Friday, 30 November 2018

Monthly Challenge: November

Hello again everyone! Welcome to blog post number FOUR for today! This is the post that was actually scheduled for today so I am now finally caught up...mostly. I don't think I really need to explain what this months challenge was because I've only gone on about it a lot this month... Of course it was NaNoWriMo! The challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Today is the very last day of NaNoWriMo 2018, my first ever NaNoWriMo, so how did I do?

Well if this photo is anything to go off....I WON! That's right, I wrote over 50,000 words in less than 30 days! I actually reached 50,000 words ten days ago after staying up until 2am rewriting my previous draft. I wrote over 8,000 words that day to seal my victory. I seriously cried tears of happiness that morning. Since then, I have barely written at all and that's not because I reached the target so stopped... No, I've barely written anymore for the same reason that all my blog posts were missed; because life got hectic, stressful and sickly. First we had Vala's birthday weekend which took a lot of planning and was totally stressful for me but since then I have been extremely sick and barely able to verbally string two sentences together because my brain has been total mush. As I write this post I sit at 52,421 words written and I have finished chapter ten, ready to start chapter eleven. I've got until 11:59:59pm tonight to write as many more words as I can. I don't have to write anymore if I don't want but I'd like to see how high I can get my final word count by the end of NaNoWriMo.

So yeah, my first ever NaNoWriMo was a complete success. I nailed this months challenge and I feel so damn good about it! I won! I actually won! I enjoyed NaNoWriMo so much that I already can't wait until next November so I can start writing a whole new novel. I already have ideas swirling through my brain and I think when I've finished writing the first draft of this novel, I might write out all my ideas and a potential plot for a sequel to work on next November. I really am over the moon right now.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Helping Vala

Good morning everyone! I hope you all slept well. As this is already my third blog post since midnight, I evidently did not. Thanks cold! It's not just the cold that's keeping me awake at night at the moment though; I'm also really concerned about Vala. I mentioned in her birthday post that her teachers had mentioned to me that she's having a hard time concentrating in class and giving them vacant stares whenever they ask her even simple questions like "what is your favourite colour?" They suggested I get her hearing checked and so I've made a doctors appointment to get her referred. However, since making the appointment, I've spoken to Vala's Nanna (on her dads side).

She bought to my attention that there is a condition in their family known as "Delayed Processing". This is where the information given to Vala takes longer to process in her head than it does in ours. Whilst we can easily answer "my favourite colour is green" as soon as we're asked our favourite colour, her brain has to process the question asked and then give her time to think about her answer before she actually answers it. All the signs that her Nanna listed sounded exactly like Vala's behaviour and since her dad, grandad and uncle all have the condition, it seemed highly likely that, that is what she must be suffering with. However then her Nanna also mentioned that Autism runs in their family and that there is also a chance Vala good be high functioning autistic or maybe even suffer from Asperger Syndrome. Whilst the signs and symptoms for either don't seem to match how Vala is behaving, in the last week she has started displaying "Tics". She now unconsciously makes a "hmm" sound every 5 seconds no matter what she is doing; whether that's watching tv, eating or even sometimes sleeping. It started off as just the "hmm" sound but it's since progressed to include the word "Yep" as well. She will randomly say the word "Yep" without even realising she's said it. Last night she started coughing in her sleep then suddenly said "Yep yep" before "hmming" a couple of times and falling silent again. Today, she did the same; cough then say "Yep yep" to herself whilst watching tv. She was off in her own world and completely oblivious to the fact she'd just said it.

All of this seems to have suddenly come on since my parent teacher meeting with her teachers two weeks ago. She wasn't even listening during this part of the conversation so I know she's not just putting it on because we talked about it. So now next week I'll be taking her to see the doctor and saying that the teachers suggested a hearing test however she could have "Processing Delay" or Asperger Syndrome or potentially be autistic and then mention her recent "Tics". I want to get her the help she needs because lately she hasn't been as happy as she normally is and it really upsets me to see her struggling. She's angry all the time now and the tantrums are only getting worse. Jordan and I are beside ourselves not understanding what she is going through or how we can help and that honestly has been keeping me up at night. Worrying about Vala and how to help her as probably only prolonged my recovery from this cold but until her appointment next week, I'm totally lost. I just want to help my little girl and because I don't know how to right now, I feel like I'm failing her. It's horrible.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Final Breastfeeding Month

Morning again everyone! It is very early in the morning but I am full of cold and it is preventing me from sleeping so I figured I'd write another short blog post to make up for the ones I've missed over the past two weeks.

