to explore the area. 

After a while Logan found some charred wood, where it was obvious that someone had either tried to make a ‘campfire’ or were just burning something. Logan loved playing with the ash, and using his sword to cut in to the softer wood, breaking bits off. He was getting pretty filthy as you’d expect, but as he was enjoying himself we let him get on with it. We’re fairly relaxed with mess as it is, everything, including clothes can be cleaned. 



He’s still pretty darn gorgeous whether picking his nose or covered in spots! I’m glad we took the opportunity to get out and grab some fresh air, you sure do get cabin fever when you’re stuck in with a sick toddler. I encourage anyone who has a kid with the pox, if they’re feeling up for it, grab some outdoor time, away from the public, you’ll all feel much better for it. When Taya eventually has chickenpox then we’ll be taking the same approach, sometimes you just have to blow away the cobwebs and germs! 

P.s. The photos have an older watermark on them, it’s actually logans footprint from when he was a baby! 

So much to do, so little time

I am still here! Promise. I’m slowly getting back in to the school routine, which also means getting back in to fitting play groups, cleaning, mealtimes etc around school drop offs and pick ups. Also, Taya seems to have given up her daytime nap unless we go in someone’s car, which suddenly means I have less time to myself, which, as most parents know is a valuable time to get on with jobs or hobbies. 

On top of everyday household jobs and playing I’m slowly trying to catch up on editing and sharing photos. It is a very long and slow job. A large majority of my “spare time” is used to edit photos. It feels like I’m slowly starting to make a little progress, but I’ll be very happy once I’m finally all caught up. 

I’m going to set myself a couple of goals, and hopefully they’ll help me to get back on track, feel free to nudge me if you feel I’m failing, sometimes I need a bit of a kick up the backside. So here goes: 

  1. Get back to doing daily German lessons. Before Germany I did a good few months of daily lessons, but once we were back I fell off the wagon. I admit to not doing one since despite adding it to my mental to do list. 
  2. More regular blog posts. I’d like to do a minimum of a post a week, but preferably at least twice. If you’ve got any ideas, suggest away, I’ll make a list of ideas so I can just choose one and hopefully never have that “what should I write?” moment.
  3. Take part in #Throwbackthursday. I did for a while, then once again failed to continue. I’m already taking part in Babipurs weekly Instagram Challenges so this is just another way of being more present on social media. 

I don’t want to set too many goals for now, as I think I’m more likely to fail if I do! So for now these will do. I think it’s enough and hopefully you shall see a lot more from me! 😁

On the subject of time, take a look at my photo clock! I got it for Christmas and only just sorted the photos out. Watch this space for it to finally get on a wall! 😜

A New Chapter (Poem)

The house is so much quieter
there’s a small person missing here
The toddlers searching round and round
hoping her brother will reappear.

The time has gone so very fast,
was it really 6 weeks break?
Their childhood is flying past,
so quick, it makes my heart ache.

He’s starting on another adventure,
he’ll learn so much and grow,
but that little hand this morning,
it squeezed tight, not wanting to let go.

I put a smile upon my face,
squeeze back, and give him a hug,
“you’ll be fine” I say,
while the words give my heartstrings a good tug.

He’ll be fine, I’ll be fine,
it just all takes time to adjust,
Every parent and child must take the leap
in the teachers hands we entrust.

These children of ours, our womb fruit,
who we’ve raised all these years.
They now have another guiding hand,
and the thought may bring on some tears

but remember, never forget,
that although time may fly,
they’ll be our babies forever,
sit back, take it all in, have a cry

make memories when you can,
snuggle up, play games, make art,
even if you do nothing special,
they’ll know you love them with all your heart.

To drive or not to drive?

