Imogen at 2 months

Imogen is now over 10 weeks old! Here’s the photos I took of her at 2 months and 1 day:

Imogen-at-2-months Imogen-at-2-months Imogen-at-2-months

Compared to her 2 week and 1 month photos:

Imogen-2-weeks-+-1-month

She’s definitely getting longer and filling out! She’s not newborn “scrunched up” like at all anymore. She’s had her 8 week vaccinations which she was very brave about (I guess they weren’t as painful as the blood tests or canula she has had) but was rather upset later in the day so had her first ever dose of Calpol. She can typically be unsettled during the day and difficult to put down (I am typing this one-handed with her sleeping over my shoulder) and I’ve mastered the Close sling to put her in when she wants to be cuddled but I really need to crack on with things. I bought the sling when Seren was born but we never had to use it so didn’t! Here she is in the sling and also her asleep in her pram with her hand sticking out from under a muslin, just like her big sister used to do.

hand-and-sling

She does like to stretch out on her playmat at least once a day though and have a good leg kicking session. She’s started to push herself back with her legs and also rolls onto her side already. She seems pretty strong! The other evening she was in the middle of the playmat one minute and off on the floor the next having pushed herself back!

imogen 2 months

She also likes being outside in the evenings, snoozing and watching her daddy water the garden.

imogen 2 months

Thankfully she sleeps well overnight, from about 11pm to 5am ish when she wakes for a quick feed and is easily settled afterwards. We’re still mix feeding though her latch is much better now and we’re doing more breastfeeding than ever and having to express less milk.

She’s smiling more and gives us a huge grin first thing in the morning and has lots of smiles for her sister. The introduction of a camera seems to break the spell though so it’s tricky to take smiley photos so you’ll have to make do with this blurry one:

imogen 2 months

She’s pretty social and always has smiles for other people (sometimes more so than ones for mummy!). This morning she was grinning at her reflection in the mirror in M&S, I guess she liked the look of that smiley baby! She’s spent some time hanging out with her little baby friends, Arthur, Thomas, Camilla, Emily, Arlo and Phoebe and baby cousin Elena but doesn’t seem to register their existence just yet.

imogen 2 monthsShe’s still getting lots of visitors to meet her and she enjoys all of the cuddles!

imogen 2 months

She also got to spend a couple of hours on her own at nana and grandad’s whilst I treated myself to some me-time at the dentist (!). She was perfectly happy being there without mummy or daddy thankfully!

Imogen at 1 month!
Imogen’s Birth Story

Posted in All, Baby Days | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Back to swimming

Before the front door slamming incident I mentioned the other day, Seren had her first swimming lesson since Imogen arrived. She’s been having lessons with Born to Swim since she was 5 months old and as I needed to get in the pool with her for these lessons, we haven’t been able to go for a while and I know she’s missed it. We were lucky enough to arrange a couple of 1-1 lessons with her old swimming teacher though and Seren loved being back in the water!

She was initially a bit nervous. As we sat at the poolside waiting for the lesson, I asked her if she had noticed that I hadn’t changed into my swimming costume. I explained that I was going to stay on the poolside with baby Imogen and she would be lucky enough to go in the pool just with teacher Mandi, who she adores. I told her Imogen and I were looking forward to watching her swim. She climbed onto my knee, buried her head in my shoulder and said “take your dress off mummy, take your dress off”.

Mandi did a great job of making Seren feel comfortable and enticing her into the water by playing a game with her. They choose their favourite rubber ducks, lined them up and threw them in the pool. Of course, they then had to get into the pool to get them! Before long Seren was splashing away through the usual lesson routine.

It was great for me to see her from the poolside instead of being in with her and I took a couple of sneaky photos and a video.

toddler-swimming toddler-swimming toddler-swimming

I think I’m going to book her on to council run group lessons at a different, where the parents don’t have to participate, when she turns 3 in September. I just hope we find a teacher as good as Mandi!