Ten days ago Flynn hit 11 months of age and so that began the final month of our breastfeeding journey. I breastfed Vala up her first birthday and not a single day more and I plan on doing the same with Flynn. However things are a lot more different this time around. With Vala, we had more of a set feed time which was first thing in the morning before breakfast. This is in the final weeks when she was only having one breast feed a day mind you. She started sleeping through the night from a young age, probably due to co-sleeping so we didn't have to worry about weaning her off night feeds. Flynn of course is different. He has baby porridge in the morning instead of my breast milk and only breastfeeds at night because he still wakes at least once in the middle of the night. Sometimes he ever wakes twice which results in him being fed twice. We've tried weaning him off night feeds by having me breastfeed him before he goes down for the night but he still wakes. We've tried comforting him when he wakes but not giving him breast milk but he won't settle again until he's fed. So whilst I still intend on ceasing breastfeeds after his first birthday, I don't think he's going to be as easy to wean as Vala was. She never asked for a single breastfeed after her birthday but I fear Flynn will.

I love breastfeeding but at the same time there are a lot things I can't do when breastfeeding; like treating a toenail fungal infection, take cold and flu tablets when sick, or even use a wide variety of diet and slimming products. For almost two years of my life, throughout the pregnancy and the breastfeeding, I've put all these things off and now I am really ready to start them again. I want to treat my toenail infection. I want to use my acti-labs slimming wraps and right now, I wish I could take cold and flu to help me sleep. I feel stuck between my own selfish desires to give up breastfeeding after Flynn's birthday and doing what is best for him. At a year old he can have cows milk and I plan on substituting any night time breast feeds with warm cows milk and hopefully that will enough for him.

I definitely do feel worse this time around than I did with Vala because with her, we were both ready to be weaned off breastfeeds but I still don't feel Flynn is and I feel bad that I am. I thought this transition was going to be easier and now honestly, I'm just sad about it. Guess we'll just have to see how things go.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Vala's 5th Birthday

Good (very early) morning/(very late) night everyone. I am so very sorry for the lack of blog posts recently. Life has been extremely chaotic, stressful and sickly. But my first born, beautiful little girl Vala turned 5 over the weekend and even though it's nearly 1am, here's a quick post on how her birthday went.

In two words.... not great. The party was a
big success, 14 friends attended, the cake was perfect, everyone had a lot of fun and nothing went wrong... almost. I still don't know what happened but Vala's mood suddenly nose dived at her party. She was happy and sociable at the beginning but once everyone was present, she suddenly became very down. She wouldn't play anymore, or eat, or smile, or even really talk to us. She sat at the party table and moped for the remainder of the party resulting in all the parents asking me what was wrong with her. But I had no idea.

She was still sad when we got home after the party and a teeny bit warm so we gave her some Calpol and for a couple hours she was her bright bubbly self again. Right up until dinner time that is. I let her choose whatever she wanted for dinner but then she wouldn't eat it. She cried and curled up on the sofa not even wanting to get up to say goodbye to her dad when he left. When I put her to bed half an hour later, she was running a small fever with a temperature of 38.3°c. We gave her more Calpol and she slept right through the night. The next day she said she felt fine but refused to eat and was reluctant to go visit her grandparents and cousins.

On the way to her grandparents, who live 2.5 hours away, we stopped for McDonalds as part of a birthday treat. She ate half a packet of small fries and that was it. She didnt want McDonalds she told us. We thought her mood would pick up at her grandparents as she loves her cousins and is always happy when playing them. But again she made it obvious that something wasn't quite right as she sat on the sofa and chose to draw in her new colouring book with her new pencils instead of playing with her cousins who had clearly missed her. She didnt want to do anything with them and waited until they'd gone to stop drawing and come sit with me to watch some tv. She had no temperature and showed no obvious signs of being ill so we couldn't understand what was wrong and she wouldn't tell us either.

