Birth Story

Audrina Maria Cole

(Riri)

Our little girl is here and it feels amazing! I can hardly believe it’s been 10 whole days already since she was born.

Many of you know just how terrified I was of giving birth, since my last labour with Luca was so long and painful πŸ™ˆ. With Luca I was in labour for 25 hours, he was back to back, I had an epidural and 2nd degree tear 😳. I was so scared of experiencing that pain for that long again. Little did I know that we would barley make it to hospital in time for this little ones birth! πŸ™Š

21st January 2019

40 + 5 days over due

The first inkling I had that labour was on it’s way was I had a show early in the morning around 7am. Following I had mild period like pain that was totally bearable I had a bath, got ready, ate breakfast, even had a nap and then a big contraction came at 12.52. This was it, I knew something was defiantly happening. After that big contraction they came every 5 mins, I was unable to sit down, I knew I had to get to the hospital ASAP!

We arrived at the hospital.

The car ride was the worst! Having to sit down and unable to move around when your having BIG contractions was not nice. Little did I know I was actually going through transition in the car on the way. I remember saying I don’t want to do this anymore, I want to go home. Typical transition tell tale sign 😳… However I was in complete denial, with Luca’s labour being so long I thought this maybe was just the start of it and I had hours ahead. We parked the car in the entrance where you get 30mins free before you have to move it. Walking through the hospital and getting to the second floor maternity unit was UNREAL! It literally felt like the baby was going to drop out at any moment. We got to the triage reception and the lady behind the desk told me to take a seat in their waiting room 😳 the waiting room was packed! I couldn’t even sit down if I wanted too. I remember looking around at the women waiting they were calm, smiling, sipping tea and looking relaxed. Me on the other hand I couldn’t talk, the pain was overtaking every other sense in my body I stood in the triage corridor for around 5 mins before I started pushing, stood up right there in the waiting room. Anyone thats gave birth knows your body completely takes over, my body was pushing and this baby was coming RIGHT NOW! In this waiting room corridor full of people.

I shouted out that I was pushing, everyone in the waiting room stared at me, midwives ran over to me and took me into the triage check up room. It was so tiny you could barley fit us all in, it was just a basic little check up room, with a bed. Lay on the bed the midwives told me I was fully dilated and they could see the babies head 😳.

Baby is born 2.42pm

Two pushes later, no pain relief what so ever, 15 minutes after arriving at hospital, baby Audrina was born! Totally unbelievable. I was wheeled out of the little check up room back through the triage waiting room holding my baby within minutes. The look on some of the people’s faces were hilarious πŸ™Š. By the time we got to a delivery suit, we still had time left on the car in the 30min carpark πŸ˜„πŸ™ŒπŸ».

I still can’t believe how fast the labour went. After being so scared and worrying daily, it turned out to be amazing. Yes it was incredibly painful, but it was not prolonged pain, it was fast and thats the best that could have happened. We spent 2 nights in hospital, came back on the third day. Riri had to be put into a hot cot and monitored every 4 hours as she was not regulating her own heat. Thankfully after lots of observations we were able to come home on the third day, Ri was able to regulate her heat. ☺️

Reflection

After your birth you spend time thinking about the experience and I couldn’t be happier with how my birth went. I hardly felt contractions till near the end, it was fast and I didn’t have any pain relief that I had to recover from or that interfered with Ri Ri. I am so thankful for this birth experience and will hold the special memories forever. πŸ₯°

Go technology free for a free meal

Frankie & Bennys have recently introduced a new incentive for it’s customers. Hand in your phones into the restaurant and kids will eat FREE!

What do you think? As soon as I heard this I felt compelled to write about it. As much as I think this idea will be good for some families, I also think it’s incredibly sad that the restaurant has had to think of something to bring families together.

I have very traditional/strong views when it comes to this. I cook for my family most nights and I have one rule at the dinner table – NO PHONES! When we come together at the end of the day I think it’s important to give each other our full attention to reconnect and find out about everyones day and just general chit chat. This is usually the time my son Luca opens up to me about his school day, he tells me all sorts of stories and I would hate to miss out on that because I was too busy being distracted by some sort of technology. I could not imagine sitting at a table with my family or my friends with my head in my phone ignoring them.

Now maybe by unpopular opinion but my greatest pet peeve is seeing families out for a meal and their children have iPads shoved in their faces 😞. I understand it’s totally easier for the parents to do this, it enables the child to sit still and to be distracted therefore parents get to have a little adult talk and a minute to themselves I get it I really do but I think theres a time and place for technology and it’s up to us as parents to distinguish this. I don’t think dining out is the place for constant technology use.

