Our 5 Favourite Family flicks.

Since the winter crept in the Mmmm household has being having quite a few snuggly movie days and nights ! Of coarse the smalls love loads of movies and have enjoyed lots but when they ask to see it over and over again I know it gets their stamp of approval !

For me movies are a mums dream !! snuggle up, cuddle into cosey blankets, grab the goodies and enjoy an activity that lends itself to silence and peace !!!

Here are our five favourites so be sure to stream or watch any you haven’t already seen over the festive period.

Beauty and the Beast (2017).

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This is one I admittedly picked out for myself as I had been waiting to see the new version of the timeless tale all year and I was not disappointed. I don’t need to enlighten anyone on this classics storyline I’m sure ! My only concern with this movie having two pre-schoolers was that maybe the beast would frighten them but ironically the only thing we did have to ffwd was the scene where the wolves attacked Beast, other than that they were quite happy and the beast is actually quite endearing. It doesn’t say much for my taste in men when I tell you I actually found him more attractive than the prince he finally turned into !

This is a beautiful family movie and is a must see if you have not already.

 

Wreck It Ralph (2012).

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This one was picked by J himself and he just adores it. The week we got it I was heading away for the night and I let Mr Mmmm to do movie night so I haven’t seen this myself but judging by the amount of times I’ve popped it in the Dvd player since (and according to himself) it is a big hit.

Arcade game character Wreck-it-Ralph is sick of being the bad guy and is fed up of losing to “good guy” Fix-it-Felix and goes about proving he too can be a hero but on his mission he accidently draws a deadly enemy on the entire arcade . Can he make people see him for the softie and good guy he really is ? C’mon its Disney what do you think !!!

Arthur Christmas (2011).

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This is the movie that launched our weekly movie night ! Picked up a few weeks ago for just e4.99 in Dunnes while doing the shopping, this movie doesn’t owe us a penny and is so fab that we’ve all watched it a few times !

we all know each Christmas Santa delivers gifts all over the world but what you didn’t know is that to help him do this amazing job he has a very high tech operation in place, but when disaster strikes and a child is forgotten its up to Santa’s youngest son Arthur to get the toy to the forgotten child before dawn.

With the help of his Gramps (a retired Santa) Arthur uses a more traditional method of bringing joy and shows why he should be the one to wear the red suit on his fathers retirement. Be sure to fit this fantastic movie in over Christmas or if its been a while since you saw it go there again as it’ll be as magical as the first time you saw it .

The Santa Claus(e) (1994).

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My earliest memory is of going to The Capital cinema in 1986 to see The Santa Clause (Dudley Moore) with my beautiful Nana and my heart warms at the thought of how magical both the film and the venue were.

Despite my best efforts to get the gang into it they didn’t sit it out so we tried this Tim Allen Santa Claus(e) instead and it was a winner with myself and the smalls. It deals with the doubts and questions kids and adults have about the magic of Christmas in a very child friendly manner and is quite humorous too.

Divorced dad Scott has custody of his son (who is reluctant to spend time with him) on Christmas eve . when Santa accidently falls from Scott’s roof and Scott mistakenly accepts the job as the new Santa Clause they are magically transported to the north pole where an elf tells he him must take Santa’s place before next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he has been dreaming but soon starts to put on weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Soon he realises all was not a dream and he has a lot of work to do !!!

Another must see this festive period.

Pete’s Dragon (2016).

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This is the most fantastic film I’ve seen in a long time and was not only loved by our family but by all who watched with my smalls including my sister and aunt.  Again I wondered would it frighten my two but this dragon is as beautiful as the dragon in the never-ending story with gentle eyes and a furry coat you would love to wrap yourself in !

When a mysterious 10 year old boy Pete turns up claiming to live with a giant green dragon (after the death of his parents in a car crash near the woods when he was just a toddler)  he is taken in by forest ranger Grace, her partner and her daughter Natalie. They then go about finding out where the boy came from, where he belongs and about this magical dragon who has been taking such good care of Pete .

If you only watch, stream, rent one movie in the coming weeks make sure Pete’s Dragon is it !

 

I hope you enjoy some of these movies if you haven’t already .

xoxo Laura.

 

 

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Na Leabhair is breá liom as gaeilge.

Níl ach cùpla focail agam ach tà grà mòr agam don teagna, mar gheall ar seo ba mhaith liom na pàistí ag fàs suas i dteach le beagàn gaeilge. Níl focail ar bith ag Mr Mmmm, mar sin cupla focail as  Mo bhèal agus cupla scèal as gaeilge chomh Maith mar ata sè !

I am by no means a gaeilgóir nor will I pretend to be filling my childrens sponge like minds with Irish on a regular basis as I don’t !!! But I like Irish, have a basic understanding and a few so I hope to throw in a few words here and there and introduce Irish to them through a medium that they love … So books it is !!!

Here are some of our favourite books as Gaeilge,  enjoy ! Please do give me suggestions of must reads as gaeilge if you have any in the comment box below 😉

 

Usborne Very First Words in Irish – Na Chèad Fhocail Ghaeilge.

This is a lovely book suitable from 6mths , a sturdy, colourful  board book aimed to introduce little ones to first words in Irish. Nicely presented using double pages displaying simple words alongside clear illustrations to suit the chosen subject e.g; animals, clothes , things that go while the last two pages focusing on colours and counting. We read this book in conjunction with the Usborne Irish Flashcards and we love them ! Almost 2 years on this is still a firm  favourite of J’s.

My First Word Book in Irish – Usborne Publishing

 

This is Similar to the book above but with an extra 150 words in Irish to add to your child’s vocabulary , this is a lovely book but for me I feel although targeted at age 2yrs + it is more suited to children of 3/4yrs of age as there is a lot going on in the pages for a toddler . That said it is the perfect progression book from the very first words in Irish Book.