Posted in All, Enfield Etc, Toddler Time | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gone parenting

sistersHello there! I’m not getting much time to myself at the moment, as I’m sure you can appreciate, so it’s been hard to keep up to date with our tales.

I remember a friend saying “it’s not twice as hard, it’s twenty times as hard” after the arrival of her second child. I also read something recently that said when your second baby arrives you feel like you know what you are doing with the newborn but the toddler becomes more challenging in a “PUT YOUR BABY SISTER DOWN AND DO NOT FEED HER CHEERIOS” type way. Based on my short experience of being a mum to two, I completely agree with these comments! Our main challenges at the moment are the continued feeding difficulties with Imogen and potty training Seren. Neither of these things are going as well as I’d like and both are pretty logistically and emotionally draining.

On the whole though we are all getting used to being a family of four, in that Andy and I are getting used to being needed by two little people at exactly the same time and Seren is getting used to sharing us. She loves Imogen and being a big sister but has found not being top dog around here anymore tough. The best tantrum was when she slammed the front door behind me as I went back out to get Imogen out of the car. We’d just returned from swimming and I guess she was tired, hot and feeling a little sensitive as she is prone to at the moment, she wanted a cuddle which I said I would give her once I’d got Imogen inside. 99% of the time I put the door on the latch as I go back and forth to the car but of course this was the one time I hadn’t. Seren was locked inside and is too little to open the door herself. Fortunately my bag with my phone were still outside with Imogen and grandad was able to come round quickly with spare keys! Thankfully Seren was happily playing with her toys when we got in.

Hopefully things will settle down soon and the big challenges of today will be, almost, forgotten about before long.

Posted in All, Baby Days, Toddler Time | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The garden in June

We’ve been lucky to spend quite a lot of June in the garden! Playing with the usual toys, drawing with pavement chalks, chasing bubbles, having real and pretend picnics and sliding into the paddling pool.

june garden june-garden-5There’s lots of colour at the moment, we planted out our bedding plants at the end of May and perennials such as the fuchsia and hydrangea are now flowering too. The early clematises and gorgeous aliums are now both over though along with most of the snapdragons.

june garden june garden

The hydrangea is now 4 or 5 times the size it was when we planted it 2 years ago!

june garden june garden

Perennial fuchsia and one last snapdragon.

june-garden

I have no idea what the plants below are called but I love the colours!

june-garden

The nigella is flowering too, I discovered last week during a conversation with my auntie about blue flowers that its also called ‘love in a mist’! You can see why.

june garden

We’ve planted lots of geraniums in pots to cheer up the dreary concrete at the back of the garden and filled the hanging basket too.

june garden june garden

I don’t think my peony plant is going to flower alas. The buds have gone hard and pretty dead looking. The plant is from my stepmum’s garden and didn’t flower last year after we uprooted it and moved it down south. I was hopeful for flowers this year but after reading more about the plant it may take another year to get settled.

june gardenMrS picked up these ‘Stars and Stripes’ petunias and I love them!

june garden

The vintage fruit crates that we planted with climbers and bedding plants are doing well. The jasmine in one of the crates is flowering and starting to smell wonderfully.

june garden june-gardenThe climbing rose we planted last year is now flowering too. I love the mixture of pinks, corals and brighter orange colours it has.

june gardenThe passiflora has spread a lot but no flowers as yet.

june garden

We’ve hung bird seed in coconut shells and Seren has enjoyed watching the magpies come into the garden to eat it.

june garden

Seren is also enjoying being chief strawberry and raspberry picker! Which means that as soon as something turns red she is allowed to pick them for an immediate snack. So I don’t really get to photo the ripe fruit but here are some green ones.

june-garden

We planted out the tomatoes and MrS has put a robust frame in place after last year’s crop got into a bit of a mess.

june garden june garden

The courgette plants have been planted out too though it would seem that they might be squash plants instead! I can’t tell yet.

june garden

In the vegetable patch, the potatoes are flowering and the peas are growing up the canes. I think the carrots we planted in between them have been totally overshadowed – oops!

june garden

Hopefully July will bring more sunny, carefree garden days.

