Tag Archives: Work

O Christmas Tree! Special thanks to Cambium

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Last year was a comedy of errors as far as the Christmas Tree goes. We had just moved house, I was heavily pregnant, and we left it far too late to buy a tree. We debated not getting one and tried to tell ourselves we didn’t need one, but seeing the hundreds of pretty trees posted on Facebook, I eventually snapped and barked at Craig that we had to have one.

So two weeks before Christmas Craig virtually had to perform an Indiana-Jones-style-roll through the doors at Homebase before they shut for evening. Rushing through to the plant section he had to literally wade through scores of broken and deformed trees to find one large enough for our lounge. I remember that tree very well as it ended up living in our bath for two days. It had an abnormally large base and didn’t fit in our planter. We had tried laying in down in our kitchen and hacking at it with a carving knife (in hindsight – the most inappropriate tool ever) to try to slice off some of the excess – but it’ll come as no surprise this didn’t work.

In desperation we posted on Twitter and Facebook appealing for someone to help us track down a planter big enough to hold up our tree. As the only response we got was from Cumbria, we ended up waiting for an auction to end on eBay for a resizable one in London (50 miles away). Craig then had to take time off work to go and pick up the bloody thing. With a tree languishing in our bath, it literally couldn’t come soon enough – it had begun to show signs of mould and had developed a kind of curvature of the spine resulting in a very prominent bend in the trunk.

When we finally got the tree up, the wonky bit threatened to tip it up at any moment. We ended up propping it up against the wall and giving it a wide berth for the 3 weeks it was up.  With the lights costing us £80 (as everywhere had run out of the cheap ones) that tree was nightmare from start to finish!

So this year, when an old friend messaged me on Facebook with an offer of a tree delivered to our door, we bit his hand off. The offer was from Stuart from Cambium – a specialist corporate plant supplier that I have worked with before in a professional capacity. I’ve actually been an office manager for several London-based firms, and always took Cambium with me from job to job. They’ve supplied me with perfectly manicured indoor trees and ornate flowers that always got wonderful comments from colleagues and office visitors. Cambium were always such an absolute pleasure to work with and the plants always looked fabulous (despite my considerable knack for killing plants just by admiring them).

As a special thank you for inviting them to tender for a few big contracts, Stuart has given us the most beautiful tree for our home. It has to go down as the best tree we’ve ever had – fantastically bushy and smells divine. It’s certainly made up for all the stress of last year and we’re so grateful.

We had lots of fun decorating it and I only hope we’ve done it justice – what do you think? I’m not sure we’ll be winning any prizes soon…

Loving my little family

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What did I ever do to deserve such an amazing family?

We’ve had a rough time of it in the Mills household. I’ve taken the tough decision to go back on maternity leave. Despite a promising showdown with my mother in hospital, she’s now rediscovered her demons and is ill again. As I’m fearing the worst, I’ve chosen to spend a bit more time with her. Craig has therefore had to forsake his daddy-time and go back to work full-time. It’s taken a lot of late-night chats and tears to get to this point but it’s now decided and I’m with Dexie until February.

Craig allergies also took hold this week and he came down with a full-blown chest infection. He’s a Man so doesn’t complain but I forced him to go to the out-of-hours surgery on Saturday after listening to him struggle to breathe throughout the night. The problem: Billy. I’ve tried to ignore it since Craig and I started living together but it clearly couldn’t go on any longer. Billy the cat is my best friend. I’ve had him for 6 years and he’s been through various house-moves and failed relationships with me. We’ve been inseparable since I got him and I’m gutted that he and Craig can’t live together. But Craig is desperately allergic to Billy and I simply can’t jeopardise his health any longer.

Missing my hairy son Billy

So Billy was re-homed yesterday. He’s gone to live with his Nan and Granddad about 10 minutes down the road. I’m gutted but pleased I’ll still get to see him regularly. He’s well used to staying around Nanny’s house as she’s had him over when Craig and I have taken weekends away. I know he’ll be more than happy there but I still miss tripping over him on the stairs, him meowing at me for a second breakfast because he thinks I’m oblivious to the fact that Craig has already fed him, him chasing dust around the lounge… He’s such a little legend there were no shortage of ‘takers’.