 

An Choisir  – Jc Girbes/ Silvia Ortega

 

This is a lovely board book from the ‘ag leamh le Caitlin agus Cormac’ series. Cormac celebrates his second birthday and we join the party,  count his friends, presents etc. and we are encouraged to count to ten in Irish. Again a firm favourite in our house and a great book for adults who want to read to their children in Irish but may not have a huge grasp of the language themselves.

other titles in the series:

la mor fada (big lond day) , an phicnic (the picnic) and tabhair leat do leabhar (take your book with you).

Published by Leabhar Breac  they can be bought at  www.leabharbreac.ie

 

Macan ag Ithe a Dhinneir – Orianne Lallemand /  Elenore Thuillier

This is my favourite series by far !!! Macan is a little wolf who learns all about life from his mammy and daddy. In the series he learns how to use the potty , sleep in his own bed and eat his dinner !!!

In this book macan wants to eat nothing but pasta and refuses to eat his veg  Dad finally gets around the little wolf by combing veg and pasta in a tasty lasagne that goes down a treat.

This book has lovely wipe clean laminated style pages that are ideal for the transition from board books to paper pages. The illustrations are fantastic and I love the beautiful one of mammy wolf baby wearing when out walking !

There is a humorous side to the tales of macan as they play out many scenes that occur in real life and I felt both myself and the kids related to many a scene in the stories.

http://www.leabharbreac.ie

 

Ag an gCarnabhal – Enric Lluch / Pablo Tambuscio

 

Alastar visits the carnival and sees a lot of  goodies  but he cant have everything he wants …. or can he ? Unfortunately for Alastar his desires outnumber the amount of hands he has and he leaves the carnival empty handed after learning a lesson the hard way. Alastar bocht !!

I really love this book, the left hand side of each double page has just one sentence and the right has a beautiful piece of artwork. I just adore the illustrations in this book they really are exceptional, so bright, lively and expressive.

The text is big and bold and along with being perfect for parents with limited Irish to read to toddlers it is ideal to give youngsters beginning to read confidence.

I will definitely be purchasing more from this series again published by Leabhar Breac.

Pog Mar Seo – Mary Murphy.

 

In this Beautiful book we learn that no two kisses are the same , we see the giraffe giving gentle kisses and the bees who give buzzy kisses. After reading all about the different types of kisses parent and child animals share we find there is one kiss missing, whose kiss is it ?!!!

This split page book really engages the little ones and gives a few giggles, it would be an ideal gift to give to a young child or new baby.

For more information see ; http://www.walker.co.uk

Cuairt ar an bhFeirm – Maire Ni Ghallchobhair / Peter Donnelly

 

This book was a little too advanced for my two ( 3 & 4 ) and is a little more difficult to translate for a parent with basic Irish to understand but hey that’s what google is for !  I purchases it on a whim as the title appealed to me but I had no idea what age group it was aimed at so took a chance online. The Lusai series is aimed at 6-8 year olds and is used as part of many a school curriculum.

The story is quite humorous as Lusai is a bit of a rogue, a lovable one mind! and I could see this series being a big hit with the age group it is targeted to. In this book Lusai and her classmates are brought on a school trip to the farm where Lusai takes pity on a lonely bull and opens the gate !

I really enjoyed this story and will pull it out again in a couple of years !

Yet another Leabhar Breac publication!

 

Bi ag Spraoi Liom – Sadhbh Devlin / Tarsula Kruse

 

Luna is a Keen Inventor but has a small problem, her mom is too busy to play with Luna and her time machine. This book really hit a nerve with me as often us parents are so busy trying to keep all the balls in the air we often don’t play with our little ones as much as we ought to. While mum is busy Luna travels Back to a time when Mum was small, thankfully before its too late Mom sees the errors of her ways and enjoys the magic with Luna.

This is a lovely story with amazing illustrations that should be on every child’s book shelf and every adult should read it to be reminded if needed how important it is to put our kids and fun before household chores every now and then !

Published by Futa futa  more info@ www.futafuta.ie.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our favourite books in the Irish language , I purchased all of these myself and all my opinions are honest and unbiased as always !!! Its just coincidence a lot  are from Leabhar Breac but it must be said the service they provide is fantastic and delivery is super speedy !

Xoxo L.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Latest Beauty Loves…

 

Hi all ,

Sorry I’ve been AWOL lately. I’ve been behaving with regards to blog posts in the same way I’ve been tackling life lately ….. helicoptering over all my to do list never quite managing to put anything to rest !

So here’s one of the 3/4 posts I’ve started the others are on their way I promise!

Unfortunately I don’t spend the money I’d like to on beauty  products actually it’s the only area of my life where I only buy what I need ! Apparently the l’oreal attitude ” because I’m worth it” hasn’t quite sunk in yet !

I’m always on the hunt for great products at bargain prices and these products below fit that requirement … enjoy xoxo L.

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The Square by PS .(penneys)

These French nails are so natural in colour and length that they are an ultimate bargain in my eyes! I always have a set of frenchies to hand but loved these black and gold set when I saw them and have them earmarked for the festive season. For E1.50 these are superb !

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PS Matte Primer  (penneys).

This by far is my favourite product I’ve purchased in the last couple of months.  As a huge fan of the Gosh primers I was surprized to find this was almost identical to their clear gel primer that I would use regularly but for a fraction of the price.

This primer goes on beautifully leaving your skin feeling like velvet along with sorting out those fine lines. At just E4 this primer is exceptional and is the perfect base for whatever type of foundation you apply. Stock up ladies at this price you can afford to and you certainly wont want to run out.

Sleek i-Devine (10 yr anniversary palette)

On recommendation from Joanne at Lipstick and Leopard Print (make sure to follow her on FB!) I tried this palette and was not disappointed at just e10.99 its superb quality eye shadow that is easily applied and blended. As a huge fan of black/grey shades I was sold but I really love the shades of pinks that accompany the darker shades I usually stick to . I will certainly be purchasing more Sleek products in the future as the quality is so amazing for the price tag attached.