P.S. The garden in May

Posted in All, Me | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

can't take my eyes of you

Image via Pinterest

It would seem that Frankie Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ is mine and Imogen’s song. I’ve been bursting out into the ‘I love you baby’ chorus when I pick her up to which she responds with a bewildered look. Like this:

bewildered

Seren’s song is ‘You Are My Sunshine’ (and to a lesser extent ‘Little Donkey’ but I try not to sing Christmas songs too much in the height of summer). Seren complained when when I song ‘her’ song to Imogen, telling me that, “no mummy, I’m the sunshine”.

MrS and I don’t actually have a song though we danced to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ at our wedding. And I walked down the aisle to the pianist playing Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ chosen as my parents sang it to me when I was a baby!

Posted in All, Baby Days | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hillyfields to Forty Hall Walk

Forty Hall has been getting a lot of love on these pages recently but it really is a great local place to pop to for a few hours or even as another child friendly stop on the north eastern stretch of the M25. It’s a 5 minute drive from junction 25 (as is Myddelton House Gardens and Capel Manor Gardens).

As well as wandering around the grounds there is a longer circular walk that can be done from Hillyfields and back again. Part of the walk is on the Enfield Greenways pathway which was laid last year making it super buggy friendly and the rest of it is certainly possible with a buggy you don’t mind getting a bit muddy. Hillyfields to Forty Hall is also part of Section 17 of the London Loop walk which goes from Cockfosters to Enfield Lock.

hillyfields to forty hall

Start by walking across Hillyfields from your chosen starting point in the direction of the Rose and Crown pub on Clay Hill (which claims to have been used by both Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin as hideouts). Or before you start the walk you could pop in to Karen’s Kitchen cafe within St Luke’s church at the south east corner of Hillyfields on Phipps Hatch Lane. Karen’s Kitchen is a little child friendly, cash-only cafe serving gorgeous homemade cakes (and more substantial lunch things) open from 10am Wednesday to Saturday.

hillyfields

Hillyfields is an open grassy area with woodland and a bandstand that little ones will enjoy exploring. It’s hilly (you may have guessed that) so care needed with scooters and bikes. You can play Pooh sticks on the little bridge over Turkey Brook too! Exit Hillyfields at the north east corner and cross over Clay Hill. Enter Whitewebbs Park on the footpath down by the right hand side of the Rose and Crown pub.

hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hallThe footpath takes you all the way to Maidens Bridge, a Grade II listed bridge that runs over Turkey Brook (which used to be known as Maidens Brook). To get to Forty Hall you need to leave the pathway, not long before you get to Maidens Bridge, turning right following a worn path across the grass.

hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall

You should then get to the ‘avenue of trees’ which runs from Forty Hall down to the Turkey Brook valley.

hillyfields to forty hall

At Forty Hall you can sit down for a rest, walk round the lake, tour the house and visit the cafe. It’s worth noting that as I write (June 2014) there is quite a bit of building work going on in the grounds around the lake.

forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hallTo complete the walk back to Hillyfields you need to find the pathway behind the Walled Garden. This path takes you down in between Forty Hall and Forty Hall Farm back to the Whitewebbs Park woodland. If there has been lots of rain or snow, this bit can be quite muddy! And last time I visited there were quite a few stinging nettles so watch out for those. We can usually see the farm’s pigs from the path but sometimes they are nearer than other times!

hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall forty hall farm

As you walk through the woodland there are signs leading you back to Hillyfields.

hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall hillyfields to forty hall

Before long you rejoin the path back to the Rose and Crown and you can head back to where you started from.

Posted in Enfield Etc, Me, Toddler Time | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imogen at 1 month!

