Having children is a wonderful experience no doubt about it, but when it comes to our parenting we all have doubts and fears that crop up from time to time. Having just got through all the ‘when are you having another one?’ comments from friends, family, and strangers in shops, let me give you the inside scoop on the stuff nobody talks about openly…

1. When you’re pregnant at some point you will cry that nobody will love your eldest anymore.

They will and they do, trust me. Babies are cute, but they don’t do much. Your eldest is probably developing at an incredible rate learning amazing new skills every day and becoming their own person and family will be just as interested in this as they always have been *whilst* doting on the new baby as well. You will find friends eager to include your eldest in the whole thing, talking to them about being a big brother or sister and maybe even putting a little something in with the baby’s gift for them too. Friends rock.

2. You will worry if you can love the second child as much as your first.

You absolutely will. Love is an amazing thing that you cannot measure out into jars or share out like skittles, and mum’s are awesome at it! You will have that rush of love every time you look at your second just as you do when you look at your first baby, and it will knock you off your feet.

3. You will be just as excited about development milestones

Watching a tiny human learn how to crawl and walk never gets old. You may have heard other parents blithely say it all blurs into one on your second baby and yes, you may not be able to remember exactly how old they are in weeks and hours but it won’t mean you feel any less invested in their physical and mental and emotional development. It’s all joyful second time around too, and you have another tiny person to celebrate it with too!

4. You will have a ‘what have I done?’ moment

Nobody really says this out loud but I’m sure we’ve all been there. I hold my hands up and say I definitely have. Some days are just harder than others and there might come a time where you’re stood outside the car wondering how one of you is supposed to get two of them and the shopping out, and in which order. It does get easier, promise.

5. Your heart will swell when you see them together

When you see your eldest trying to comfort your crying baby, or the two of them cuddled up on the sofa or playing a game together, something in your soul will go off like a firework in a way you never even knew possible.

Parenting is hard, whether you have two children, or one, or six, but there is always some beauty to be found in amongst it. A sibling bond is an amazing thing to feel part responsible for helping to cultivate. If you are pregnant on your second, don’t kick yourself for having these type of thoughts – you won’t be the first or the last. Siblings are awesome!

 

My breastfed baby had a cow’s milk protein allergy so I had to switch to a dairy free diet. I ate dairy free for approximately 18 months which was around when my baby was slowly able to tolerate dairy products. These meal ideas are dairy free, really easy to make, and full of goodies for nutrition which you need lots of mamma! Don’t worry if you don’t like salad, there are lots of healthy things you can eat.

5 simple dairy free meals for breastfeeding mums: 

1. Turkey Meatballs

High in protein (the building block for growth) and low in fat.

In a mixing bowl, combine turkey mince, cooked onion & garlic, breadcrumbs, one beaten egg and dried herbs. shape into balls and cook on a baking tray in the oven for 20mins at 180°C

2. Spaghetti Bolognaise

Use wholewheat pasta to feel fuller for longer.

Fry onion, garlic, beef mince or Quorn. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and stock made with a beef knorr stock pot (dairy free). Simmer until sauce has thickened. Serve over wholewheat pasta or spaghetti.

3. Mashed avocado on white bread.

A very quick but tasty lunch, white bread provides calcium and the healthy fats in avocado may help with milk production.

Mash an avocado and spread straight onto toasted white bread, no butter needed! Serve with fresh carrot sticks. (Top tip – keep any unused avocado in a tub in the fridge with a piece of chopped lemon to prevent it going brown.)

Avocado

4.Peanut butter bagel with chia seeds

Nuts will help you feel full while chia seeds are calcium superstars. Buy from your local supermarket, no need to visit a special health store to find them. Simply sprinkle about a tablespoonful over a bagel spread with peanut butter. If avoiding peanuts, swap for mashed banana – it’s nicer than it sounds! (chia seeds are also nice sprinkled over porridge).

chia seeds

5. Parsnip and carrot soup

Root vegetables are full of fibre which will help you feel full and keep you regular. Use pre-chopped veg and chuck in the slow cooker to make it even easier.

Fry onion and garlic in a saucepan with a little olive oil, add 3 each chopped parsnip and carrots and about a litre of dairy free stock. Add a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger and a teaspoon of mild curry powder. Cook until the vegetables are soft and blend with a hand blender. Serve with fresh bread and dairy free spread (vitalite is nice). dairy free soup

I hope these five easy dairy free meals have given you some inspiration. If you’ve only recently gone dairy free, it does get easier! What’s your go-to quick dairy free meal that’s easy to make? Let us know in the comments.

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dairy free meals

Except the days when it’s not and I feel more like staff. The tired list of tasks on replay in my mind. Planning to spend time with my daughter when the baby naps. Wondering when the best time will be today to have a shower. Not speaking to another adult for an entire day. Being a stay at home mum should be easy, but sometimes it’s just hard.

Everything’s Fine.