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e.l.f  beautifully bare Foundation Serum.

I like most had heard e.l.f cosmetics were coming to penneys , none of my friends had used the products and I wanted to find out for myself if they lived up to the hype so I picked up two products to try out.

The serum is beautiful its ideal for saving your going out makeup and using day to day doing school runs etc. when you want to look “respectable ” but don’t want to apply a full face of makeup . For E12.85 you get a lovely  natural looking cover that lets your skin breath, there is a lovely fragrance to it and comes in a very luxurious bottle with a nice pump inbuilt. A definite thumbs up from me.

e.l.f  Intense Ink Eyeliner.

This I must say gets 9/10 from me … a super product in my eyes (and on my eyes !) I would go so far as to say that I think this is as good as the Bobby Brown Eyeliner I use regularly but is one fifth of the price !! The e.l.f intense ink liner is amazing to apply and has lasted as long as I’ve ever needed it to (so far an average day). Why does it not get 10/10 ? It takes a few seconds to dry as opposed to the Bobby Brown ink liner I love and as I’ve only had this a month I’m not sure how long it will last (I have the Bobby Brown more longer than is healthy !) It is certainly a must for every makeup bag and I look forward to trying more from e.l.f cosmetics.

I hope you all like my latest beauty loves , let me know if you have tried any of these and what you think?

xoxo L

 

Decorating childrens bedrooms – Basic not Boring !

Before the kids arrived we had two decorated spare bedrooms downstairs along with our own and we have always had an open house and enjoyed a party or two in our time ;-).

We do have two large bedrooms upstairs but they are basically a dumping ground for the time being so at the moment we have no spare bedroom as the gruesome twosome have a room each. So basically if we’ve someone to stay they have to take over one of the kids rooms , that’s why when I was decorating little L’s room it was at the back of my mind that it had to be child and visitor friendly !

When planning the rooms I kept everything simple and cost effective as at ages 2 and 4 the chances are I will be redecorating a few more times before they leave the nest !

Here are my tips for decorating children’s bedrooms in a way that they can be transformed into guest rooms or upgraded as the child ages with minimal effort !

when picking a paint colour , humour the child but don’t pick a colour you as an adult can’t imagine on your bedroom walls.

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For J’s I chose a strong blue and L’s a dusky pink and even though when themed with character bedding and fun posters etc they are perfectly suited to a child’s bedroom they are equally suitable with different soft furnishings for a teen /adults room.

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Invest in a few large photo/ poster frames.

we all are guilty of destroying paint work plastering posters all over our walls pre teens and further on but in order to preserve your walls invest in a few frames and fill them with posters from kids mags or like I’ve done sample pieces from wallpaper shops or your local DIY store. When I decorated J’s room he was eating , drinking and literally sleeping Mickey Mouse so when that phase ended and we entered the world of marvel all I had to do was update my wallpaper samples in the frames.  I also changed the duvet covers and hey presto the room went from a toddlers room to a ” big boys” room ! No stress involved !

 

 

Purchase neutral curtains. 

Curtains can be the greatest cost when decorating a house so getting value for money from your curtains to me is very important . Again for J’s room basic blue black out curtains from Homestore and More (these were just e99 a set and are amazing !) were chosen and little L’s were inexpensive at just short of e70 ( not blackouts but she’s a great girl to sleep like her momma) and are lovely pastel cream, lilac and pink striped curtains also from Homestore and More. Both these sets of curtains will easily see the gruesome twosome into teens and likely into their twenties and if a visitor happens to have to use their bedroom won’t have to awake to chaotic character curtains !

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Up cycle Accessories/ fixtures to suit your colour scheme / theme.

Using little tester pots of paint I (for just a couple of euro) matched up shelves, photo frames even thumbtacks to the colour scheme I had chosen.

With J’s room I was lucky I found shelving on http://www.littlewoods.ie in the ideal blue colours I was looking for at a great price but for L’s room I couldn’t find what I wanted so bought the same shelves in white and painted them to suit.

I also grabbed two frames for just e3 each in a discount store and gave them a coat of the tester tub paint , I went as far as even giving a few thumbtacks a coat of paint to hang a few bits up with , I did this by sticking the tacks in a stale slice of bread, painting them and removing when dry !!!

Hang onto your child’s cot or cot bed mattress.

This can be useful for when visitors arrive, siblings can camp out with each other in the one room but also if you have the space you can make a cool reading corner with just the mattress and a colourful sheet and some cushions!

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* Picture from google images *

Only Books and Bears in bedrooms !

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Our sunroom is our playroom as such and I try to keep the madness and masses of toys to that room (with a slight overspill to the kitchen) and if toys make their way to the bedroom by day they have to be brought back well before bedtime. The general rule is that only books and teddy bears are allowed in the bedrooms. There are two reasons for this !

1) It’s enough for us to have to tidy one mess at night without either extra arguments or me ending up doing two more rooms at the end of the day.

2) I feel you get a better nights sleep in a room that is free from clutter and is an open and clear space. On trips to the toilet or to comfort them at night it’s comforting to know neither of us will have to navigate an obstacle course or sustain a Lego related injury !!!

I hope you’ve found at least one useful tip here ! With these tips all you need is a five minute whizz around your child’s bedroom with the Hoover and a clean ” grown up ” duvet cover and you have a guest room sorted without any stress !

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Xoxo L.

A year has passed but What have I learned?

I can’t believe it’s a year since I wrapped up my business of ten years to focus solely on my little people , god it’s just flown by !

If I’m honest it’s not been how I daydreamed it would be , it’s not been bad just different to how I imagined.  The first week at home I did up a rota for chores , I’d iron on x , clean the bathrooms on y and I had imagined I’d be the mum who let the kids paint without ever thinking about the fact I’d be longer cleaning up than they’d be painting ! , get creative and take them on educational and fun outings and adventures until they were sick of them ! Oh I was also going to re paint the house , eight years on get the blinds for the kitchen and maybe even decorate upstairs …aside from the fact that I was being unrealistic I’ve learnt a lot.