NOTE: The featured image of the speedometer was taken while we were in Germany on the autobahn where, if you don’t know, they have no speed limit. It is honestly kind of terrifying, and Kiba wanted to briefly see how fast he could go, this speed was not maintained. At one point we were cruising along at 90 odd and suddenly a police car came shooting past, with a (presumably) civilian car keeping up with them, and they were gone within moments! Germans love their speed! Kiba loves driving, and has had many cars in his driving history, his latest is this beauty:

PicsArt_09-05-04.21.18

I don’t drive. I can’t drive. I have reached the age of 25 without stepping behind the wheel of a car once. Growing up I never daydreamed about owning my own car, never really imagined myself driving. As a teenager when everyone around me started to learn and ultimately pass their tests the urge to do the same never occurred. It wasn’t until after Logan was born and Kiba learnt to drive that I ever really started to consider it. But I was terrified of the idea. I still am pretty scared. I just can’t imagine myself in control of a large metal box on wheels. Up until recently the idea of it made me feel physically nauseous. I can now imagine it, but still don’t think I am anywhere near ready to ever attempt it. Yet there seems to be a lot of pressure out there to drive. I’m regularly asked if I am going to, if I’ve considered taking the leap as it would enrich my own and my kids lives. Of course I have considered it. I’m a worrier, I worry about it a lot. (Just ask Kiba)

I’ve come to realize that a lot of people seem to think you should drive if you’ve got kids, yet I know a lot of people who don’t. I have even seen people claim that you can’t be a ‘good’ parent as you can’t take them places etc. This is utter nonsense. Yes, I may not be able to get the kids places myself, but I have some darn good friends and family who help me out as much as they can. They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my case my ‘village’ sure does help a lot. Which is particularly good as I do live in a small rural village, where the bus routes aren’t the best, but I can honestly say I’ve never taken the bus here, or even a taxi. I could, and I probably should at times, but my anxiety has often got the better of me. So should I learn to drive? It’s something I have thought about a lot. Kiba and I have had many conversations about it. I asked in the Babipur Hangout a facebook group filled with lots of friendly parents who love Babipur on their opinions and who could drive. Of the 103 people who replied, 63 could drive, 40 could not. There were some interesting comments and I was quite surprised at the number of families were both parents were non-drivers. Some of the comments cemented my fear of the kids missing out, and that they might begrudge that in future, but ultimately it gave me some reassurance on my decision so far of not driving.  I think it comes down to being a very personal choice, but I’ve decided to write some Pros/Cons for each situation in case anyone was in the same conundrum as I am. I’ll be adding some side notes of my own though.

To be able to drive;

PROS;
– To be able to do what you want, when you want. Not having to rely on others.
– Emergency situations. Self explanatory.
– Reliability. Unlike buses/trains etc that may get cancelled or delayed.
– Better job opportunities.

CONS;
– Expense. Cars or any other vehicle are expensive. The lessons and test to drive for starters. Then the actual vehicles, the insurance, the fuel and then the upkeep. It all adds up and can be quite costly.
– Parking. It can be a nightmare. Personally we can’t even park outside our house, it’s a short walk up the road, which is fine in the summer, but in Winter or if it’s peeing with rain, or if you’ve got lots to carry it is a bit of a nightmare.
– It’s a big responsibility. Cars are huge, potentially dangerous metal boxes, and when they mix with people in an accident the cars get the lighter deal. I’d be terrified of an accident, which would then mean I’m more of a danger as I am a nervous driver.
– Congestion. There are a lot of cars out there these days, which leads me to the next point
– Environmental Impact. We all know about this.

Not being able to drive:

PROS;
– It’s eco friendly. You’re not adding your own CO2 in to the atmosphere.
– Saving money by not having the cost of a car
– Less stressful. This is a personal one.