So Craig can finally get some respite. The doctor says he has a chest infection. His chest is really quite weak from years of smoking in his childhood. He gave up years ago but the damage was irreparable and the slightest cold sends him wheezing and brings on his asthma. inevitably, with all the sneezing, I’ve now got it. Luckily, I’m still covered by a flu jab during my pregnancy and tend to fight off illnesses easily. But poor Dexie is, as yet, untested.

He started displaying signs of a cold last night. He sounded a little bit like Darth Vader and was coughing a fair bit. Then the sneezing set in and we began to worry. Dosed with Calpol, and saline drops we put him to bed with a Karvol tissue buried in his teddies. He didn’t complain once and went to sleep. I was up with him again at 3am as he started crying and wrestling with his blanket. As the heating wasn’t on and this house gets chilly downstairs in the night, I changed him in his room then told him I’d be back with things ‘to make him feel better’. I’m not naive and know he doesn’t understand me, but he patiently waited for me to return with a warm bottle and more Calpol. He was so quiet I thought perhaps he had gone back to sleep, but no, he was watching the door waiting for me to return and smiled when I approached his cot.

I administered his meds and he was quiet and seemingly grateful. He snatched his bottle from my hands and fed himself as if to say “I’m okay mum, stop fussing”. I went back to bed when he’d finished and left him coo’ing at his toys. The plan was to let him tire himself out so he would fall asleep naturally. Unfortunately he cried again within 15 mins. I gave him a big cuddle and popped him in bed with us and fell asleep within seconds. The whole night-time saga lasted 3 hours which seems like a lifetime at that time in the morning. It’s also completely out of character given he usually sleeps right through. Having said that, it was an absolute pleasure looking after him as he was such a brave little man. We’re very in-tune with each other now and I feel really confident that I can trust my mummy instincts to help him through the difficult times.

I’m definitely feeling very grateful this week. My employers were very sympathetic and understanding, Craig continues to surprise me with his undying support, love, and resilience, and Dexter is the most perfect baby I could ever have wished for. Given I have thrown more than my fair share of tantrums this week, I’m really in awe of my little family and dedicate this post to them.

Getting ready for Halloween! (Review: Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, & The Fearsome Beastie)

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Well we’re in our new home! The move hasn’t gone well at all if I’m honest and we’re locked in disputes with our former letting agency over the release of the deposit. As much as I love our new house, we have a lot to do in terms of buying new furniture and making it a ‘home’. Couple this with a return-to-work and a deterioration in mum’s health (she had 6 epileptic fits on Saturday – being disabled (from a stroke) she’s sustained some quite horrific injuries that have left her bed-bound) – I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with it all and, if I’m honest, a bit depressed. The truth is, something will have to give.

With all this going on – Dexie and I haven’t managed any solid quality time. By the time I get home from work, he’s ready for a bottle, bath, then bed! Luckily my work have been fabulous and offered me a phased return-to-work rather than working a full 5 days for the first few weeks. I’m hugely grateful as I have definitely overdone it this month. So today, it’s all about Dexter and having fun.

With Halloween coming up, I decided to do a themed day. We’re dressed up; Dexie is a Pumpkin courtesy of Tescos, and I have no make-up on! And we’ve been on some scary adventures thanks to the supremely talented Giles Paley-Phillips.

We’ve kindly been sent two books Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, and The Fearsome Beastie (winner of the People’s book prize). It’s so important to us that Dexie grows up loving books. I was a massive reader growing up. My mum still raves on about how proud she was that I was reading before I went to school. Unfortunately mum is so ill now, it’s so difficult telling truth from fiction but I believe her about this one. I have a hazy memory of the entire house being labelled up so we learnt that every room, piece of furniture and toy had a ‘name’. I doubt I’ll be this over-the-top with Dex but we’ll always read to him.

