My Job!

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My choice to become a stay at home mum was super easy!  In fact there was never a question over whether I would stay home or go back to work.  It just happened naturally when Ollie was born, I had to leave my job anyway because we were due to move back to Belfast!

I can’t believe how quickly time as a stay at home mum has flown by.  Here we are 9 years since I left work and I can’t imagine what returning to employment will be like! It’s necessary now rather than optional because I need to be financially independent!  I feel very fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to stay at home with my boys for so long!  It’s always made sense financially but now with them both in school…

I know we aren’t meant to call staying at home a job… but this is by far the best job I’ve ever had and I’ve learnt lots about responsibility, patience, using my imagination and a ton of other skills that might benefit me when I re-enter the workplace.  I’ve loved seeing the boys as much as I have and filling our days with playing, crafts and adventures.

Now with my kids in school, it’s time for me to get my butt into gear regarding my career path.  It’s time.  What will I do??  Who knows!

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School’s Out!

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Wednesday was the boy’s last day of term!  They don’t return to school until 24th April and I’m so looking forward to spending the next week with them.  The weather is almost brightening and we are making a list of what we would like to do including:

A trip to Dublin to stay with Grandpa Crispy and visit Dublin Zoo.
A breakfast picnic at Minnowburn.
A beach visit or two!
Swimming!
A sleepover at Grandma’s house!
Visit the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge!
Feed ducks.
Plant some flowers.
Fly the kites.
Dye Easter eggs and do Easter baking.
Visit Hillsborough Lake.

We might not get ALL of this covered but they’re the ideas that came up when I asked the boys.  They’re excited.

Don’t you love Springtime?  The first quarter of the year, every year, I find very hard to shake off the slumpy after Christmas feeling until the weather changes, the nights get brighter and the flowers and blue sky make the world look pretty!  It then becomes easier to be enthusiastic and motivated.  I find myself becoming productive and full of new ideas.  The ‘shake off the slump’ phase is well underway and I’m feeling excited. Goodbye winter!

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That Time Nate Had To Go To Hospital

I think we have had a fair share of hospital trips in the short 6 years of Ollie’s life and 2 years of Nate’s life so far… Ollie had bronchiolitis when he was 6 months, pulled his elbow out of it’s socket 3 times and had an asthma attack… Nate was in once before when he split that tiny bit of skin that connects lip to gum when he tipped the pram.  All in all nothing too serious but nonetheless, hospitals are not a fun place to be.

A couple of weeks ago both boys had chesty coughs… Ollie’s was managed well and was on the way out but Nate’s was getting worse and it was affecting his breathing.  He had been given an antibiotic and a steroid and an inhaler.  The first two weren’t making much of a difference and it was insanely hard to get the inhaler into him.  The little mask thing on it made him petrified… he thought he was suffocating and would go very panicky.

We took him to the Out Of Hours Doctor on Saturday and she checked him over and decided his oxygen sats were a little low so she gave him a nebuliser.  For some reason he had no trouble keeping that on his face.  It helped a little but by Sunday his breathing was bad again.

Sunday happened to be Father’s Day… and we spent the day in A&E.  Poor James haha.  The Doctor checked him over and got some ventolin and steroids into him and sent us home.  Nate was a pickle and chose to take the inhaler perfectly for the nurse but again struggled to take it when we got home… and then he got a temperature.

On Monday we failed to see much improvement.  Nate was sleepy, had a fever and just was not himself so off we went to A&E again.  They were concerned that he had gone downhill since the day before so started nebulisers again and he was diagnosed as having bronchiolitis.  After 3 nebulisers and a dose of steroids they were still struggling to keep his oxygen sats up and his temperature down.  They decided to admit my littlest boy.  Once he got a bed on the children’s ward they scheduled a chest x-ray which came back clear and they kept him on oxygen pretty much the whole night.  I got approx. an hours sleep the whole night because he was nebulised every couple of hours… or would knock the oxygen mask off and suddenly his monitor would beep.  James came back to hospital the next day to let me go home and sleep.

When I got back to the hospital, Nate looked a little brighter and we were hopeful that he was getting better.  We were hopeful we would get to take him back home the next day… but then it went downhill again.

James stayed in hospital that night… and for that he gets mega husband points.  He sent me a message at 11pm to let me know that Nate had to be nebulised again because his sats dipped to very low levels, which meant taking him home the next day was no longer on the cards and we were right back at the start.

