Mindfulness and Staying Afloat

It’s been a difficult few days, and I’ve been very glad of the 31 days of mindfulness to keep me going.  I’ve enjoyed looking at the variety of photos on Instagram, and especially reading Leigh’s latest blog post on mindfulness which I found very helpful.  Two things in particular jumped out at me.  Firstly, the encouragement to “be kinder to myself” – like Leigh I have good friends who tell me this, and like her I also find it very difficult.  But I am trying.  Secondly, the advice to “accept however I am feeling, whether that feeling is happy, sad or anything in between.”  I am working on that too, and it helps to focus on small positives without allowing negatives to take over and cloud the view.

mindfulness 2

So these are my latest four days of minfulness.

Day 5 – It was a rather up and down day, but it ended well.  I spent a relaxing evening having Turkish takeaway with a very special friend who always makes me feel better about everything, but I didn’t have a photo of that.  So instead I took a picture of my favourite blanket when I came home and snuggled up on the sofa with the lovely husband.

Day 6 – a long, tiring day at the church fair, but the children had a good time and I enjoyed twenty minutes of peace and quiet in the chapel in the midst of it all.  There was a sort of “lucky dip” basket of blessings to take away, and I love the one I picked out.

Day 7 – another tiring day, and too much on my mind in the evening, but I tried to focus on something positive, and I chose the cushion which I bought at the church fair.   I love the fabric, which came from Dublin.   Pretty things make me happy – it just takes a bit of mindfulness to pay attention to them!

Day 8 – I have been trying to rest today, after getting worried that the contractions were becoming more intense and frequent as a result of doing too much at the weekend.  The children have been very good at entertaining themselves (I am doing my best not to get stressed about the resulting mess!) and I have been reading a book that I bought at the church fair, One Good Turn, by Kate Atkinson.  I am really enjoying it and I need to keep making time to read – it’s hard to fit it in most days, but worth it.

I’m still struggling a bit, very tired and the pains are still quite bad, though definitely less frequent after a more restful day.  But I am surviving, just managing to stay afloat and sometimes that is enough.  So I’m off to bed to read another chapter of my book and try not to worry about anything that I can’t solve right now.

Pregnancy Diary: 36 Weeks

Today I am 36 weeks and 2 days pregnant.

36 weeks

Baby is: the size of a large canteloupe, about 6lbs and 19-22 inches long.

I am: hoping that the increase in intensity and frequency of the Braxton Hicks contractions doesn’t mean baby is going to come too soon.  A bit early would be okay, but not this early please baby, I am so not organised.  But at least I have made a start.  Yesterday I bought some of the things I need for my hospital bag.  Still quite a way to go, and not sure when I can next get out shopping, but I feel better for having bought nappies at least, and a few other bits and pieces.  I can see how it’s going to go – fifth babies do not get the same treatment as first babies, but I need to do a bit better.  So far I have two vests and three sleepsuits from the charity shop (thanks mum) but nothing else in the newborn size.  I’m all for a bit of minimalism but I seem to remember that babies go through more clothes than that in a day!

31 Days of Mindfulness: the first four days

I love this idea from Leigh who blogs at Headspace Perspective – 31 days of mindfulness to counteract the stress of December.  I am not sure how far I’ll get through the 31 days.  It probably depends on whether baby decides to arrive early or not.  But I’m going to try my best.  I’ve been joining in on Instagram, and I’ll try and blog about it every few days.  If nothing else, it will lead to an eclectic selection of photos randomly juxtaposed!

mindfulness 1

Day 1 – the notebook was a present from a very lovely friend and I’ve been using it to write down things that I’m thankful for.   I don’t manage it every day, but whenever I do it makes me feel better.

Day 2 – after a long and tiring day of feeling unwell, and having painful Braxton Hicks contractions, I was very much cheered up by Tiddler singing Jingle Bells to the bump.

Day 3 – trying not to be quite so cross about the very existence of December and making an effort to remember what Advent is meant to be about.

Day 4 – today was another really difficult day, and the contractions were worse again.  Feeling a bit better now since the lovely husband came home and ran me a bath, even if he did have to pull me out of it too!