So after all my planning and stressing to ensure Vala had the best and most fun birthday possible, she ended up being the thing that "went wrong". Everything went off perfectly from her dad's visit, to the party, to visiting her grandparents. The only reason she didn't have a good birthday is because something is going on with her and we're not sure what.

Two weeks ago her teachers mentioned to me that she's having a hard time concentrating in school and we've got a doctors appointment booked next week to find out what's going on. Hopefully we get some answers and we can work with Vala to help her feel like herself once again. We miss our happy, bubbly little girl and just want to understand what's going on and how we can help her.

So yeah, the birthday weekend technically was a success but Vala didn't enjoy it at all which honestly breaks my heart a little. I just want to see her happy again.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Flynn Monthly Update: 11 Months

Time seriously needs to slow down because I cannot believe that my little baby boy is 11 months old today! It feels like only a couple of months ago that I was pregnant with him. Now he's exactly one month off turning one?! I'm slightly in a state of denial about that fact. I don't feel ready for his first birthday yet at all, that's for sure.

How's Flynn Doing?

This toothy little monster is 11 months old today. I can't believe he will be a year old in exactly a month. It feels like only a couple months ago that I was pregnant with him. The time has flown by! He now weighs 8.4kg or 18lbs 08oz which means he is finally starting to put weight on again. Some of these photos show off 5 of his little toothy pegs but he actually has 6 teeth in total now. Number 6 broke through over the weekend and is causing him some problems today. He is a very active baby who hates being sat in one place for too long. He loves to explore and cruise along every bit of furniture he can. 

He is very sturdy standing up and barely puts any weight down when supporting himself but he hasn't quite got the confidence to keep standing without support. We have seen him slowly lower himself from standing to sitting without holding onto anything so we think he'll be standing unaided in a matter of weeks. He has been playing with his sisters old activity walker recently too and starting to take practice steps with it. We've tried walking him while holding our hands but he hasnt shown much interest as its too slow for him and he starts crawling again. He is quite a chatterbox with dada and mum-mum still being his favourite words although we think Nana is starting to make its way into his vocabulary. He is a very messy baby both with food and toys. Everything has to go on the floor or around his face. 

How's Mum Doing?

To put it in a single word; stressed. Very stressed to be exact. Everything is coming at once now and I've been juggling a lot! I've been participating in NaNoWriMo, planning and preparing for Vala's birthday, attempting to blitz the house, planning trips out with the kids and what to do for my anniversary with Jordan next month. Finances have been very tight this month which is horrible given the fact we're currently in the most expensive time of year for our family. I've not even had chance to plan Flynn's birthday yet. It's been go go go all month and whilst I am very stressed and my sleep pattern is messed up again, I've also not had much chance to dwell on all the negative thoughts that were making me depressed. Goes to show that my PND is just a state of mind and when I keep occupied, my brain can't tell me how much of a lousy mother and partner I actually am. However, I do feel that by the thoughts being at the back of my mind, they're actually doing more harm than good. 

That is because of how I am doing physically. As I mentioned my sleep pattern is completely messed up again and if I don't nap during Flynn's morning nap time, then I become a dragon mummy. I feel like crap most of the time both physically and emotionally and as a result, I've actually been taking less care of myself. I've been rushing around and stressing so much, trying to make everything perfect for everyone else, that I completely neglect myself. I miss meals and eat WAY too much junk food. Chocolate especially. I've eating nearly a block of chocolate a day at the moment which is terrible but I mindlessly do it because I've associated chocolate with being my vice to help me cope with my PND. So now, with things so hectic and stressful, I'm unconsciously eating more and more chocolate every day just to deal with all the emotions and thoughts I'm internalising. I know it's bad and I know I need to stop but I'm so tired and so stressed that right now, I just don't care. The weight is going on and I don't care. I just want to make until the end of the year. Then things can change again. 

Overall though, Flynn and I are both doing as well as we can be. I can't wait to see what the next month holds for him. Our 11 month old baby is growing up so fast. Love him so much! 