I spent another day at the hospital with little Nate… he was in good spirits and wanted to be active and out of his cot, but anytime he did that he would get breathless again.  I’d picked him up a couple of new toys and that cheered him up a little and my mum brought him a portable dvd player so he could watch Bob The Builder in bed.  The biggest upside of having a child in hospital sick is that they want to snuggle a lot.

Nate got a bunch of visitors at hospital that evening but we had to greet them all in the canteen because only parents are allowed in the children’s ward.  His Uncle Ryan and Ryan’s girlfriend Laura, his Nanny and his Grandma and James and Ollie.  He was full of beans and so happy to see everyone.  James stayed another night and I went home and spent some time with Ryan and Laura.

I woke to wonderful news on Thursday morning… Nate didn’t need nebulised at all and his sats stayed up all night.  We spent the morning waiting for the Doctor to come round.  She decided to keep him on Ventolin syrup because it was proving too difficult to get him to take the inhaler. We were so relieved by this.  By 2pm we were home and Nate was settled and snuggled up in bed.

A fortnight on and Nate is back to his happy and healthy self.  Apparently this isn’t a symptom of him having asthma… this could just be a one off… viral… and I hope this is the case.  I have bad asthma and I would hate for him to have the same as me.

Chicken Pox-plosion

I know that it’s been a little quiet around here recently.  That is because we’ve have the pleasure of finding out what it’s like for an almost 6 year old and a 2 year old to get chicken pox together.

Our chicken pox story began last Monday, when Ollie came home from school with a spot.  Just one.  He is prone to the odd bout of hives etc when he gets too warm so I thought nothing of it.  Roll on Tuesday morning when I ask him to take his pyjamas off to get ready for school.  SPOTS!  LOTS!  Within ten minutes the number of spots had almost doubled… it was insanely quick and they weren’t just spots but blisters too.  I told him then that he wouldn’t be going to school and that in fact, he would be off for the whole week!  He thought this was brilliant!

Knowing what to expect, I thought it best we stock up on supplies so we went to the chemist to get a calamine cream and an antihistamine… we also got some treats.

Day two started with about a gazillion more spots… not exaggerating.  They were on his face, between his toes, his groin, his belly and his back and through his hair.  He is an age where it’s easier to explain what will help and for him to know now to scratch so much, but I know that whatever age someone is, a bad itch is bad!

Ollie had a friend come over to play on Tuesday… it was good to have someone come and take his mind off the itching… and funny that the person who was able to come and play was also the person that gave him the chicken pox!  They played outside for a while and this kept him cool and distracted.  While his friend was here, we noticed that Nate’s groin area just under his nappy had come out in a few blisters… I knew it wasn’t a rash because it wasn’t super red… just blistered.

Roll on a few more days and we are at Sunday… chicken pox day 7 for Ollie and day 6 for Nate…

Ollie is able to return to school tomorrow because his have crusted over now.  He hasn’t needed an anti-histamine for a few days now and his sleep hasn’t been entirely broken.  His spots aren’t so bad and I think they will clear up just fine.  I’m so proud of how he dealt with the last week… it hasn’t been easy.  It’s been uncomfortable and kind of boring for him and he missed his school friends, but he has been a trooper.

Nate’s dose of chicken pox came on a lot worse than Ollie’s did and I don’t know if that has anything to do with age or overall health or anything… but if I had to sum it up in one word, Nate’s has been horrendous.  His entire nappy area broke out in too many blisters to count. Proper liquid filled blisters in his creases… all over his butt, his unmentionables… the poor thing really suffered.  He had a bad dose of them on his back and belly and all over his fair and head, but none of those even bothered him.  The ones in his nappy were unimaginable and they got so bad that we took him to the Dr. because they didn’t seem to be getting any better.  A few more creams to try and today they seem to finally be on the way out… although he is still walking like a sumo wrestler.  We haven’t slept properly in 4 nights because he has been so upset and hasn’t know what to do with himself.  I am daydreaming of a night with 7 hours unbroken sleep!!

Since Wednesday, my littlest dude hasn’t had a nappy one except for portions of the night and today when we went out for a couple of hours.  We have been unexpectedly potty training and for something so unplanned, I can’t believe how well it is going.  He tells me when he wants to go to the toilet or use the potty and at times has gone to get the potty himself.  I think we are going to continue because if he can grasp it so well with all THIS going on, then I figure he will get the hang of it really quick when things settle down.  I bought him big boy underwear today and he is excited.

So… things I learnt from this experience…

1. Oat baths work, but are weird…
2. Bicarbonate of soda baths are also excellent.
3. Sleep is for the weak… and I can manage on just 4 hours worth!
4. You can’t tell a 2 year old not to scratch.
5. Mummy cuddles can make everything ok, for a few minutes.