These books are the best I’ve seen for tiny people. The entire page is illustrated so there’s plenty to feast your eyes on. Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball is great fun. Poor Tamara is snatched away in the night by a monster and whisked to a ball with friendly goblins, ghosts, ghouls, witches and bats. There’s dancing and delights and Tamara is even welcomed into the fold with a slime cake! As you’d expect, all ends well as the witches cast a spell to return her home to her bed. I’ve seen a fab review of this book over on Missing Sleep that suggests that her 3 and 5 year olds discovered a new-found appreciation for things that go bump in the night. How fabulous is that for Halloween preparation!?

The Fearsome Beastie is about a huge monster that tricks some brothers and sisters into playing with him by crying outside their window. Having gained their trust he gobbles up all but one child who rushes to his nana for help. His wise old gran rushes out with an axe to slay the monster and release the children from his belly. Thanks to the bravery of nanny, each child comes “running out of Beastie’s tummy… each one crying for their mummy”. With disaster averted, nana then brews up a monster stew!

These books are a massive hit here at Chez Mill’s as each page is a set of witty rhyming couplets. Daddy is a champion story-teller and can make the phone book sound fun and exciting with an array of accents and embellishments. I, on the other hand, am terrible. Giles Paley-Phillips’ style is so engaging even I am able to keep Dexter interested. I’ve also left the book open the floor next to his playmat on some of the colourful pages. Dexter will chat to himself and study the monsters quietly – grabbing at the book.

With Dexter growing up and sleeping through the night – it’s getting harder and harder to entertain him throughout the day. Thanks to Paley-Phillips I now have another tool in my armoury to keep Dexter happy. Rather than let your babies gorge on sweets this Halloween, this is surely the better bet.

Giles Paley-Phillips blogs here about his writing, upcoming book signings, and about prizes he has been awarded. You can buy Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball from Amazon for just £6.29, and The Fearsome Beastie for just £4.49.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent copies of both books from GPP PR & Marketing but all the words and opinions in this post are my own. I have not received any payment for this post, nor had any communication with any other mentioned retailers.

Giggles, gymnastics and posing at 4 months

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I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing! Looking back through photos of you laying next to your earliest cuddly toys, you seemed dwarfed by some of them! Now, you’re able to grab and chew them with ease.

Your little personality is coming into its own now. You’re cheerful and endearing, sweet-tempered and loving. A tearful tantrum is always followed by a smile and you’re able to calm yourself down now without mummy. You’re also an avid chit-chatterer and each day you’ll make a new sound. Giggles are now prolonged and more frequent and just when mummy thought she couldn’t love you any more, she finds a little bit of extra room in her heart with every laugh you give.

Your legs are now super strong. Everyday you’ll come into mummy’s bed in the morning after daddy has gone to work. You’ll finish your long sleep with mummy then wake us up at 8am by kicking off the bed sheets and giggling beside me. You also love to stand up. After changing your nappy on your mat, you’ll stretch out your arms towards me and I’ll pull you up by your arms into an upright position. Standing there smiling in your sleepsuit you look like a mini gymnast after a world-class floor routine.

How much did mummy and daddy struggle getting a shot of you on your legs?!

You continue to take such stunning photographs and seem to enjoy posing. Mummy and daddy both have photos of you set as the background on their laptops and you seem to recognise yourself whenever you catch a glimpse of our screens.

We have had the odd bad day. You gave your dad a fright a few weeks ago when you screamed for 2 hours whilst mummy was having a few drinks with her friend, and yesterday you refused to let me put you down all day. We put these outbursts down to you feeling a bit tired or a bit unwell. They are always short-lived and never a problem.

We’ve had just one accident so far when mummy dropped an iPhone on your head. You sustained a tiny cut on your eyebrow and mummy stayed up all night crying. I’m sure this is the first of many knocks and scrapes but I could do without another for a few months as I was devastated.

Rolling still seems a long way off, but your sitting is progressing well and its only a matter of time before you can do this unaided.

This next month will be a big one for you. We have the challenge of introducing you to ‘grown up’ food, you’ll be going swimming for the first time ever with daddy on holiday, and I suspect we might get a ”mama” or “dada” out of you. We’re also moving house and moving you into your own room, and mummy is going back to work. These are massive things for us both to deal with and I’ve had lots of tears myself as I’ll really miss being with you during the day. Daddy will be with you from 10am – 3pm and I know you’ll make him as happy as you’ve made me with lots of giggles and little milestones. Just don’t forget mummy please, and save some smiles for me in the early evening.