I miss my business so much and it’s another part of me I have sacrificed for the good of my smalls but I don’t regret it and it was the right thing to do so I take comfort in that .

So what have I learned this past year ?

It’s an obvious one but … Being a SAHM is the hardest position I’ve held.

No stranger to physically hard work I genuinely though this would be an ” easy and enjoyable ” job , I wasn’t pushed into it .. It was my choice and it’s was always my dream to be at home with my kids. I simply had no idea how mentally taxing being a stay at home mum would be .. Taxi driver , referee , nurse , teacher, confidant , problem solver , cook , cleaner , laundry maid etc etc … You fill all of these roles with no knocking off time and no sympathetic sick days.

Yes , working mums do all of these things along with their jobs and I salute them, maybe I’m old fashioned but I felt as I was at home now the house and it’s up keeping along with looking after the kids was my job and I felt I couldn’t ask for help and I’d even feel guilty if I was lacking the motivation to do a “proper dinner ” and stuck on a pizza .

When I was working I thought nothing of asking Mr Mmmm to do things around the house or never felt the need to justify myself if there wasn’t a meat and two veg meal on the table on his arrival and now a year on I’m relaxed and confident the job I’m doing is an important one and If the dinners not done big whoop we won’t starve and there’s no guilt when I see him grab the Hoover !

That all said despite days where I’m mentally exhausted from refereeing the gruesome twosome or craving adult company along with a full cup of tea uninterrupted it is also the most rewarding position I will ever hold.

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I’ve learned to make friends !

This last  year I’ve put myself out there a bit more .. I promised myself unless impossible I would accept invitations , invest time into  people I knew but weren’t “friends” and where opportunity struck (and sometimes where it didn’t ) make new friends. It has lead to me not only making a few friends but meeting people who I have great time for and I feel will become lifelong friends.

Of coarse there have been one or two who I thought I’d become ” proper friends” with now I’d time to invest in these potential friendships that didn’t quite workout that way but I’ve no regrets or I’ll feeling toward the fact it was a bit of a one way street. The friends I’ve made more than make up for the potential friendships that didn’t work out ! So accept the invite for a cuppa from someone you don’t know that well, create an event or meet up ! And just try saying yes to as many invites as you can 😉

I now know why if you want anything done ask a busy person !

These days my workload is less than half of what it used to be but sometimes I’m even more allergic to doing a trivial job than I used to be facing into what I knew was going to be a long and busy day ! Sometimes I put off a simple phone all for days , why ? The less we do the less motivated we become . I’ve learnt I need to be doing things to motivate myself , “doing” ups your motivation. I do feel though you need more than doing the mundane daily household tasks and that’s why I continue to volunteer with The Irish Therapy Dogs and why I like to organise the odd meet up etc through my facebook page. Doing things you enjoy , pursuing a hobby also motivates you, So if you needed an excuse for that cuppa with your friend or a run etc here it is !

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Weekends are proof God exists !

Omg I had no idea what I was missing out on ! In that early daydream I had decided I was going to take the kids to church at least 3 times in the month but I must ashamedly admit I can probably could the days this year we attended on my hands or at a push add a foot in !

I have learned to relax … On days off, even holidays in the past I genuinely couldn’t relax. Mr Mmmm used to call me Roy Cropper on holidays BC ( before children) as I’d have the guide book out planning our timetable for holiday almost getting annoyed with him if he wanted to chill by the pool … I know, I know what a nightmare ! I now make sure we have at least one of the days in the weekend without plans do we can go with the flow or do nothing at all if the mood takes us. I now too get the Friday feeling and enjoy the weekends that were once alien to me and I don’t think after working weekends for almost 20 years would I ever go back there .

There is no such thing as ” The Perfect Mother “.

It isn’t that I was focusing on other mums around me and comparing myself to the gentle, patient, ideal mums ( well maybe a little ) but worse ….you see I had put my own mum on a pedestal and tried to be everything that she was to me but I’d focused so hard on all the good memories and moments that I’d not given a single thought to the moments where she was human. The times where she roared at us when we drive her mad ! gave out to us for what seemed like trivial things , even broke the hairbrush on my arse during one of the ordeals that was brushing my hair !!!

I had put an awful pressure on myself to be perfect and it was doing me more harm than good …this is a recent revelation for me and one that I’m sure will do me well in the days , weeks and months to come. We as mothers are so hard on ourselves and often despite thinking otherwise are the only ones who are judging our role as mum so harshly.

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Mum ” me ” time is extremely important .

Trust me there is no one giving out  awards to mums who never go a minute without a break from their kids , the only thing these women should be getting is possibly a Valium ! Only joking … Kind of 😉  If u can spend every living breathing second with your kids and not lose the will to live then more power to u !!!! For me personally I need that ” me time ” to be the best mother I can be …. I need my few drinks with friends who talk about something other than kids , I need the excuse to dress up and I need time to pursue activities that identify me as a person -Laura not mum. Once a week or a few grabbed minutes for me is not enough and at first when I tried to grab 2/3 child free jaunts a week I used to feel guilty ( that damn mum guilt ) now I try to get out on my only if only for a short burst at least 2/3 times more if I can wing it 🙂 because a happy mum leads to happy children – fact  I even grabbed a Mr Mmmm for breakfast in town at the weekend something we’ve never done in our 10 yrs + as a couple , can you believe that ! Before children we both worked harder than we played and it’s one of my very few regrets . So ladies make no excuses for needing your ” me time ” you are entitled to it and it’s in every bodies best interest 😉

The kiddos enjoy a pj day as much as a day of adventure and need a balance of both !