Statistics research shows that up to 72% of children wish their parents would spend less time on their phones and 1 in 10 children have even gone as far as to hide their parents phone. This makes me so incredibly sad.

With that being said I think Frankie and Bennys move to bring in the no phone zone when dining out is GREAT! It will hopefully bring families closer together and help people engage with each other again.

Would you go phone/technology free ?

How waking up at 6am changed my life…

I don’t know about you, but I was always one for snoozing the alarm when the morning would roll around. Just 5 more mins pleaseee!

Doing this was a bad habit that I needed to break. It made me fly around in the mornings, be all over the place, forgetting things, being snappy, being irritated, unorganised, not having time for breakfast, being hangry and just a tornado of anxiety rushing around leaving a trail of disorganised mess behind me. (Which I would later regret as I would be the one tidying it all up later in the day πŸ˜„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ)…It literally made no sense, I would swear to myself that I would go to bed at a reasonable time that night, so I wouldn’t be so tired in the mornings, Always thought of it but never did it πŸ™ˆ… this began to really grate on me so I finally decided to change something.

One day two years ago I set just one alarm for 6am, switched the snooze option off and fell asleep. Morning came around and the alarm went off. Now I knew this was it, no snooze, I rather get my arse up now or i’ll fall back asleep and end up late for work, late for taking Luca to school and just plain LATE for the day ahead. So with that one alarm I dragged myself up out of bed and began my morning routine. Luca still fast asleep so I was able to get ready in peace, which for a parent is one of the best things! πŸ™ŒπŸ» I was able to think clearly so I didn’t forget anything, I was able to have breakfast and even have a little tidy up before we left,?so I didn’t have as much to do when I got home. My day was already going well before I even left the door. I felt so much calmer, organised and motivated for the day ahead. This feeing was something that stuck with me. The feeling of being rushed is awful, it’s my absolute pet hate. It’s enough to make you throw your bags on the ground and say thats it i’m not adulting today. But this newfound having time to spare in the mornings and being able to leisurely get through my morning routine and chores was amazing. So thats how the 6am get up stuck.

Being up before your children works so well too. At the time it can be hard to muster up the motivation to get out of bed while they are still asleep, but it’s so worth it when you get your own time to get yourself and the house ready before they even wake up. It makes the whole day go smoother I promise.

A morning routine sets your tone for the day so heres how waking up earlier can change your life for the better :

β€’ You will become more organised.

β€’ Increased productivity.

β€’ You will become more motivated.

β€’ Have extra time to focus on yourself and your thoughts, gaining more clarity over your life.

β€’ Your days will go smoother.

β€’ You will gain a better bedtime routine – from waking up early, your bedtime routine falls into place much easier. Your too tired to watch one more episode on netflix.

β€’ You will be able to have your own time which makes you feel more fulfilled and content with your life.

β€’ Your house will become more organised.

β€’ You will be on time.

β€’ Reduce anxiety.

β€’ You will have time for things that make you feel good – e.g yoga/meditation/breakfast.

β€’ You become a better planner.

β€’ Better sleeping pattern.

β€’ Better concentration.

Why not give it a go? It took one alarm for me to change, and i’m so glad I did. My mornings have become easier and I feel happier.

Ps. I’m a firm believer in balance, so I only set 6am alarms during the week and I give myself a break on the weekends. I usually don’t have to be up and out early during then, so i’m able to enjoy a little lie in. As i’m a mum I class 7am on a weekend a lie in πŸ˜„ but at least i’m able to enjoy getting up with the children without rushing around. It’s the best of both worlds really πŸ™ŒπŸ».

As always thank you for stopping by ☺️

Frankie x

A letter to my first born

Luca, as the weeks are going by so fast and soon your little sister will be with us, I wanted to write you a little something to let you know how you have been the biggest and best adventure of my life. To also say thank you for making me into mamma first.

I was only 18 when I found out you were in my belly. I was scared and excited all wrapped into one. I remember feeling you move around for the first time and never feeling alone from that point on. I would dream of what you and your little personality would be like and I prayed for you every single day and still to this day do now.

The day you came into the world, was the day my life changed forever. I remember being all alone in the hospital, early hours of the morning, too overwhelmed to sleep I sat up all night watching you. I held you in my arms and stared at your beautiful little face wondering how I got so lucky. I remember feeling so scared, feeling inadequate to look after such a precious gift. You were only a few hours old and you gripped onto my little finger so tight I could barley believe it. It was in that moment that I fell completely and utterly in love with you and knew that I would do whatever I could to be the greatest mum I could be for you.