CONS;
– Having to rely on others for lifts for everything that can’t be reached by public transport.
– Moving car seats between cars, although if you only have one and go in others cars anyway you’d still probably be moving it about at some point.
– Public transport can be expensive
– Emergency situations (although if it truly is an emergency I would call 999, and any other I have a fabulous network who’d help me out)

All in all, I think that if I were to learn to drive I’d have to be so, so much more confident. Kiba has told me that I am not to learn until I have gotten over the fear of it, as a nervous driver can be a dangerous driver. I also think that if I do one day want to become a Doula then I am going to have to drive, as who would want to hire a doula that can’t get to you quickly? It’s a bit of an awkward situation though, to drive I need money, but to earn money I ultimately would need to drive. I shall have to cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now as a family we really can’t afford lessons and then a second car. I think for now I need to focus on my wedding (324 days from today!) as that in itself is a pricey and slightly stressful thing to think about. Afterwards I shall reassess our situation and how I feel and go from there. I know not being able to drive does not make me a bad parent. I know my kids have just as good as a life as kids with a mum who does drive. No one should feel forced in their decision, or guilty of their choice. I shall strive to be the best person I can, no matter what my circumstances.

I just want to take a quick moment to thank those, and they’ll know who they are, that have helped the kids and I get about the past few years. I really, really appreciate you guys. Thank you.

PS. I just found this photo, the closest to driving I have been, unless Mario Kart counts!

PicsArt_09-05-04.23.10

The sleep thieves and I

Long time no see huh? I really do apologise and hope this post may explain, mainly to myself, why I’ve been utterly crap at doing anything the past couple weeks, and it also serves a huge, huge apology to everyone who has physically been with my grumpy arse, I’ve been in a foul and odd mood and I’m sorry if you got caught in it. I love you guys really. 

So, sleep thieves? I’m sure you all are aware of at least one in your life for some reason or another. I have 2 regulars, 3 if the kids each count as their own. The other is my Fibromyalgia, sometimes it causes insomnia, sometimes I’m just too damn uncomfortable to sleep, other times it’s the cause of medication. These past 2 weeks have been awful for sleep, and as you all know this has a great effect on yourself, and everyone around you. 

I’ve never understood “sleeping through” and the utterly ridiculous notion of expecting babies to sleep all night. It is not natural. They wake due to a biological design to prevent SIDS. Their stomachs are little and need filling up little and often, overfed babies “sleep through” due to their little bodies having to basically shut down so their stomach can catch up on digestion, it is not a sign of a good baby. It is normal for them to wake. I don’t know about you, but I still wake at least once a night, to pee, to drink or just because. So I’ve never expected the kids to sleep through, which they never have. I can count on both hands the number of times Logan has and a similar amount for Taya, although she did have a period of long sleep before the dreaded 4 month leap. These days Logan (6) goes to bed in his own room, and whenever he wakes, which can be anytime from 10pm through to 6am, he comes in to our bed for the remainder of the night. Taya (2) breastfeeds to sleep in the evening on the sofa with me. She’ll either stay in my arms or on a beanbag until we go up to bed. We co-sleep, we have her cotbed sidecarred to ours. There she’ll either sleep or sleep-feed all night. She’ll generally wake between 2 and 8 times. It can be tiring but it is so, so much easier co-sleeping, just roll over and pop a boob out, no need to fully wake up even. However the past couple weeks Taya has upped her waking to 10+ a night. It was so draining. I was exhausted, I was touched out, I didn’t want her touching me. But I kept reminding myself it is just a phase, it will pass. And it has, she’s slowly going longer again! I don’t see either of my kids ever sleeping through, but maybe they’ll get there one day, and if not it isn’t the end of the world. They’re only little for such a small amount of time, I’d rather cherish them, I’ll be able to sleep well in years to come. 

Old photo of our sleep setup. Taken at a ridiculously early time after Taya had a poonami. I still only get about the same amount of space.  

My second sleep thief, the one that causes the poor quality sleep is Fibromyalgia. I’ll go in to that in more detail another time, but just so you know now, I ache and hurt, a lot. I can cry from the painful aching at times, and getting comfortable at night is a never-ending struggle. 2 weeks ago I started to reduce my medication in preparation for changing to another, hopefully more helpful one. Whereas the actual aching and pain didn’t increase much (it hadn’t been working too well obviously!) the side effects, or withdrawal symptoms were horrendous. Despite the junior Dr telling me to just stop, I knew you had to reduce it slowly, although I could only do so 300mg at a time as she wouldn’t give me any lower, so I felt the effects. I’ve had a constant headache, I’ve felt sick, tired, grumpy, and I’m pretty sure I was a nightmare to live with. At night I was suddenly struck with more insomnia, I’d lie awake for hours, my anxiety would kick in and I’d worry myself to sleep. I’d wake up so sore from being in one spot for too long. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it, it was a horrible couple of weeks. I’m glad I’m finally off those tablets, and hoping that these new ones have a better effect. I can only hope. I still feel tired most of the time, a mix of my thieves all together and the general day to day aches take their toll, but I try and never let it slow me down. Sometimes I just have to, but mostly I smile and get on with it. 