When I was working the kids trucked along and were little legends so when I got a full day or two off we tended to head away or do a day trip or head on an ” abenture” so full days of lazing around just didn’t happen . Now school term has put a stop to our gallop or lack of movement more realistically ! But there were days during the summer that we unashamedly didn’t get out of our pjs and just chilled and I came to realise children’s lives these days are busier than a md in a global company so I think days spent in pjs playing and relaxing are very important and you should’t feel the need to justify these days to anyone.

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It’s up to you to reclaim your identity or prevent it from slipping away from you while you ride the roller coaster that is motherhood.

For most of us when we have children maternal instinct kicks in and our family become our main focus despite any previous swears of never losing yourself in motherhood it seems to happen to the best of us ! Certainly preventing your identity from slipping away from you is ideal but if you feel it has then make a start on reclaiming it. The mum guilt and the fear of being judged is in my case the reason I lost myself…  I wouldn’t ask in laws or to babysit while I went for a few drinks or went to a gig if Mr Mmmm was working , abandoning the kids to drink coffee and gossip with my friends … Sher I couldn’t pay a babysitter so I could do that.

As for asking someone to mind them while I went to an excercise class or for a jog – what would they think of me asking them to babysit for me to do something ” that I didn’t really have to do ” or to swan off doing charity work while someone else was left holding the baby literally.

Circumstances changed I didn’t have the finances or the time for horses , the loss of my business meant I could do very little for the animal charities I had once helped and soon I felt anyone who met me for the first time wouldn’t even find me interesting as I felt I’d become nothing more than a mum.

In the last month or two I’ve started to reclaim my life and my identity , I’ve signed up for a ” girl crew ” kayaking trip with strangers , I’m looking forward to my first bloggers meetup the same weekend and I’ve started reaching out to my friends for impromptu pints and coffee dates . The more I do to reclaim myself the easier it becomes and I’m leaving go of the guilt with the aim of reviving the twinkle in my eye ! If you feel your in danger of losing yourself or have lost  … Start now make a plan you can do it 😉

So even though these lessons I’ve learned in the last year aren’t mind blowing they have been valuable to me and I think it has been a pretty good year and the best thing I’ve learned in my eyes is …

To just go with the flow and enjoy the little things ….

This year J started his second year in An Naoinra and L will start after  Halloween , before I know it they’ll both be in ” big school”  so for now I’m savouring each moment ( in between losing my shit with them of course 😉 ) and I’m celebrating all their accomplishments and milestones, creating memories and banking all those hugs, kisses and I love you’s for when they become to cool to give them to me 😉

Xoxo L.

 

 

 

Xmas gift ideas from birth to preschoolers.

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Maybe I’m mad but I’ve allready started thinking of Christmas and do so about this time each year to spread the costs and get the most meaningful and best presents possible for the ones I love !

With J from about 14 months he was all about machinery basically anything with wheels and tools so by the time his second Xmas came it was easy to choose his gifts and we knew easily what he’d love from the big man in red .

The first Christmas along is usually filled with joy and excitement and unless you have a winter babe baby toys feature heavily also and they are easy enough to choose . Little L being a babe of late December was very nearly one for her first Xmas which meant the cute photo shoot I did with J at 6mths was a nightmare ! I’m lucky if I’ve one nice shot ! She was like an electric eel covered in tinsel… That aside she was out of ” baby” toys and not quite into anything and I was unsure what to get her for that first Christmas and similarly last Christmas as she wasn’t into anything as such and just ambled along with the toys wed had all ready ! It was trial and error and maybe our toy experiences can help you out if your not sure what to get your little love this year 🙂

Snoopy Pull Along Puppy

Over the last few years between the pair I’ve bought and received some lovely toys to encourage crawling and walking and this was a firm favourite with my 2 and is now with the girl I look after who has recently got on her feet.  It’s light,simple and good value for money , snoopy wiggles along making a nice sound that isn’t overbearing . It’s aimed at ages 12-36 months but you could use it earlier if u vigilantly supervised or cut the pull along chord ( making sure to leave a bit long enough to tie on the rest of it again when your little one gets on their feet ) as that’s the only thing I could see preventing it from being safe for younger ones.

http://www.boots.ie/fisher-price-lil-snoopy-pull-along-puppy-10190142

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Old Mac Donald Tractor and Trailer Set 

This fantastic tractor and trailer set was gifted to J for his first Christmas by his aunt and godmother, after two children of her own she had seen how popular it was with all who entered her house it was a sure bet that my tractor mad man would love it too and he it ! Him , L and all who have visited also. With lovely farm sounds, activated when the animals are slotted into their place in the trailer old mac Donald’s tractor drives off playing the popular nursery rhyme ! We’ve only replaced the batteries once in the four years and it’s been a great addition to our playroom therefore I would highly recommend it !

http://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/pre-school-and-electronic-learning/preschool-vehicles/old-macdonald-farm-tractor-and-trailer-set/p/100364

 

 

Leapfrog Musical Rainbow Tea Party and Number Loving Oven.

For L’s first Xmas and her second for her ” main Santa presents ” we chose Leap frog toys . Year one -almost a year old the rainbow tea set and after that being such a success ( as much with J as L !) we went for the number loving oven for year two – L almost two and again no regrets ! Leapfrog has it all with these amazing role play toys both appealing to kids and also educational in a child friendly manner. The tea set, the focus is on colours and the oven it’s numbers . Three years later the tea set is one of the most played with toys in our sunroom and I recently saw an add for a new leap frog icecream cart that looks amazing also J has allready put it on his Xmas list !

littlewoods Ireland have a sale on right now so have a peep at the links if your interested you’ll save a few euro ;-).

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/leapfrog-musical-rainbow-tea-party/1268668986.prd

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http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/leapfrog-number-loving-oven/1600007905.prd

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Another lovely set from Leap Frog…

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/leapfrog-sweet-treats-learning-cafeacute/1600188656.prd

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The Skuttlebug 

This is just one cool piece of kit !!! While in a childminders for a few hours a week in the peak of my busy summer a few years back J fell in love with the Skuttlebug ! This is suitable for any children that are starting to put their legs under them ( marketed at 12mths +) , it’s low to the ground so isn’t dangerous and you’ll get at least four years out of it per child . It is nice and small anyway but you’d nearly get it in a adults backpack when folded.A great buy for any child as there will be hours of fun to be had on the bug !

http://www.argos.co.uk/product/3677179

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Jcb Transporter, Tractor and Loader.