Until next time,
Alli xo

Monday, 19 November 2018

NaNoWriMo Update

This post was supposed to come out last Friday (16th) just after we'd hit the half way mark of NaNoWriMo but you know, life happens and I'm really terrible for keep to a schedule. So here it is...

We are at the halfway mark! We have passed the halfway mark! And I am proud to say that I am still killing it. I admit my enthusiasm and motivation has dipped considerably compared to the first week of NaNo but that apparently isn't uncommon. It's called the halfway drop. I was talking with some fellow NaNoer's in our discord channel and they informed me that between the dates of the 15th - 20th everyone's motivation drops. Because the novelty of NaNo has worn off and writing a minimum of 1,667 words a day has started feeling like a grind. So everyone struggles during week 3 and especially during those particular dates. After the 20th motivation starts to build again as everyone realises they only have 10 days left to hit their target and they want to get some solid writing done.

So that is definitely what I've been experiencing. The passed few days I literally just written until I've hit 1,667 words and then called it a day. Thankfully, I am approximately 10,000 words ahead of where I should be. I actually hit 40,000 words last night which means I have less than 10,000 words to go before I successfully complete my first ever NaNoWriMo. I am so pumped about that. I've not missed a single day of writing and hit my 1,667 daily target every day so far. I also attended my second ever NaNo writers meet up on the weekend and got all this cool new stuff shown above. I'm aiming to hit 50,000 words by the end of the week so fingers crossed for me everyone!

Until next time,
Alli xo

My 28th Birthday

Happy Monday everyone! I am very sorry this post is coming to you so late. And the other two that are also behind schedule. Life has been very stressful and hectic recently and NaNoWriMo seems to take up most of my free time now. I've not even had chance to get much gaming in, in the evenings thanks to my novel writing. But that's not what this post is about, no, this is about my 28th birthday.

So last Wednesday (the 14th) was my 28th birthday and it was only ok. Jordan had forgotten to set money aside for literally anything and not only that was working until 7:30pm so we couldn't even have a family dinner for my birthday. So I ended up buying myself gifts on behalf of Jordan and the kids and because I chose them, I love them all. So you, know there is an upside. From the kids I got a beautiful family tree pendant with little emeralds as well as a large bar of my favourite chocolate. And from Jordan I got the just released new novel from my favourite author Matthew Reilly along with a monogram of the three initials that make up all our last names; "DSM".So my gifts were all pretty great...even though I had to buy them myself.

But as for the day....yeah that was alright too. My best friend Adam came over the night before and we spent the entire day chilling at home, doing nothing but watching Always Sunny In Philadelphia on Netflix until Vala finished school. Then once she was home and Flynn had, had his afternoon nap, we caught the bus into town and went to TGI Fridays for my birthday dinner. It wasn't what I had originally wanted to do as Jordan's mum was supposed to be watching the kids while Adam and I went out for burritos and booze but it ended up being a good decision. Plans changed because Jordan's mum couldn't watch the kids anymore and I had to pick a family friendly place to go eat. Somewhere that served food that even fussy-eater Vala would enjoy. I'd never been to TGI Friday's before so it seemed like the best option. I'm so glad we went there because I had one of the most delicious burgers ever! A double glazed Jack Daniel's burger. It was incredible. I also got treated to an ultimate Summers Peach frozen cocktail. The reason it's an ultimate frozen cocktail is because it was the size of my face. It was so yummy though. I literally finished everything at dinner, something I don't do often.

After dinner we caught the bus back again, swinging by Tesco to pick up birthday cake and then we just chilled at home again until Jordan came home with a second birthday cake. It was then that I finally got happy birthday sung to me and the birthday "celebrations" ended. For not longer after we'd had cake, Adam went home again and Jordan fell asleep. As usual.

So yeah, I had to buy my own presents and plan my birthday celebrations around what was best for my kids more so than what I wanted but it was still an alright birthday. Not exactly high on the best birthdays list but definitely not the worst. I mean, I didn't spend it hospital like I did when pregnant with Vala. So there's a win. Now I'm just focusing on Vala's birthday this weekend and hoping she has a much better birthday than I did.