So, here’s to some good nights ahead. I hope you all get some good sleep, even if you don’t get a full nights, make the most of the time you do get! Here’s some more photos of sleepy Taya, as I never tire of photos of her asleep 😍

The long road home.

So, we’re home! To be precise we got home at 22:40 on Sunday night, and since then it’s been a tiring blur of washing, tidying, shopping and play group this morning. Figured I’d give you a run down of our journey home today, and then shall do a rough overview of our holiday in another post. So, Sunday…

We’d set our alarms for 4am, with the aim of leaving the house by 5. The ferry wasn’t due to leave till 2pm, with boarding from 12:30, but with a 5 hour drive ahead of us we wanted to give ourselves an extra 2 hours for stops or traffic, and in the end it was a good decision. The family we were currently staying with, Kibas mum, her husband, 3 of Kibas sisters and one of his brothers, had all decided to get up to say goodbye so we attempted an earlyish night, which probably did not end up as early as we’d have hoped. 

I was rudely awoken at around 2am by a breeze coming from the previously closed window above my head. As I awoke I realised Kiba was standing there and as I asked what was up he replied with the short answer “I need to pee.” Ah. At his Mums to go to the loo at night meant going downstairs and getting through a room full of dogs that didn’t particularly like our night wandering, as we’d previously found out with many growls and barking, so I could see his predicament. I heard him attempt to get down only to retreat with the growls following him. After a bit more muttering and pacing he decided to pee out of the window, much to my amusement. It still makes me want to giggle thinking about it. 

4am came, and the final preparations were sorted. The goodbyes were hard and came with a lot of tears from Kibas mum and sisters, the hugs were long, no one wanting to let go. But 5am soon turned up and we set off, not long before the sun began to rise. I’ll admit that this time on the 5hr leg of our journey my tiredness got the better of me and I drifted in and out of sleep in between admiring the views, hoping it wouldn’t be too long before we were back. We took two stops along the way, first so Kiba could pee, and I could give Taya some milk, and the second as Taya was crying as she wanted to breastfeed again, and was getting quite upset. Luckily we’d allowed for extra time. 

We got close to the Hook of Holland before Kiba needed the toilet again, and we decided to get some food, so used my Google maps to find the closest McDonald’s. Now, if you haven’t driven over in Holland let me tell you now, the roads can be quite confusing! On a roundabout in most places you can go round and exit, in your lane, but if really need be you can change when safe to do so. In Holland you have one chance at choosing the right lane, as they are all separate, so we did go wrong a couple of times admittedly. Eventually we got to McDonald’s for around 11am, so we decided on an early lunch and quick play in their play area for the kids. By 12 we decided to head to the ferry. 

After checking in we surprisingly were allowed on straight away, no waiting about whatsoever. We were right near the front and this time remembered to take a photo of deck and coloured stairs so we wouldn’t forget. The only bad thing of boarding early meant we had a fair wait until setting sail, although even that was slightly early. We settled on the sun deck at first, after Taya had walked in to a post on the way there, (she has a tendency to not look where she is going) and Logan was thrilled that there was a ball available to play in the basketball/football cage. Taya was thrilled that she could open and shut the door of said cage. Taya then fell off the bench getting down off my lap, so wasn’t in the happiest of moods. We set sail and she wanted to breastfeed, so I ended up missing one of times I think is most exciting to watch overboard, leaving the port. It soon got quite windy and chilly, so we decided to venture inside and made our way to the playroom. I’m pretty sure Kiba had a good nap on the floor in there, Logan either played on his DS or watched the Curious George cartoons that they had on. Taya happily played. I chatted briefly on messenger and played with Taya. We stayed a good while before going for another wander, only to head back shortly for the children’s entertainment. 