You see Luca you was giving me the hope and strength I needed before you could even talk.

Loving and growing up with you has been the biggest and greatest adventure of my life. These past 5 years have been the best, making memories with you and watching you grow into the most handsome, kind, smart, funny, wild, sensitive and caring little boy. The years have gone by oh so fast, I remember knowing I needed to get my sleep but I would watch over you for hours in the middle of the night, your first laugh, your first crawl, your first steps and your first words. They have left imprints on my mind that will stay with me forever. You have brought us all so much happiness, I am so thankful to have had all this precious time we have had having you as our only child. Thank you for the most special five years I could have ever wished for.

As you know a new chapter is heading towards us soon, we have another little love on the ride of life with us. I wanted a sibling for you so very much, someone to travel through childhood and life with you. I truly believe there is no greater gift than for a child to have a sibling. No matter how our world changes, you will always be my first. We will love another together and we will all grow together.

Thank you for loving me even when I hardly knew anything about being a mum and made mistakes. Thank you for being there when I had no one else. Thank you for giving me this life and thank you above all for being YOU ❀️

You are the best big brother I could ever ask for, for your little sister. There is nobody I would rather her learn from than you. You see you made me into Mamma, you made me into the mum I am for you today and for the Mamma I will also be for your sister. How special is that!

You will always be my little bambino no matter how big you get.

I love you Luca, beyond words. Forever.

Love Mamma ❀️

Gratitude Journals for children

Gratitude journaling is something that only takes a few minutes per day but can have a big positive impact on your ls and your childrens holistic development, mental health and overall wellbeing.

A gratitude journal is simply something you do to keep track of all the good things your thankful for in life. Usually kept in a book form, you write what you are thankful for that day and what the best bit of the day was etc. No matter what your day looked like, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. It’s incredibly easy to start, simply buy a notebook, a pen and start writing daily, about the positives and goodness in your days. The more you focus on the goodness in your life it enables you to gain a different perspective. I whisper thank you to myself continually throughout the day, as soon as I wake in the morning I say thank you out loud and at night I gather all my thankful thoughts and write them down in my book.

Gratitude journals are for everyone! Adults and children of all ages. I started one over a year ago and seeing first hand how powerful this simple tool is to enhance your happiness I decided Luca should try one out too. We do ours after a bath at bedtime, Luca is winding down and able to focus on his thoughts. I find this time very special for both of us, it’s a meaningful bonding time where we are together without any distractions and are able to think about our day clearly. I’m able to get a better insight to Luca’s day and his thoughts. The gratitude journal is full of benefits for us all, but I especially think it’s great for children to start as early as possible because:

β€’ They become more present and mindful

β€’ Improves attitude and builds character

β€’ Become more self aware

β€’ Reduces stress & worries

β€’ Opens communication

β€’ Gives them a different perspective on life

β€’ Develop a sense of thankfulness and gratitude for even the littlest things in life

β€’ Improve emotional well being

β€’ Acknowledging and appreciating the simple things in life

β€’ Allows parents to understand their children on a different level

β€’ Gives children a positive mind set

β€’ Builds resilience

β€’ Promotes life long skills they can carry on through adulthood

β€’ Produces feelings of accomplishment and belonging

β€’ Attracts more good things to come their way

Gratitude Journaling is a way to de stress, calm down, unwind and become mindful. Especially important if your busy and nonstop all day, you and your children need down time to just be in the moment to ground yourselves. Once you start to practise gratitude you will see opportunity to give thanks where ever you go. ☺️

A page out of Luca’s journal πŸ™πŸ»

Reception to year 1 transition tips

How are all your littles doing settling back into school and their new classes? I felt this year was a big jump for Luca leaving early years 😒 and starting to learn the national curriculum. (I love everything about early years) Having worked within nursery/reception classes and higher years I myself was able to see the jump that Luca was about to make.

In Reception children learn in a play based, free flowing environment thats mainly child led, they may be guided from time to time by staff but ultimately they get to choose the areas they want to learn/play and with whom. Where as Year 1 tends to be more formal the national curriculum sets clear learning goals across all subject areas. The teaching is adult led and children have less choice in what they do. Children often miss the freedom they had being able to learn independently through play to now having to focus attention and sit down at a table for longer periods. So we wanted to support Luca with his transition as best we could and thought they could help someone else too. So below i’m sharing some tips that we implement that are proving to help ☺️

β€’ Positivity – First of all above anything else is to always remain positive about new changes coming your child’s way. Luca himself was actually quite apprehensive about starting Year 1. The day he went to visit his new class he came home and said ” Mamma, they have no toys just tables and chairs”. In response I always gave and continue to give Luca a positive outlook on this new chapter for him.