Ask me how I am and I will say good, because things are good. My husband goes to work every day to a job he enjoys, he earns a good wage and I quit work 7 years ago to stay home and raise our kids. Together we’ve made a nice home, we have nice friends, we go to church every Sunday as a family. There is nothing ‘wrong’. I will tell you things are good because they are, and because I can’t quite put my finger on what isn’t.

 

 

Everything's Rosy, Thanks!

 

Homeschooling my 7yr old and caring for my 15month old baby means my days are busy and filled with the over-riding sense that not one of us is quite getting their needs fully met. If I’m singing with the baby my 7yr/o is watching YouTube. When I’m teaching my daughter, the baby is pulling my trouser leg for attention. When I’m cooking or cleaning, they’re both watching Peppa Pig. If there is any pause in the day I can guarantee it is some kind of meal time. Meals which take me time to make (and I hate cooking) then battle with my daughter to eat and at the end throw most of the food away anyway.

Feeling Valued

My list of tasks -usual stuff like laundry- conflicts with the real reason I’m home which is to spend time nurturing my kids. Chiding myself that I even want to waste time on the house while simultaneously feeling the most accomplished I have all week when it’s mess-free. Feeling resentful that such menial tasks are my only way of feeling valued. Breastfeeding a toddler to sleep whilst typing one handed.

Things are good, overall. But sometimes the day-to-day can get me down. It goes without saying that I am so grateful for my family. I thank God for them every day, lots and lots of times a day.

I don’t have much to moan about when my life’s biggest stressor is whether or not to brave the supermarket with two kids in tow. But I seem to have managed it anyway! There are much bigger things to worry about but sometimes it’s just harder than it looks from the outside looking in. I can kindly give myself the grace to say that is OK, and you can too.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

We went to Disney World Resort Florida in 2015. We were a family of 3 back then and I will always fondly remember the holiday for lots of magical reasons. The big one being that I know it was when I firmly decided I wanted to have another child. I was sat on the back of a Disney shuttle bus on the way back to the hotel from Epcot one evening, specifically. So even though he’s not physically in the photos, if you look closely, you might see my Beb in the twinkle of my eye. We are planning another visit back to Disney World in 2019 when Beb is a little older so naturally I’ve already started planning. 😉

Magic Kingdom castle

We had an amazing time and although I feel like we are the only family in the world who managed to have a bit of a row at the foot of the Magic Kingdom Castle on our first visit (we were hot and jet lagged what can I say) we soon got immersed into all things Disney and had a really wonderful, magical holiday. Once we’d slept a bit.

Part of the success of that is down to the planning. So read on if you want some tips. Disney of course provides the magic once you get there.

Planning the finer details of our trip fell to me/I grasped it with both hands like an over-zealous bridesmaid at a wedding jumping for the bouquet. Whatever . Tomato/tomato. (How many of you just read both those tomato’s in a British accent like me.) So as you may imagine I got straight to it researching the don’t miss rides and the ones suitable for smaller children, the best places and times to meet characters, the best restaurants to eat at, all of that hoo-ha. I went all out. As I have a tendency to do. Lucky for me there are hundreds and hundreds of interesting and useful blogs and write-ups all about planning a holiday (or vacation) to Disneyworld. I enjoyed a good few weeks feasting on all that juicy info. I was pinning like nobody’s business. Check out my Disney Pinterest board if you want some good tips.

When we got there and we were all three of us baking in the heat on our first day and my 5 year old was knackered from all the travelling I quickly realised all my plans would have to be dropped from a great height if we were to enjoy ourselves at all. So that’s my foremost top tip.

minnie-mouse-ears

Expect A LOT of walking in Disney Parks

 

Plan to have a very loose plan or no plans at all.

This gobble-de-gook warrants some explaining.  You’re in Disney, there’s so many iconic things to see. You’ve been dreaming about this trip most of your life and you don’t want to miss a thing. That’s where your planning comes in.

  1. Before you go decide which things (the smaller the list the better) at EACH park are the essential things for you and your family to see that you do not want to miss.
  2. Book your fast passes in advance for these attractions.
  3. Pad the day around the times of these top fast passes.
  4. Be prepared to throw everything out the window and go back to the hotel to chill in the pool.
  5. Point 4 is the most useful piece of advice about enjoying your holiday to Disneyworld! It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness and excitement only to find everyone is exhausted!