This time it was an older gentleman called Adrian. He did a mix of magic, Punch & Judy (and the Dutch equivalent) and balloon modelling. He was a very interesting character who spoke his mind, knew his facts, and was very engaging with his audience. Logan once again managed to get picked, and came away with a pretty awesome balloon t-rex hat! Taya slept through the whole thing, she only fell asleep as she was hiding from Adrian, so it was worth going to see for both kids! 

We spent the rest of the trip in a space next to the stairs, as there were yet again no inside seats available. The kids thought this was great though as they could crawl under the stairs! They had fun chasing each other, looking through their books/magazines and playing with the playdoh grab bag I had bought them, and I also finally got Logan to write his postcards, better late than never! As we started to come in to port I took the kids for a walk on the sundeck, and let Logan have a quick kick about before heading to the play area, while waiting near the top of our stairs. Soon we were allowed down and we packed up in the car. It took forever to get off the ferry, for being nearly the first on we were left nearly till last to get off. And that’s where we began our wait. 45 minutes. It took 45 minutes to get through UK border control. Taya was miserable for most of it, and Logan fell asleep in that time! We were within the last 10 vehicles to leave the port. It was slightly ridiculous. 

Finally we were on the final stretch, less than 2 hours till home. We did stop off to grab a baguette and drink for Kiba and I. The kids had eaten all our snacks On-board the ferry, and we weren’t going to pay €5 for a sandwich! So we’d waited, and even though they weren’t the best, it was food and it was good. It gave us the final energy boost for the drive, before then I’d been struggling to stay awake again, but now I could keep Kiba company in the drive in to recognisable known territory. The light quickly faded, and we arrived home in the dark, just as we had left it. We got everything inside and it really didn’t take long before we all collapsed in to bed, deep sleeps all round.

Two days later and I still feel tired, and unorganised, but we’re slowly getting there, hopefully regular posts will also be back to normal soon. If you’ve got this far in yet another long post then thank you. 

A quick snap, I took a lot of photos, shall share some another time, so keep an eye out!

Road Trip to Germany 

So on Saturday we made the 15 plus hour trip to Germany, and I can say that it was pretty tiring, but very exciting all the same, and the destination was worth it. I’m glad we chose the route we did as it allowed the kids maximum time out of the car, and wasn’t as boring as sitting in your seat for all that time. Before I forget all the small details I wanted to share the day with you, although I know I’ve forgotten some already, but simply haven’t had time to write up sooner. Sorry it’s a long one, but it was a long day! 

Our alarm was set for 4:15am, we wanted to leave the house at 5:45 at the very, very latest, so were aiming to leave at 5:30. I’d had (another) unsettled night with Taya, but woke before the alarm along with Kiba. We both got up and sorted ourselves out and finish packing as much as possible before waking Logan. I’d made a list of what I needed to pack and do the night before so just worked on autopilot mainly. I also made myself a Klean Kanteen full of tea, an essential for such an early morning start. Once Logan was up and dressed he started to get quite excited, which helped us get a bit excited, although I think anxiety ruled the emotions of the day ahead. The last job once the car was packed was to get Taya up and in the car. She awoke, but didn’t take too long to drop back off, so, then began our 2 hour drive down to Harwich. It went smoothly, and we made good time. My tea helped a lot. As usual my guts played up a bit as they “woke up” but this time luckily it was just a bit of uncomfortable rumbling, darn IBS, could of been worse though. As we made it with time to spare we stopped off at Morrisons which was next to the International Docks. Taya had woken up and was eager to get out of her seat. There’s something very cute about a 2yr old wandering across a car park in her bees and ladybugs sleepsuit! We did a nappy change and toilet stop before Kiba grabbed some breakfast for the kids and himself. I really didn’t fancy anything, and if I did we had a coolbag full of snacks. Afterwards we headed to the ferry.