Week 15

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Not too much to report for you baby, but mummy has had loads happening this week. She’s been feeling you move around and hiccupping inside her belly. It’s not exactly painful, more surreal. Interestingly you have a routine already and will wriggle and jerk just when mummy is trying to sleep, and straight after she’s eaten. Just so you know, this is when mummy is at her tiredest so thanks for that! 🙂 We’ve tried to help with this by adding 2 more pillows to the bed – this makes 6 in total. Mummy has always slept on her front so it’s going to be tough adjusting to sleeping on my side. If I accidentally flip onto my tummy then don’t hate me! Mummy will get used to it.

I’m getting tired again too. My heart is pumping approx 20% more blood around my body to get you the essential oxygen and blood you need. This places a bit of strain on mummy and makes her sleepy. You’re also quite heavy which tires mummy out even more!

You’re quite noticeable now and mummy looks enormous carrying you around. People have begun to comment, and some have started to guess at what you might be; a boy or a girl. Only 1 person has said girl so far, the rest all seem to agree with mummy that you’re a boy.

I’m also sneezing a lot more, suffering with a stuffy nose, and coughing a little. This is where mummy’s immune system is in overdrive looking after the two of us. Nevermind, I’d rather suffer than you so hopefully I’m sheltering you from the colds and viruses making the rounds. My memory is also a little rusty and I’m a bit slower that I used to be. The books all say this is natures way of making sure I de-stress and take it easy – here’s hoping it comes back though as mummy has lots to do in December at work.

More importantly, mummy and daddy are getting along much better. We were never really angry at each other, there was just lots going on and mummy’s hormones were making her horrible to be around.  Now things are back to normal and we’re happy again. This is just in time as I know you can pick up on my moods now.

Baby at 15 weeks

Baby at 15 weeks

Now onto you…

  • You’re now about 7 inches long and weigh in at 2.5 ounces – this makes you the size of a grapefruit!
  • You’ve grown soft, downy hair all over your little body. Mummy and daddy won’t see this hair as you’ll have shed it before you meet us. This is to protect your skin from the constant exposure to fluid, and help regulate your temperature inside mummy. Just as well as it’s freezing outside at the moment! You brand new seat glands will also be helping with this
  • Speaking of hair, if you are going to be born with a full head of hair, this is already decided. As mummy and daddy have dark hair, I suspect you’ll have lots of this!
  • You also now have eyebrows to frame your eyes
  • You can grasp things now, although there’s not much around to grab hold of! You can also suck and swallow and (as pictures before have shown) you’ll most likely be sucking your thumb xx
  • Your little leggy’s are now growing longer than your arms so you’re looking more like mummy and daddy
  • The bones in your ears have hardened, further improving your hearing. You are supposedly fascinated by my voice and comforted by the sound of my heartbeat. We’ve heard somewhere that if we start singing to you now, there’s a good chance you’ll recognise the tune when you’re born. This frightened me a bit – we’ll have to watch our p’s and q’s and avoid pop music with swear words!
  • Your salivary glands are also now starting to produce saliva. You’ve started moving your tongue and lips quite freely. Hopefully you won’t exercise these quite so much when you’re born as mummy and daddy will need plenty of sleep whilst we adjust to having you in the world

That’s all from a development point of view. It’s also been a big week for daddy as he turned 41 on Friday. Mummy will post about this tomorrow. Love you baby xxxx

 

 

 

 

Week 11… What a week!

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In 3 hours 7 minutes I’ll be 12 weeks into my pregnancy so this one is very late coming!!! I’m also wayyyy too excited about the scan to concentrate on this post so apologies if it’s a little ‘bulleted’.

Baby is now about the size of a small lime, about 1.5 inches (35mm). It is almost fully formed and is weighing in at 8 grams

11 week old embryo
11 week old embryo

The webbing between fingers and toes has disappeared and tiny tooth buds are forming. The senses are rapidly developing and baby can now feel. This is the beginning of quite an active phase for baby who will be somersaulting in copious amounts of amniotic fluid. Baby enjoys wriggling, kicking, and stretching and these small movements help to strengthen the developing muscles and bones.