And if that all isn’t enough, I just need to remind myself that despite the combination of December stress and late pregnancy stress, the denouement of both will be A BABY!  I am so blessed.  I don’t have to look far to find something to be thankful for.

“I prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Pregnancy Diary: 35 Weeks

Today I am 35 Weeks and 3 days pregnant.

35 weeks

Baby is: about the size of a honeydew melon, approximately 5.5 lbs, and 20 inches long.

I am: very tired today but mainly because I went to the theatre in London last night, which was brilliant, and is a better reason for feeling tired than just general pregnancy exhaustion.  I’m still having painful Braxton Hicks contractions pretty much all the time, but my back is a bit better so I’m managing to get a bit more done.  Too tired to think of anything else to say – it doesn’t feel like there’s much else to report, and no news is probably good news!

War Horse review

This post is written by Owl.

war horse

Recently Mummy and I went to see the play of War Horse in London. We took the train from where we live that terminated at London Victoria. Soon, after a tube train ride, we were walking to the theatre.  Once we had found it, as we had some time left, we went to an Italian restaurant for supper and I had a delicious pizza. Soon the show started and we watched the play. The story is about a boy called Albert and a horse called Joey who meet when Albert’s father brings Joey home from an auction. However, after Albert grew up with Joey, his father sells Joey to the army and Albert goes on a journey to find him. Some time ago Mummy read me the book by Michael Morpurgo (on which the play is based) and the play is the same as the book except for one thing: in the book the story is told from the viewpoint of Joey, and you can’t get that in a play. Overall, I think the play is really good, and I recommend that you watch it. Just make sure you’ve read the book first!

Pregnancy Diary: 34 Weeks

Today I am 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

34 weeks

Baby is: as big as a pineapple.  He has been wriggling around a lot and I feel a bit more comfortable so I think that foot is out of my ribs for now.

I am: feeling quite calm right now so it’s probably best to write this before that changes!  My back pain got a lot worse at the end of last week, and has continued to be quite bad over the weekend, so this week got off to a horrible start.  But, although it’s still painful, I think it’s slightly better today than it was and my movement is not quite so restricted.  I’m hoping that the improvement continues so I can get some housework done because it’s horrible watching the chaos build up, and the stress of that makes everything else harder to deal with.  I’m still not sleeping much either – all the usual reasons, with leg cramps thrown into the mix as well.

I had an appointment at the hospital clinic today, and was seen separately by a nurse, a midwife and a consultant, after which I had to have some blood tests.  By the end of it I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  It was stressful for a lot of reasons.  The clinic was running late and Paul had to go back and collect Tiddler from preschool, so I was on my own which always seems to be when things go wrong.  I found out I have protein and leukocytes in my urine, so that has to be checked out.  Probably just a UTI, but the protein thing makes me nervous as it is a sign of pre-eclampsia.  I’m sure they would have mentioned if my blood pressure was high though (in the stress of the moment I forgot to ask), so it’s not very likely to be that.

It took the midwife a really long time to find the baby’s heartbeat too, which was horrible, but she did find it in the end and everything seems to be fine.  Then I saw the consultant, who said, as I suspected, that I need to start taking Metformin because my early morning sugars have been either borderline or a little bit high.  It’s really disappointing, as my sugars have been fine after meals and it seems very marginal.  The consequence is no home birth, no midwife-led unit and the possibility of continuous monitoring in labour.  I’m not looking forward to the prospect of another hospital birth,  but I know the positions that work for me, and I know that it’s possible to be monitored without lying on a bed so I will just have to be assertive – or maybe Paul will!

So after all that, and with a sore back and two sore arms (one from the blood tests today, the other from the whooping cough injection I had yesterday) it’s surprising that I am still feeling calm but at the moment I am.  I think that bizarrely the fact that this baby is already causing trouble (like the rest of them, I’m tempted to add) somehow makes me more sure than ever that he’s entirely meant to be.  The thing about children is that they drive you a little bit crazy a lot of the time, but then they catch you out by being completely amazing and lovely and you forgive them.  I’m sitting on the sofa, the house has finally gone quiet so I’ve got time to pay attention to the smallest one who is moving around reassuringly and I’m quite enjoying watching my bump.  I’m so looking forward to meeting him, and I know all this trouble will definitely be worth it.