The ferry was huge, Logan was so excited, and I think even Kiba hadn’t realised it was going to be so big. We joined the queue to check in, of course we chose the slowest moving one, and Taya does not like being in a carseat and not moving. Thankfully it didn’t take too long, and after a quick check that everyone was who they said they were on the passports (honestly, Taya has grown so, so much since hers was done I’m not sure how they can say it’s valid!) we got given our boarding passes, and sent to lane number 5. We pulled up among the many, many cars, behind a car from Hannover, which if you don’t know, isn’t too far from our destination! (If you didn’t know, German cars all have an identification letter/s so you know where they’re from, for example H is Hannover, GÖ is Göttingen) Again we had a bit of a wait, so this time we let the kids come out to stand in front of the car. Taya kept shouting “cars!” as if she’d never seen any before. A pretty cool vehicle came in soon after us, I can only say it must have been some cross between a campervan/army reinforced vehicle, it was very big and loud! Soon the first queues started to move, so we popped the kids back in the car, or in Tayas case fighted to get a protesting small person restrained in her seat, which is not an easy task. It didn’t take us long to move though and the boys got very excited about entering the ferry. We followed the car in front and got directed in to a side space. I took a photo of the number area we were in to remind us, then started to unpack everything we’d need. My rucksack, bag each for the kids, and a coolbag. With those in hand and the kids, we followed the crowd and made our way up from deck 4, to deck 9, which would be our home for the next 7 or so hours. 

If we do it again, I think we’d try and get a cabin. Mainly so we didn’t have to carry everything with us, and also so Kiba could nap in a bed with no distractions, ready for the drive ahead. But this time we didn’t. And it wasn’t too bad, a bit annoying carrying everything, and Kiba didn’t get to sleep, but it was a very enjoyable trip. First thing we did was find a baby change room to get Taya dressed and ready for the day, in her Maxomorra mermaids no less. Then we had a quick wander to orientate ourselves with where everything was, restaurant, children’s play area, lounge, cinema, shop, and sun deck. We stopped on the sun deck for a bit, which is where we spent most of our time. Fact, there was not enough indoor seating for the amount of people they had sailing with them. We never got to sit inside other than in the play area. People claimed their seats and never left, or left their belongings, so we never once got the comfort of a nice chair! But now we know what to expect next time. So most of the trip was spent on the sundeck, mainly as I wanted to look out for porpoises, and there was a large space for kids to run around in, which they certainly did! We wanted to keep them active as possible so that they’d hopefully sleep for the last leg of the journey. I’m not going to lie, there were moments of boredom, tiredness and generally grumpiness, but overall I think we managed to keep the kids happy. I’d planned it by seeing it as a day out, they both had a bag of goodies (magazines, activity and reading books, toys etc) but these were actually barely touched. Food went down well, and I’m glad we took our own as the ferry was very expensive. A couple of times Kiba tried to lay down and have a bit of a nap, but it didn’t really work out. We also ventured in to the play area a few times, a very small room with a couple of interactive screens, bead mazes, wall puzzle/toys, seesaw and a couple of soft play squishy things. Nothing special, and far too small for the amount of small children On-board. However they did have two large round windows, where you could sit in, and the lighting was just perfect for some gorgeous photos. 

Taya did enjoy the playroom, especially the beads. In the afternoon we happened to be in there when a magic show started! The man, Abraca-David, was one of these really over the top (slightly embarrassing) people, but also very good. He kept all the children engaged, remember plenty of them weren’t English, and got plenty of kids to help him, one of them being Logan! He didn’t get a choice, he just got asked to pop a ball in a box, which he was very pleased about! Whereas Taya was terrified, she did not like David, and she did not like his possum puppet that he got out! We sat and boobed in the back corner instead, where it got very hot from stuffing so many people in such a small space. A tin of sardines comes to mind. I had worries beforehand if they had sealegs, I 2as the only one of us 4 that’d been on a ferry before. It did get quite choppy, and Logan did say he felt seasick at times but it never really bothered him. Kiba did feel quite unwell at one point too, so it was a shame he didn’t have a nice comfy seat to relax in. There were times on board that time felt so, so slow, but other times it seemed to go quite quick, but eventually Holland came in to sight. As we came in to port, we stayed on deck as long as possible before the rain started and we wanted to be ready to go back to the car. We had a bit of an oops moment as we couldn’t remember which stairs we came up, but after a bit of walking between them we settled on the right one and were soon back at the car. 