 

Fast Passes

Fast passes are incredible; personally I wouldn’t want to do Disney without them. If you stay at a Disney resort hotel you can book them up to 60 days prior to your check in date. We stayed at the Royal Caribbean it is lovely check it out! As simple as they sound they are a queue jump system where you can take the express lane onto rides and for meets if you book a time slot in advance. So fast passes –

  1. Book them before you go. Yes you can actually book your time slot for fast passes onto rides before you even get off the Airplane. This is great for really popular things like meeting Anna & Elsa. You may even find all the fast pass time slots are taken on certain things weeks before your holiday.
  2. Spread them out across different things rather than use them just for all the big rides. I booked ours for rides, meets, and even a great viewpoint for the parade.
Royal-Carribean-disney-resort

The Royal Caribbean Resort Walt Disney World Florida

ariel-float-disney

Memory Maker

I paid quite a bit extra for this picture package when we went in spring 2015. It’s currently being thrown in for free as a bonus when you book with certain travel operators (sshh it’s Thomson/TUI group I think).  It’s so much more than a picture package. There are photographers wandering around the parks all day taking photos of guests. With memory maker, they beep touch your magic band and all the photos taken of you that day are uploaded to your Disney account. It’s awesome!

  1. Look out for the marked view points to have your photo with all the iconic landmarks in the background.
  2. Get all your professional photos from the character meets uploaded straight to your phone.
  3. All your great family holiday photos in one place. Be sure to download them within the given timeframe when you get home. (I think it was 30 days but check the Disney website).
  4. Enjoy the moments without worrying if you caught a good picture.
  5. Mum in the picture and family photos with everyone in that aren’t selfies.

So those are 3 of my tippety top tips off the top of my head for planning your Disneyworld holiday of dreams. Let me know if you found them useful and if you learned something that you didn’t know before!

We are planning another trip to Disneyworld Florida in 2019 and so there will be lots more posts coming up here all about planning a Disney holiday. Just imagine all the pins I can find in 2 years!

I will be sharing the most helpful YouTube channels and blog reviews I have found that are go-to places for vids and tips about Disney. So feel free to bookmark this page for future reference, pin the image below, and if you liked my 1st ever Disney post please share it with others via the social buttons below. Thanks!

 

3-essential-disney-planning-tips

Usually in our house if there are bugs going around just one of us will get it. My 6yr old brings a lot home from school, mainly coughs and colds, but Rich and I rarely pick it up as well. If we do, there is usually one of us on form enough to take on the lion’s share of the care. This week we have all been ill all at once with an horrible fluey virus which seemed to manifest itself slightly differently in each of us. I initially thought it was a cold until one night when my internal thermometer was having trouble figuring out if I was in a fiery furnace or the Arctic Circle which didn’t translate well for me physiologically. Needless to say it has been quite a miserable week culminating in a cancelled 1st birthday party (sad face emoticon). You know when mum is sick it too it must be bad.

Child no 1

So Beg had it first, but she covers well. The thought she could possibly be missing out on some amazing fun activity is too much temptation for her to admit to feeling rough. I only ever know she is genuinely ill when I can convince her to lay on the couch in the day. On top of that she saw the neighbours kids pull up and asked if she could go to knock for them and when I said “maybe in 5 mins” she didn’t even argue and later declared herself too tired to play anyway. That’s when I really start feeling bad for her!

Man Flu

Rich got it next and started feeling really rough on babba’s birthday while we were visiting a farm. Not adverse to the odd bout of man flu, he can also be a right trooper as well – he was so awesome when both our babies were born – In fact once I’d caught this one too I felt sorry for him having to go to work.

siblings

Child no 2

I’m the first to know the baby is ill because he gets even more clingy than usual. I’m sure any mum can empathise with the clingy baby situation. As in don’t-even-think-about-leaving-my-line-of-sight clingy. Taking the baby to the toilet with you for a pee clingy. Unfortunately Beb’s virus presented as croup for him. I’ve never ‘seen’ croup in real life before but if you ever have, you will know what I mean when I say the noise they make with the cough is quite worrying. It was a very loud seal like barking cough that just came on really suddenly. Thanks be to Google for it’s 24hr wisdom, I was pretty sure it was croup. I took him up the Drs the next morning to be checked over. She prescribed him a steroid to open his airway in case he needed it but I held off administering it as it sounded like a heavy medication and he was doing ok. Happy to say 2 days later his cough is definitely improving.

Mum Flu

So then it was my turn. 1st stage complete denial, as I’m sure most mums do. 2nd stage – fear, “Oh no I think I’m ill and I have 1,2,3 things to do.” 3rd stage – admit defeat and so ensues miserable slopping about the house in pj’s and slippers praying  for a fairy godmother (one like Jennifer Saunders in Shrek if possible because she’s hilarious).

It’s no fun when the whole family is sick at the same time and I was a bit sad to cancel the baby’s party. A few days later and we are all on the mend and life goes on. I’m just thankful that it was just a virus and not a sickness bug (nobody needs extra laundry when they’re sick) and that Beb’s cough is getting better, not worse. It brings it home that we live in a place where I can just zoom the baby to the doctors if I am worried. How have you coped when the whole family has had an illness at the same time? Do you find it hard to ask for help? Do you use any natural remedies to prevent illness that you would recommend? Let me know below.

Hopefully we are at the end of flu season now and we can begin to look forward to long summer days of warmth and sunshine.