The Bully and The Shrimp review

This post is written by Owl.

The Bully and the Shrimp

We have been sent a copy of The Bully and The Shrimp to review. It is quite interesting, and has a good plot. There are good descriptions of feelings, such as “Noah’s heart thumped in his chest.” It is about a boy called Noah who gets bullied when he goes to a new school. Although soon after he finds a friend who helps him to stand up to the bully. This is what Rabbit said: “It is awesome!” and Tiddler said: “It’s nice.” They both give it a 5/5 rating and I think I would too. Overall, it is a good story and there are also informative notes about bullying at the back. As I face some bullying problems, I find it useful. I recommend it if your child is being bullied.

Pregnancy Diary: 33 Weeks

Today I am 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

33 weeks

Baby is: the size of a honeydew melon (around 4.5 lbs.)  Foot still firmly stuck in my ribs but I suppose I should just be pleased that he’s head down and looking likely to stay that way!

I am: beyond tired but feeling quite a sense of achievement.  I took Owl to London last night to see War Horse and he loved it.  Today we have had our Tiny Tots church service, followed by a lunch that I organised with two friends.  Then a walk in Nonsuch Park with Home Education Group, and the day finished with taking Rabbit to Rainbows.  I am thoroughly exhausted but at least I hope the children will sleep well tonight.  My back is worse again, which is perhaps not surprising.  I’ve realised that every time it gets a little bit better I do too much, particularly laundry because it’s so frustrating watching it build up when I can’t do it, and so my back gets worse again very quickly.  It’s hard to know what to do about it.  Well, the answer is probably to train the children to do their own washing and ironing I suppose!

 

Hama Bead Woodland Kit

Whenever I need a peaceful, calming activity I tend to turn to Hama beads.  There’s something about them that attracts all the children, including any visitors, at once and keeps their attention for a very long time.

hama beads 1

We’ve got plenty of Hama beads and boards really, but you can never have too many, and the children are always inspired by a new kit.  They were very excited to receive this lovely Woodland Kit, and a selection of extra boards, from Craft Merrily last week, and couldn’t wait to dive into it.

hama beads 2

The big boys made the owl and the squirrel from the Woodland Kit, and I was really impressed by their concentration as they were quite fiddly designs.  I loved the results too.

hama beads 3

The little ones had fun with the extra boards, and produced a slightly scary rabbit and an extremely colourful flower!

hama beads 4

We really enjoyed having some new Hama bead inspiration, and I think we’ll be doing a lot more over the next few weeks.  I hope to share some Christmas Hama designs here soon, though I expect there will be quite a few random ones too!

We received the Woodland Kit and a selection of boards free for the purpose of this review.

Autumn with Twinkl

We’ve been making good use of our subscription to the fabulous Twinkl website recently, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for a while.  Our display board in the hall is covered at the moment with (mostly) Autumn themed pieces of work and pictures, as the children have been so busy.  We are getting through quite a lot of printer ink as the little ones in particular keep asking for more.

twinkl autumn

It started when I decided to look for some resources for Rabbit and Tiddler to practise their number bonds to ten.  Twinkl was the first place we looked, and we found this lovely Rainbow to Ten Display Poster.  I printed a colour poster for their bedroom, and then two blank ones for them to colour and complete, which they both enjoyed.  They also had fun matching these Number Bonds to 10 on Pumpkins, and Rabbit now points out “pumpkin pairs” whenever she comes across them so it seems to have worked!  There are lots of other matching activities on different themes – we might try the snowmen ones next.

All four children enjoyed colouring the Rangoli patterns for Diwali, and Tiddler in particular kept asking for more, so we printed out lots of Autumn colouring pictures as well.  I’m now starting to browse the Twinkl website for some ideas for Winter and Christmas activities and there are so many to choose from that it’s hard to know where with start, but these Winter Maths Challenge Cards might have to be first.