β€’ Limit extra curriculum activities – I didn’t want Luca to become overwhelmed by having to be somewhere doing something everyday of the week. I wanted him to be able to enjoy his own free time without having a busy schedule every evening after school when he’s already doing so much throughout his school day.

β€’ Give your children free time – The biggest tip I can give thats really helped us so far is this – Allow your child to do what they like (within reason of course) when they get home. As soon as Luca gets home from school he says ” It’s my time to choose now isn’t it”. Luca gets free time between coming home and bedtime to be as child led as possible and to do his own thing. Usually choosing to play with his friends next door, build lego, go on the trampoline or swing set, play with his toys or just to watch a show, he’s able to choose how he spends his time just like in reception class. He has time to just be a kid and use his imagination. This has really helped Luca not feel constantly directed and gives him the freedom he wants and needs.

β€’ Don’t start homework, spellings or reading books as soon as they get home from school – If you think just when you get home from work you need some downtime, your child needs the same. Imagine coming home from work to then be doing your job from home as soon as you get back, you would go a little stir crazy. It’s the same with our children give them a break to just be children without a work load. We don’t do any school related activities when Luca gets home, I want to give him a break even if it’s just for a couple of hours. We do reading books at bedtime along side our bedtime story and homework and spellings are done in increments throughout the evenings usually sometime after tea. I can usually tell when Luca has had enough and loosing concentration so we leave it for another day when he’s able to fully engage and give his best shot at it again.

Hope these little tips help you and your children settle into their new class β˜ΊοΈπŸŽπŸ“šβœοΈπŸšΈ

Children don’t play like they used to…

Are we as a nation stressing ourselves and our children out by planning and cramming as many playdates, after school activities, and kids clubs into our week as we can?

Are we over scheduling our children’s lives full of things we think they should be doing ?

This is something I feel incredibly strong about within todays society. I personally think some parents can go into a competition frenzy of ‘ look how many activities my child does, my child does more than your child’. Parents are spread increasingly thin, they are always rushing, stressed, feeling over scheduled and are chaining themselves to a tiresome weekly routine, forgetting how children used to build their character and resilience through play.

We are starting our children at school at the tender age of 3 which is a whole different topic I won’t go into haha. But I just hope people don’t loose sight of how important it is for children to have the freedom to just play.

Gone are the days that we can allow our children to play as we once did. It’s crazy to think that at 24 I had what they call an ‘old fashioned childhood’. Full of making my own decisions, knocking on for my friends, making mud pies, playing knock a door run, building my own resilience, making dens, having freedom, climbing trees, having a full day ahead of me to explore and make my own games up, but knowing I should head back home when the streetlights came on. A bath and my tea would be waiting back at home for me, ready to go back out the next morning and do it all over again.

I often think back to those times as some of the best learning experiences of my life. I believe that the resilience I have as an adult today was created from those days being free as a child. I would have hated having my days filled up with all different activities/classes every day of the week missing out on playing with my friends. My parents promoted child initiated play, hobbies and activities into my life. They allowed me to get to an age where I developed my own interests and acted upon them at that stage. For example I developed a passion for horses so my dad paid for horse riding lessons every weekend. When he could see how much I thrived and loved being around horses he bought me my own horse. It wasn’t forced on me, It was me making a choice for myself as a child that thats what I wanted to spend my time doing. But what I see happening in society today is we are giving our children hobbies, we are enrolling them into all sorts of activities filling all our children’s free time up thinking they need to be kept busy at all times.

Can you imagine our children have a day at home with no plans and nothing to do, whatever will happen to our children if they are left to be bored and having to make their own games up…

Please don’t feel like a bad parent for not having your child enrolled in every club going. Some of my best childhood memories and lessons learnt come from the days where I had nothing but myself, the outdoors and my imagination.

We all parent different and I will never judge anyone else’s parenting. I’m to busy judging my own parenting style πŸ˜‚. I want to get it right so badly as we all do, we all want to do the best for our children. But just think about how children used to learn through play. If your feeling stressed by your schedule maybe it’s time to change it. Now I know times have changed, I myself would not allow Luca to play out alone, so I ensure I do the things I did on my own as a child with him. I supervise from a distance, I allow him to take risks, go up to children and make friends, allow him to socialise without my interference, I ensure we get outdoors everyday, I allow him to climb a tree without my input promoting risk taking and allowing to learn for himself, I let Luca make mudpies, splash in puddles, play in dirt, pick bugs up, be around animals, ride his bike and run through fields. I allow Luca to have lots of free time, lots of child initiated play and activities where he chooses what he wants to do.