These movements are also becoming increasingly sophisticated – baby can punch and arch its body, flex its fingers, form a fist and wrinkle its forehead (aw!). It can also suck and swallow and is able to move freely. The intestines are already able to process the liquid that the baby is swallowing. The kidneys are producing urine and baby is swallowing amniotic fluid and wee’ing regularly (great…). This is important because it helps to regulate the amount of amniotic fluid in my womb.

Baby is starting to develop hair, irises, fingernails and toenails. Although its head is still nearly the same size as its body, head growth begins to slow. The brain has become more complicated and all the areas you would normally find in a newborn’s brain are present.

Finally, the diaphragm is forming so baby will hiccup regularly.

As for mummy….

Well I will soon be entering the second trimester of pregnancy and it’s recommended I now take time to concentrate on interacting with baby. Some baby sites insist that I think “happy thoughts” because baby can now sense my mood and will react to it. Hopefully this will be possible now as Craig and I are through the worst of it and my irrational moodiness seems to have lifted. If I’m honest, I wasn’t so keen on the first trimester as I felt a little bit out of control. I’d regularly cry and sulk and seemed to pick fights all the time. Even though it wasn’t my intention, I was difficult to talk to and pushed Craig away constantly. This may have been, in part, due to starting a new job.

Speaking of work – I’ve finally told Laura (my boss) – she gave me a massive cuddle and promised all the time off I needed. I have a review with my MD on Thursday so expect more on this over the next few days. I feel really positive though, like a big weight has lifted. Even though I’m not planning on taking lots of maternity leave, I feel confident they’ll respect my decisions and try to support me as best they can – I can’t ask for any  more than this and I’m really pleased.

One more sleep until the first scan… Craig has the afternoon off and so do I (just in case we get a little weepy). I literally CAN NOT WAIT so I’m off to bed so it comes around sooner.

Goodnight everyone xxx

My raspberry-sized miracle is 2 months old!

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I’ve given myself 1 more month to break the news to my boss that I’m having a baby. Won’t pretend I’m not nervous. This means I’ve got 1 more month to a) prove myself b) revel in my pregnancy without worrying! It’s amazing how quickly this is going. To think I’m nearly 1/4 of the way through is incredible really – I can definitely thank my job for keeping me distracted.

So 8 weeks in, where are we at with the pregnancy? Here are the highlights:

8 week old foetus

8 week old foetus

Baby is now the size of a raspberry (about 18 mm (3/4 inch) in length) and is growing at a rate of about a millimeter every day – 10,000 times bigger than the size of the fertilised egg.

Baby is busy moving his or her little arms, legs, and slightly webbed fingers and toes as their muscles and nerves start to function more efficiently

Upper and lower limbs all show recognizable elbow and knee joints and the lower limb bones are starting to ossify

Baby is finally starting to take on some very distinct human features; nostrils, external ears and eyes are now visible under a thin membrane of skin. The mouth has lips and a tongue and, amazingly, tooth buds have already formed. The eye colour they’ll have at birth is just starting to show.

Right now, baby’s head is disproportionately larger than the rest of the body making up almost half of little one’s height and weight. This is due to the rapidly growing brain which now has two distinct hemispheres

And mummy?

Emotional! I cry at everything – 5 times in the town centre today! I can’t remember the last time I really smiled and giggled as I’m so moody – Craig jokes I’ve had a sense of humour failure. He’s also managing most of the household tasks at the moment where I’m so tired. My boobs are also now a staggering J cup so I’m looking a little top-heavy.

Other than this – I feel great. It’s a strange sensation as I feel fine, but outwardly I suspect I’m difficult to live with. Going to do something special with Craig in the week next week. Not sure what yet but he deserves something nice. I’m hoping this will all get easier as I get used to working again and the 2nd trimester kicks in. It’s both of our first pregnancy so I want us both to enjoy it.

So this post is dedicated to the man I love, and our beautiful baby to be. You guys are the most important people ever xxx

My man, your daddy xx

My man, your daddy xx