Imogen-1-monthImogen-1-monthphotos-late-spring4Top 3 photos at 1 month old, bottom 2 photos at 2 weeks old

Imogen is a whole month old already! The month has flown by, though at the same time it feels like she has always been here. I’m not too sorry to say goodbye to the fragile, anxious very-newborn days and move on to slightly more settled times.

After having such a positive, straightforward birth, we had a few issues in the first week which saw us back in hospital for 3 nights on children’s ward. The primary issue was that Imogen wasn’t feeding enough – a combination of not enough appetite, bad wind and not latching on well when breastfeeding saw her lose ‘too much’ of her birth weight in the first few days. Most babies lose some weight initially as they adjust from being fed constantly by the umbilical cord to needing to be more proactive about getting milk. She picked up a slight infection too. She had to have a feeding tube, IV fluids and IV antibiotics as well as being hooked up to a heart and oxygen monitor. The doctors carried out a variety of tests to rule out anything more serious which all came back negative thankfully. Not an experience I wish to repeat in a hurry and I was so pleased to get home to my big girl and be able to cuddle Imogen properly again without the various wires and tubes attached to her.

She is absolutely fine now, eating well and putting on weight, you can see that in the photos above taken 2 weeks apart. We still haven’t got the hang of breastfeeding so I’m expressing milk for her and she has some formula milk too. We are still trying with breastfeeding and have more success some days than others, especially when I relax about it.

Imogen at 1 month Imogen-1-month

After being super sleepy at the beginning, she is having longer periods of being awake and alert and she is just starting to follow moving objects with her eyes. She stares at the toys hanging on her chair and playmat and kicks the playmat’s bars too. I think she has made a few tentative attempts to reach out for an object with her hands though that could be a coincidence! She still has the tight newborn grasp.

photos-late-spring photos-late-springHer skin is filling out and becoming less wrinkly and is less dry and flaky too. She isn’t showing any signs of eczema or cradle cap like her sister had yet and she hasn’t started to lose her velvety hair (or fur from her ears! yet either. She has had plenty of ‘wind smiles’ but we don’t think there’s been any real ones yet! She still gets wind after feeding and is quite a sicky baby too.

photos-late-springOverall she’s pretty chilled out and settles easily, waking up once in the night to feed. Whilst half asleep she makes little grunting noises and does karate kicks. She very much likes a cuddle and can complain loudly if expected to nap on an inanimate object. So, I’m typing this one handed, laptop balanced on feeding cushion with a sleeping month old baby snuggled into my left arm, I can’t complain too much about that!

Posted in All, Baby Days | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Father’s Day!

I hope all the daddies out there had a lovely day yesterday. MrS had the precious, priceless gift of a lie in having stayed out to watch the England World Cup game the night before! Plus some daddy snacks and drinks to give him the energy to keep up with a slightly manic two year old and a newborn baby.

fathers' day

fathers'-day

It’s been lovely to watch him bonding with Imogen over the last month (yep she is now a whole month and one day old!). He’s been an absolute rock to all three of us since she was born. Seren and him have been spending more time together just the the two of them, doing day to day stuff and off having adventures too. During the weekdays her first question when she wakes up is “where’s daddy?” and follows that up with “I want daddy” during the day.

Willows-Farm2 Willows Farm

Happy Father’s Day Andy, your three girls love you very much!