One thing I would love to change for children these days is for them to get outdoors more, learn more through nature rather than tv programmes. For them to put the ipads down and not be so over scheduled and to just allow children to be children. ❀️

What do you think?

When your feeling overwhelmed – read this

Heres just a little pick me up post for all you mamma’s and dads who are just down right overwhelmed. We all have those days, some days are just better than others. If it’s just a crappy day please read this to know that your not alone and your doing great – remember this too shall pass ❀️

Just BREATHE!

I once read that a noisy, messy house is a healthy house.

That children who play loudly, shout, argue, tease, are wild and full of energy bouncing round the house are the happy kids. The kids who know you are their safe place, they have to filter and control their behaviour in the real world and when they get home they can just let go of all that and just be themselves, because they feel safe to do so. Abit like us, when we get home we take the makeup off, throw the hair up, shove the PJS on and just sloth! We wouldn’t necessarily do that just anywhere. It’s where we feel comfortable and where our children feel most comfortable so they can let themselves go. It’s like their way of saying they feel safe and loved with you ❀️ Keep that in the back of your mind when they are driving you crazy πŸ˜‰

It’s the withdrawn children who don’t engage in play, who don’t make eye contact, the children who rock themselves, the children who are silent that don’t feel safe anywhere they go – silence is the real thing thats most worrying when it comes to our kids. So embrace the noise and mess, it’s memories they will keep with them in years to come. No child remembers amazing memories of how clean or quiet their house was. After all one day our children will be all grown up and we would do anything to have one more day of the childhood chaos ❀️

This to shall pass.

Festive weekend

Hey Hey! Here are some pictures from our weekend. We had soooo much fun, seeing Santa, dog walks in the snow, sledging & just being together making memories. The weekend felt extra special because we got snow, i absolutely love it. My ideal kind of holiday would be staying in a chalet in the Swiss Alps, skiing in the snow. I would take that over sunbathing any day haha! I hope you all had a great weekend too! πŸ˜†πŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸΌβ˜ƒοΈπŸŽπŸΆβ„οΈπŸ›·

 

Fussy Eaters

Oh how I would envy people being able to eat out anywhere with their children, how people would tell me their child eats everything and anything, they only have to cook one meal a night, how they never have to pack a specific pack lunch as their children will eat food from anywhere, how varied their children’s diet was and so on…

Luca’s eating habits were getting worse by the day, my frustration was hitting boiling point and I knew something had to change and as his parent I had say enough was enough and do something different. I was always so scared of Luca going hungry so I would give in to him and give him the foods I knew he would eat, little did I know I was making the problem a whole lot worse. At the height of Luca’s fussy eating I didn’t know anyone who could relate to me so I put together this post of how I changed Luca’s eating habits in the hope to help someone else who is going through the same thing, If your at your wits end with fussy eaters I hope this post helps you, by sharing some tips that worked for us.

Something has to change – Start by slowly introducing your child to new foods on their plate. Then Once a week try and make your child a complete new meal, cut back on the snacks throughout the day so you know they will be hungry come tea time. The pace is slow but keep going, the key to this is consistency.

Give them choice –Β Pick out two meals you want your child to try, both meals should have or be new foods. This is a manipulated choice that allows a child to feel in control. Children thrive on decision making, it gives them a sense of independence which in turn builds confidence. These are the perfect ingredients for getting our little loves to try new foods. Whichever meal he/she has chosen is the meal you cook. You could even get your them to help you cook the foods for a bonus helping hand.

Sticker Chart – Build your child a sticker chat, get some really cool stickers of something they are really into. Anytime your child eats a new food let them put their own sticker on the chart. To make the chart even more appealing you could entice them with the promise of a new toy when they reach a certain amount of stickers, (we started at 5 stickers to make it reachable for Luca).

Patience not attention –Β I know first hand at how disheartening it is when you have spent over an hour cooking a lovely fresh meal in the kitchen for your child to refuse to eat any of it. Don’t shout, don’t force, don’t give into any negative attention. Carry on eating your own meal, and talking to your partner or friend about something of topic. Pay no attention to the fussy eating, only pay attention to the trying of new foods. If he/she refuses to eat any of the food just remove the plate when YOU have finished and try again tomorrow.

I would love to hear how your little ones get on or if you have any other tipsΒ  πŸ™‚Β IMG_7827.JPG