We purchased this for J’s second Xmas ( aged 18mths) and it was a great buy and is still going strong three years later. What drew me to this originally was the great value for money , you got three decent vehicles for less than e50 and at his age I knew they were going to get a hammering so at that price I didn’t mind if they didn’t last that long. Amazingly they did and it’s still making reversing sounds and we’ve never changed the battery !! For any machine mad monkey this is a great buy .

http://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/construction-and-cars/construction-vehicles/jcb-heavy-load-transporter-tractor-and-backhoe-loader/p/103487

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Bosch Chainsaw, Helmet and Work Gloves.

Again a huge favourite in our house with J and everyone who comes to play ! Chosen by myself as a gift from great grandad to J  2 years ago for Xmas ( aged 2.5yrs ) this was a super buy and is still played with regularly , so realistic looking  with a great realistic hum from it that isn’t irritating on the ears ;-). There are different sets you can get in this range and they are all superb and I found the quality to be great . A big thumbs up for this product.

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/bosch-chainsaw-helmet-and-work-gloves/1122399534.prd

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Junior Doctor Medical Kit.

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* I had decided not to put pictures of the toys in action in this post to try and limit the pics but this one was irresistible !!! Little J examining his great grandad 😉 *

I just love role play toys I think they are fantastic for children’s imaginations , that said no house should be without a doctors kit ! This junior doctor medical kit is a simple but super and sturdy kit , there are two sets ( we got the first one pictured as there wasn’t a choice last year ) to choose from and since I’ve bought this set there is a great set complete with doctors coat (second link below) for an additional e11 . When I was shopping this time last year I couldn’t find a little doctor or nurses outfit to fit a 2 and 3yr old so I am delighted this new set is on the market . I can genuinely say the junior doctor set is played with every day by at least one if not both of my gang and it’s a truly lovely and affordable gift for any

https://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/fashion-and-dolls/dress-up-and-make-up/junior-doctor-medical-kit-assortment/p/122883

https://www.smythstoys.com/ie/en-ie/toys/fashion-and-dolls/dress-up-and-make-up/electronic-junior-doctor-s-small-costume/p/101221

Berenguer Soft Body Twin Gift Set.

This fab set was given as a gift to L for her christening and I can’t find an Irish site that sells them ! Maybe you’d have better luck 😉 ( smyths do a similar twin set ) when L received this she was very young and it was such a lovely set with realistic accessories that I put it away till she was a year plus so she would really appreciate it. Both J and L have gotten great sport out of these dolls and j loves the fact one is a boy ! Again a lovely gift for any small 😉

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https://www.jctoys.com/mobile/product.aspx?ProductCode=30050&404;https://www.jctoys.com:443/product-p/300

Jigsaws.

jigsaws along with role play toys and books are a staple in our house for entertainment . Another lovely thing to do with your child and they are improving concentration and fine motor skills while doing so ! We have loads of jigsaws but without doubt the Orchard Toys brand is our favourite .. They also do educational aids and games and their age guides on the toys are spot on on my experience. I’ll post a link to their webpage but they are easily got in most shops but Art and Hobby have the best selection I’ve seen in store.

https://www.orchardtoys.com

 

Books, Beautiful Books.

I just love books so each Xmas my kiddos always get a few books from Santa and they love it ! I always get one festive one and the rest regular books. Being an Usborne Childrens Books rep means a lot of the books I give them are Usborne but even before signed up I bought many of them as I found a lot of cheaper books sit on the shelf and don’t engage them after one read.

Of coarse I’m a huge Julia Donaldson fan ( our favourites being Stickman, A squish a squash and a squeeze , The smartest giant in town, what the ladybird heard and Zog ) as are the kids and you can’t beat a good ladybird book!

 

I have also got some very good quality books in Dealz at just e1.50 I have gotten some great books by rooting through their stock and if your lucky you’ll find old usborne stock, horrid Henry books and ladybird first readers.

For the younger children my favourites are the “That’s not my” range (from birth) ,the “peep inside” range (from one year) , the “Questions and Answers ” range and the ” phonics” range but usborne have a book for everyone from birth to young adult.

Contact me via facebook to find the perfect book !

https://m.facebook.com/Laura-Meade-Independent-Usborne-Organiser-1098787236810141/?ref=bookmarks

And … What list would be complete without Lego!

Through the years with J I had bought Duplo hoping it would lead to a love of Lego but he never really showed alot of interest in it much to my dissapointment but I’m a stubborn one ! Leading up to his birthday the big four everything was about marvel /superheroes so I chose a batman set from his great grandad as his birthday present and he is stone mad for Lego since. I think Lego is a bit like books all children will love them it’s just a matter of choosing the right topic/ theme. Not much has changed since the early days with J, so vehicles in Lego is where it’s at . We make them as instructed first time round then it’s all about pimping those rides ! Lego is not cheap so keeping an eye on prices is important you rarely see Lego on sale but just last week in the Littlewoods offers section I saved e10 on a Lego city set I’ll share the link below hopefully you might get some bargains.

http://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/toys/lego/e/b/4294938669,5132,5615.end?numProducts=16

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My Favourite Part of Christmas … Stockings 🙂

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*picture taken from http://www.wowwee.ie*

My love for stockings is years old and each year I do stockings for everyone ! I have mine and Mr Mmmm’s stocking since we moved in (we did them for ourselves and dogs pre children) but when J arrived I got him a personalised one from Irish company wowwee.ie it wasn’t cheap (e25.99 excluding postage)but it’s something he’ll have forever as it’s  superb quality and a great size so I got the exact same for L when she had arrived. The company was great to deal with and they provided a efficient and satisfactory service.