Hopefully now that they have both had it once, they don’t get it again.

Living Arrows 9/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” Kahlil Gibran

Ollie  //  Poor biggest son… when I picked him up from school today, he walked out of the doors and there were tears running down his cheeks.  I asked him what on earth was wrong and he told me he had a sore head and was very tired.  This is so out of character for Ollie… he normally storms out of those doors full of beans.  It was also raining a ton, and it is always such a rush for the bus and I knew Ollie wasn’t up to running the whole way there, so we took a taxi home instead.  He went to school in his pyjamas because it is World Book Day and he went dressed as the boy from The Polar Express… his favourite book.  He was able to come inside and get straight into bed.  I made him hot Ribena and he read books and watched Phineas and Ferb.

Nate  //  I think Nate was confused that we had suddenly jumped into a taxi.  We have our routine that is collecting Ollie, rushing for the bus, making the bus and having some sweets as our treat for getting there on time.  None of that happened and he was so amused to see Ollie climb straight into bed, that he followed him in once I took his rain soaked trousers off.  He read books and watched some Phineas and Ferb too.  He also had hot Ribena, but spilled it over the bed so it got confiscated.  He was so sweet to Ollie, who rolled over and closed his eyes for a while.  He knew Ollie was not well, so stroked his head and snuggled up against him.

Linking up to I Heart Snapping and Ordinary Moments!

Biggest Is Brilliant!

On Thursday I had a Parent and Teacher meeting with Ollie’s teacher at school.  I’ve never felt prouder of my biggest boy.  

He is now halfway through his second year of Primary School and is apparently very popular, friends with everyone and has wonderful leadership qualities.  

I sat there, waiting, not negatively… but guarded, preparing for her to say something not quite as wonderful (I think he is great, but I worry about how he gets on when I’m not there)… and the “but” never came.  She had only good things to say about him.  

She commented on his confidence and his huge personality… his love for construction toys and his imagination that goes along with that and his stories… she said he loves talking at the front of the class for show and tell and loves his chance to talk in circle time.  Academically, he is coming on leaps and bounds and is showing a strength for maths and his spelling and reading are great… 

The one thing she said he could work on is keeping the chat to a minimum, but even that isn’t a bad thing… he is very inquisitive and has so much to say, that when told to keep quiet you can literally SEE the chat bubbling up inside him, about to spill over!

I was worried previously, about a number of different things, but these niggles were put to rest and I came away with huge confidence and pride in my son and huge confidence in his school.

He is a clever cookie!  He beamed when I got back to the car and told him that his teacher had nothing bad to say about him and that she really enjoys having him in her class… for the good report I let him choose whatever he wanted for dinner and he chose boiled egg and soldiers.

My Job…

My choice to become a stay at home mum was an easy one.  In fact, I don’t actually remember there ever being a question about it.  I really don’t remember James and I sitting down and having a long, drawn out conversation about whether or not I would stay at home, or would return to work.  It was just one of those things that happened.  We were living in Dublin when we had Ollie, due to move back to Belfast when he was just 3 months.  I had to leave my job anyway… I just never went back!

Here we are 5 1/2 years later and I have no intention of returning to work in the 9-5 world.  I can’t think of anything I would dislike more!  I’ve never enjoyed working (does anyone reeeeally?) and I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to be a stay at home mum to my boys.  I know a lot of people don’t have a choice.  It makes sense financially for me to stay at home because I’m not qualified in anything.  My salary would never be worth working 9-5 and having the kids minded by someone else.  We have no family available to mind them day to day… so would have to pay a lot for childcare.  I wouldn’t have enough money left after paying for childcare, to make it worth not seeing them as much as I do now.  It would literally be pennies.

It’s also quite important to me that I give Nate the same one on one attention that Ollie was able to have before he started school.  Ollie had me all to himself for 3 1/2 years… and Nate gets me all to himself everyday when Ollie is at school.

I love being a stay at home mum… I love seeing the boys and filling my day with playing, crafts and all things boyish… sometimes we just sit and watch tv.  The other good thing is that I want to be an established photographer when Nate starts school and being a stay at home mum gives me time to learn and work on getting that set up!  I need a job that can give me flexibility and I can work whatever hours I want to… especially over the summer holidays when both boys will eventually be off school!  Being a self employed photographer will give me that.

This stay at home mum gig is definitely the best job I’ve ever had!

(This post is a throwback to a year ago when I first posted it.  I think the same now, so thought it deserved to be shared again.)