Father’s Day 2013

Posted in All, Baby Days, Toddler Time | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Life in photos // late spring 2014

We went to a fun day back in April, Seren loves a bouncy castle at the moment and is quite keen on having her face painted though only sat still long enough for half a face!

photos-late-spring

I got through quite a few craft / DIY projects before Imogen arrived including making some (very simple) curtains for the girls’ bedrooms. Seren wanted to ‘help’.

photos-late-spring photos-late-spring

Carpet pizza picnic at our friends’ house!

photos-late-spring

Cakes at another friends’ house – a statuesque red velvet cake and chocolate ginger cake too.

photos-late-spring

Imogen Lily arrived! We’ve taken a lot of photos as you can imagine.

photos-late-spring photos-late-spring photos-late-spring photos-late-spring

We’ve had a lot of visitors, piles of cards, lovely gifts and beautiful flowers too – Imogen is a lucky baby!

photos-late-spring

My sister came to stay for a week to help us out. Seren loved having auntie Leanne around to take her for numerous park trips and to play out in the garden with. In the photo on the right Seren is demonstrating to Leanne how to catch a ball!

photos-late-spring

We’ve had more time than usual in the house. Seren has been pretty good at entertaining herself, she’s been playing on her piano a lot and putting her dressing up box to good use.

photos-late-spring

She’s also enjoying being a big sister!

photos-late-spring photos-late-spring

And we’ve all been enjoying getting outside when it’s not raining. We had our first BBQ last weekend! A super low maintenance one with most of the food cooked in the oven and finished on the BBQ for that smokey flavour. It seemed much less stressful that way! And a berry custard tart to finish.

photos-late-spring photos-late-spring photos-late-spring photos-late-spring photos-late-spring

We finally escaped from the house for a trip to Myddelton House.

photos-late-spring

Life in photos // early spring

Follow me on Instagram for more photos! http://instagram.com/sianlittlestarandme

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Early summer at Myddelton House Gardens

myddelton house myddelton houseWe had our first family-of-four outing last Friday. Just a local trip to Myddelton House Gardens as we wanted to a) not go very far; b) have minimal financial outlay, as we didn’t know if we’d have to rush home if it all got too much! I’ve written about Myddelton House before after our visit last summer, the house used to be the home of botanist E.A. Bowles and the restored gardens are open to the public along with a small museum and cafe. It’s 5 minutes from Junction 25 of the M25 if you are looking for a free ‘stretch your legs’ stop on the north east section of the motorway.

The good news is that we survived the visit and had a pleasant couple of hours. We even bumped in to a couple of friends too – I love that about local trips! We did have a couple of stressful moments when I totally lost Seren in the shrubbery (daddy found her) and then when Imogen needed feeding and Seren needed a nappy change at the same time but we tag-teamed for that. I guess when I’m on my own, the nappy can wait!

We tried out the buggy board on our Bugaboo Bee for the first time and Seren enjoyed riding on it. Hopefully that will translate well to longer, more purposeful journeys! She’s still been sitting in the Bee in toddler mode until recently and had a moment of “that’s my buggy!” when she saw Imogen in it for the first time but now she says that they are sharing it which seems OK with her.

myddelton house myddelton houseWe spent some time looking at the ducks and the carp in the lake and watching other people feed them (there is a machine selling fish food but we didn’t have the necessary 20p, note for next time). You can just about see the carp in the 3rd photo below.

myddelton house myddelton house myddelton houseWe played hide and seek in the old market cross.

myddelton houseWe wandered in the poppies, planted to commemorate this year’s 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War. We (well, I) considered using Poppy as Imogen’s middle name instead of Lily due to the anniversary. They have also planted barley on the Tulip Terrace to commemorate the campaign to grow vital food supplies as imports were cut off. The government took over 3 million acres of land to use as farm land in 1917-1918, any area that could be converted to grow food was used.

myddelton house myddelton houseI enjoyed looking at the other seasonal flowers and getting some inspiration for our garden. I especially loved the peonies and foxgloves.

myddelton house myddelton houseWe finished with an ice lolly before heading home. I’m flying solo with both kids as of today! Wish me luck. I don’t expect we will have any more exciting outings just yet but we’re expecting a few visitors which will be lovely all the same.

www.visitleevalley.org.uk/en/content/cms/nature/gardens-heritage/myddelton-house-gardens

Posted in All, Baby Days, Enfield Etc, Toddler Time | Tagged , , | 3 Comments