So what do I fill the stockings with ?

  • A new drink bottle/cup
  • Arts and crafts supplies
  • A kinder egg
  • chocolate coins ( a must !)
  • A new DVD ( 1.5 hours of peace!)
  • A mini Lego figure / puppy in my pocket etc
  • A ladybird size book
  • Hair clips /ties
  • New toothbrush/paste
  • And any other knick/knacks that grab me !

I hope you’ve enjoyed the post , I’ve paid for or got these toys listed as gifts from friends or family and all my opinions are genuine and honest as always 😉

Xoxo L.

 

 

10 Things as a mum I will never take for granted again !

Standing in the shower the other evening I pondered life ( as I tend to do !) thinking about one thing or another lead me to think about the things motherhood has taught me to appreciate so much more than I ever did before.  I’m am so different to the pre mommy me in so many ways. There are so many parts of me that I mourn the loss of but the positive side of me chastises me telling me I should not mourn but realise the pre mommy me is not all gone it just stagnant.

There are so many other things that are priority and at the surface now that there’s no space but in time the old me ( or at least the best bits ) will rise again.

So here’s just 10 of the things I now have a greater appreciation for since becoming mum …

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10) A Shower…

Ah a shower .. What was once just a means to an end type of thing is now a luxury . Before children (bc) I was in and out of the shower quicker than any man despite having long hair, unlike a lot of women I just got on with the task to hand I washed , shaved etc I could never say I found the shower relaxing nor was I ever that mesmerised by it that I was singing in there either but that might have something to do with sounding like a bag of cats .

Fast forward four years and I now appreciate and love my shower, it’s amazing what the motor of the shower and some water can drown out 😉 I now just stand there after my hair is washed letting the water flow pondering my takeover like pinky and the brain ( an old fave of mine !).

It’s nothing fancy just a basic shower but the serenity of the water and my ears are deaf to children and this is epic in my eyes … So epic that it counteracts the fact that in the shower there’s nothing to camouflage my depressing looking boobs (looking like spaniels ears ) after my two attempts at breastfeeding. Sad yup maybe a little but a shower is something I’ll never take for granted again.

9) My Independence.

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Not being completely independent is something that is very difficult for me and one of the hardest things about my role as mum is how now I find myself dependent on others more than I’d wish to.

The obvious one is that basically when you are the chief caregiver for your children you cannot go and do as you please … To have a cuppa with a friend , a night out , time with your partner all these require you to plan an alternative to yourself as care giver and if this isn’t possible you just have to sacrifice your me time …

After my decision to stay at home I became more or less dependent financially on Mr Mmmm, this I find so so hard.

Even though I earn a little pocket money it is pittance in comparison to what I used to earn and I depend on himself to foot the bills. I know in my heart that like all stay at home mums I’m doing a job that is an important one but I still feel that I don’t have the same self worth that I had when I was running my business.

I want for nothing and am never questioned about spending but as a gal who was raised to work for a living this is one of the hurdles I’m finding hard to jump but never fear I’ve had a few runs at it and I’m closer each time to clearing it .

One of the other struggles I have with regard to independence is that I can no longer book a cheap flight and head off on an adventure !!!! Babysitters are hard to come by and there’s an element of mum guilt when your asking favours of people just so that you can go off galavanting !!! BC I holidayed with himself , had a few weekends away , holidayed with friends and occasionally headed off on my own too … I genuinely had no idea then just how good I had it. I blew money like the Aga Khan that should have been wisely saved for a rainy day ( i.e. everyday funding kids ) but fuck it I had some great days that I’ll never forget so I regret nothing !

8) The Sound of Silence.

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BC I genuinely never realised how much I enjoyed the sound of silence ! Of coarse I enjoyed music , TV etc but I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed sitting in silence with my dogs and reading my book , walking the dogs bring around horses with just my voice and their beautiful breaths with the odd whinny or bark … It was so peaceful and I didn’t realise it ! On the rare time Mr Mmmm and myself wake up on our own in our house the silence is strange it’s impossible to think this was the norm four years ago. Every now and then the 3 will head off for a walk or the like and I’ll dive under the duvet or onto the couch and cherish the sound of silence and enjoy a chapter or two without distraction and it’s pure bliss !

7) Good Friends.

* some of my Queenies*

Ive always been a firm believer in quality over quantity in the friend department and this mentality has served me well 😉

In my early twenties I flirted with the idea of being one of the girls ( and every man in a band at the time too but that’s another story) for a while but it just didn’t suit me it was all just too much for me, maybe I chose a bad “gang” but I just couldn’t keep up with nor did I want to the bitchyness , falseness and competition.

Thankfully while this brief affair with ” the girls ” was going on I still had my true ride or die bitches by my side ! These are my soul sisters who’ve seen me at my best and my worst and are there for me unconditionally. I count my self very lucky as I had three of these at that time and I now have eight or nine so I consider myself blessed ( this one time calls for the use of “blessed”) #ifuckinghatethewordblessed !

These ride or die bitches are all very different but have a few things in common , these women are strong, loyal, passionate , understanding, big hearted ( although some try and hide that !) non judgemental and a fucking laugh on a night out.

When I became a mum I realised just how important real friends who you could share your feelings, shout, cry and laugh with are , these women are my queens and we need each other … These kind of friends can be made at any age or at any time so never cut yourself off from the opportunity to meet one :-).

6) My Body.

In my teens/twenties I was never “into” my body , it wasn’t perfect but I didn’t give it a second thought I was never a size ten ( even at my fittest riding 5/6 horses a day I was a 12/14) and never felt anything but confident in my skin even though the older generation would often comment on me being a “fine girl”. Even when I was what is considered plus size a good 16 I felt I dressed well and had more on my mind than a number on the scales I was more interested in gigs, pinting , animals, travel and having fun.