Taya fell asleep before we’d even left the ferry, which took a while so we were thankful we’d worn her out. As we exited the ferry it was peeing it down! We joined a queue, again, the slowest moving one, to head towards passport control. We spotted a car from Göttingen and wondered if we could follow them, or if we’d even see them again (we didn’t, but I’m keeping an eye out!). We finally made it to passport control where they needed to open the windows to check we had the right children. Unfortunately it was Tayas window, and we weren’t under a cover, so the rain woke her up! We were soon on our way, it was Kibas first time driving in Europe so we took it slowly. Hollands roads are confusing! We had the sat nav (not updated in 6yrs though…) and Google maps on Kibas phone going and yet we still had to work it out ourselves! It also smells a lot. I’m guessing from all their waterways, which may look very pretty, but I couldn’t put up with that stink! As we hit the motorway the heaven’s decided we needed more rain and it was like a tsunami, haven’t seen that much rain in a long while. As we went round Rotterdam it slowly stopped, and as we journeyed on it cleared up and got warmer. By the time we were in Germany the temperature peaked at 26 degrees. It was a 5 hour journey from Holland to Göttingen and it seemed to take forever. The kids mainly slept, Logan did ask a few times if we were nearly there and was most disheartened when I’d say it was a couple more hours. Bums, legs and backs became rather sore, but we kept pressing on. As the light started to fade the sat nav took us the wrong way and Kiba made the executive decision to go with the directions his Dad had told him. I’d printed a map for Logan to show him the route, and we ended up using that as a rough idea of where we were headed! I started to struggle to keep awake as the hours dragged on, but was determined to stay awake for Kiba. I normally fall asleep quite quickly, my tablets I take for my Fibromyalgia make me dozy, so it was a surprise and a big achievement that I stayed awake! We neared Göttingen at close to 11pm, and we reached familiar territory, although Kiba had never driven here before, and a fair bit has changed in the 3 years since we’ve been here. Taya woke and was quite upset, but a quick head rub and she was off again, so we found an open kebab shop in one of the villages Kiba used to live in. Since he moved to the UK, Kiba has always yearned for a proper German kebab, and he most definitely deserved one! He grabbed 3, one for himself, myself and his Dad, then we headed towards his Dad’s house. Unfortunately in the dark on a hill, we were met with a closed road. A quick call later and confirmation of the route Kiba thought he should take we were off, and eventually, after midnight we arrived. After saying hello to everyone, and Taya getting quite excited by the horse in the yard, and the dogs, we sat down to eat our kebabs and have a good catch up. I say we, but my German is basically very simple, I can understand a fair bit, and can speak some, but am most definitely not very confident in my ability. Being tired my brain couldn’t even process their chatting especially at the speed they were talking! We then had to sort beds out before collapsing in to them, one camp bed (for Logan) and two mattresses for the rest of us with sleeping bags as quilts. It was half 1 by the time we all fell in to bed, a whole 21 hours after Kiba and I woke up. To say I was shattered would be an understatement. To say that I was so incredibly achey and sore would be an understatement. Bed was very, very welcoming, I was happy to stay there forever. Sleep was good. Until the kids woke at 7:30am. And that’s when the real fun and adventures began. 

So yea, we’re here, and better prepared for the trip home on Sunday. But for now we’re having a great time. I hope to do a post for each day, perhaps a couple days, we shall see. I’m taking a ton of photos, and shall add some to this post when I get them on my laptop. If anyone is put off by roadtripping with small children, don’t be, it is a great adventure! 😀