After becoming pregnant and having two amazing children I look at my body differently … Biology and the human body is just amazing and I appreciate it being a vessel for the some of the most important people in my life but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I have my insecurities about it.

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After having j the first thing I noticed was I couldn’t just suck in my tummy like I used to ! I held it in but it looked the same ;-/ nor could I ” be good ” for a week and lose a few lbs easily . Now look I’m taking full responsibility for it… my lazy approach to fitness and my love for chocolate is my downfall so I’m owning that but ones things for sure I’d hate to find myself in the position of having to bare my bod to anyone except Mr Mmmm and even at that I’m not at all confident. Someday I’ll get my self going but for now my heads not in it !

5) A Good Nights Sleep 

imageThis one might seem like it needs no explanation but when I met Mr Mmmm first there was nights that if he didn’t ring me before 6.30( home and away !) he’d have to wait till the nxt day as I’d be asleep as soon as my TV programmes were over !

I spent many nights partying  where I got no sleep and did a days work after but if I was in ,I was in and asleep early ! Mr Mmmmm always comments I’m an all or nothing gal , a woman of extremes!

For me to function I need 8/10 hrs sleep it’s just the way I am so you can imagine how appreciative I was of L ( sleeping the night after 6weeks ) after baby J being a night owl for longer than I care to remember … Even the odd nights that we have bad nights in recent times I cannot cope with interrupted sleep last night I ignored 3/4 calls out pretended to be asleep but the fact I was awake even though Mr Mmmm dealt with it meant I was no good this morn when the alarm went off !

4) The Television.

imageThe perfect parenting brigade will love this shit but god knows I’d be a broken woman with out my nanny the TV ! If I want to shower, have a cuppa in peace or just separate the gruesome twosome nanny TV comes to work.

when I had J TV was not watched (there was even a period where the dog chewed the lead to the saor view box and we weren’t bothered fixing it for ages )or severely limited to an hour of Mickey Mouse clubhouse every now and then but when exhausted and pregnant and later when a mum of two under 19mths I stopped giving a shit about how much they watched and put on my big girl pants and stood by my choices … There are days they will watch it far too much and there are often times it’s not turned on for a couple of days. They love books, spend lots of time out doors and never crib when I say I’m turning it off so I feel the balance is ok !

Appreciating the TV is not just in relation to the kids , I live for my escape to summer bay every night ! This desperate housewife lives through fictional characters and gets a kick out of these beautiful bad boys and the drama that unfolds that is literally a million miles away from what my life entails right now !!!! Simple pleasures eh ;-).

3) A Good Holiday !

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* footloose and carefree in Puerto Rico the year we got engaged , we had no idea of how our lives were to change for the good , bad and the greater*

God aside from my independence holidays are the bad boys I miss the most ! In a way I guess my Independence and good holidays are linked as in my eyes the word holiday is a joke when mentioned in conjunction with the word children … As far as I’m concerned you “get away” with children and you holiday alone ;-).

A getaway means you get a minuscule break from cooking but all the other mum duties still need to be done and you go home with even more washing than you had when u left ! Of coarse it’s nice to get away with the brood , eat out , visit fun places etc but its no holiday …

A holiday is staying in bed till you please , pouncing on your partner whenever the mood takes u without fearing the footsteps of little ones , buying a fridge magnet or a 100 ;-), balming in the sun, drinking during the day and getting pissed if the idea grabs u 🙂 making new besties while drunk despite knowing you’ll never keep in touch and  eating a meal in peace !  Oh holidays how I missed you… thank god we went out with a bang on our honeymoon ! #sanfran #vegasbaby #yosemite #la

Maybe  well get a holiday soon but for now I’m scheming for Mr Mmmm’s 40th two years from now ! Surely no one could refuse a stint of babysitting if it’s for his big bash could they ?!!!

2) My Family.

Since the arrival of the gruesome twosome I’ve really learnt the meaning behind the saying “blood is thicker than water”. A saying that used to bring Tony Soprano my mind with a smirk has now become a reality for me and I appreciate my family more than ever.

My dad, my aunt and my sisters have just been amazing to me on hand from the word go with baby J  but since L has been born I’ve really had to rely on them to get any mum me time. From last minute requests , sleepovers while we attend weddings , afternoons with friends or doing a bit for charity to times when I’ve just been exhausted and needed the kiddos taken away for the night so myself and Mr  Mmmm could just simply watch some TV , have a good night sleep and a lie in.

My family help me out unconditionally and don’t judge me for wanting ” me time” away from the kids and as a mum this is invaluable. We are not a soppy, emotion showing kinda family but when the chips are down we’ve got each other’s backs and I genuinely can’t say how lucky I am to have such a great family, have such a superb dad and have such amazing strong ” Meade women ” in my life , 2 of which are part of my ride or die bitch squad ! #sisters.

1) My Own Mother.

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One thing is for sure until I became a mother I had no idea just how much mums sacrificed for their children ; their identities, their jobs/careers, their bodies, their independence to name but a few.

Don’t get me wrong I never looked on mothers in a negative way but fact was I didn’t really give it all a second thought , the mums around me made it look so easy .. Were they super human or were some of them paddling furiously like most of us under the surface to keep going , who knows either way I’m in awe of anyone who takes a helpless baby to adulthood and still is in one piece ! ( the mum that is 😉 )

I now appreciate my mother and the sacrifices she made for me. As I was a “surprise” She had to give up her youth, a respectable job that she could have made a career and her city slicker ways to become mum in a rural area on farm that without transport must have felt like millions of miles from civilisation yet she nailed it and was a great mum , I only wish I saw that in time to acknowledge it.

Being a mum now despite it being almost 20 years since she passed makes it harder than ever not to have her here with us but every night the smalls say their ” special prayer” to granny Marian, I know she’d be obsessed with them had she met them and I know for a fact she is with me and present in my home .

well ! What would you add to the list or what had you taken for granted before children that you know feel differently about ? Do share.

Xoxo L.