Until next time,
Alli xo 
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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Goodbye 27!

I've just enjoyed my last dinner as a 27 year
old and right now, I'm feeling very content. The passed few months have been very stressful but I received the best birthday present today and I feel like im ending my 27th year of life on a high.

In the past year, I've gotten engaged to Jordan, given birth to my beautiful son, Vala's started school, I've worked harder on my novel than ever before and as of today, I am officially divorced.

I don't have much more to say except that I'm looking forward to closing the chapter and starting a new one tomorrow when I awake a 28 year old.

Until next time,
Alli xo

I'm free!

Very short post today as it has already been a hectic day and I'm still rushing around but I had to dedicate a post to the best early birthday present ever....

My divorce finally came through today! My decree absolute was awarded today and my marriage is legally over! I'm a free woman! Words cannot express how happy I am right now! I get to enter my 28th year of life, free. It's a good feeling.

Until next time,
Alli xo

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

A weaning nightmare!

 Three posts all on one day! I've been very slack but also very stressed. With the imminent arrival of tooth number 5 and with Flynn's 1st birthday a month and a half away,  I decided I needed to get over my weaning fears and let Flynn wean himself. So we're starting baby lead weaning again.

We used baby lead weaning with Vala and
by this age she was eating just about everything. Of course she did also have twice as many teeth as Flynn currently does but that's besides the point. I wasn't as scared of weaning Vala as I have been with Flynn. I'm not sure if it's the number of teeth he's got or if its because Jordan works so far away, he'd never get back in time if something went wrong, but for whatever reason, I have been terrified of letting Flynn wean himself like his sister did. He does shove the food into his mouth until he can't fit anymore in but I know that's part of his learning process. I've been through all this before so I can't understand why I'm struggling with it so much more a second time around.

I ended up strapping on a pair today and gave Flynn a plate full of finger foods after his usual baby food lunch. I sat and watched anxiously as he shoved an entire rice cake into his mouth in one go and then realise he'd made a mistake. I kept wanting to intervene and take half the rice cake out his mouth but I sat on my hands so I couldn't. He ended up pulling some out himself and finished the rice cake without even gagging.

I know I need to get more confident with Flynn eating solids but this fear is hard to kick for some reason. Weaning normally is a bit of nightmare but I never expected I'd ever be this afraid of it. Here's to making progress though!

Until next time,
Alli xo

Bonfire Night 2018

I wholeheartedly apologise for the delay in
my posts. This week has been an incredibly stressful one. Our financial situation is being messed with, Vala's teenage attitude causing a lot of friction in the household with her diva tantrums and pushing myself back into baby lead weaning with Flynn. Even Bonfire Night was stressful this year!
This was Flynn's first ever bonfire night and so I didn't want it to just go by without doing anything for it. Trouble is we had nothing planned and neither did anyone close to us. So I looked up where we could go watch some fireworks and turned out there was a large firework display with a bonfire, carnival rides and food vendors down at the local recreation grounds. Perfect! Or so I thought. The fireworks weren't until 9pm so we'd have plenty of time to get there despite Jordan not getting home from work until 7:10pm. I had everything planned out and thought we'd be in for a great night!

It ended up being so stressful I regretted even making the plans. We left later than I planned, struggled to find somewhere to park the car, had to walk nearly 20 minutes to the grounds and then we literally got lucky with finding a perfect viewing spot 5 minutes before the fireworks actually started. My plans of being there 45 mins before the display so we could check out the bonfire and let Vala go on some rides went out the window. The kids did however enjoy the fireworks so I guess that's the main thing. We went and checked out the bonfire despite not being able to get remotely close to it but once Flynn fell asleep in the pram and I'd had enough of the crowds, we decided it was time to call it a night. Never got around to taking Vala on any rides sadly.

So all in all, the kids seemed to enjoy the night but I certainly didn't get much enjoyment from it. Definitely going to try something much more low key next year, that's for sure.

Until next time,
Alli xo
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Friday, 2 November 2018

NaNoWriMo 2018

November is here which means a couple of things actually... My days of being 27 are coming to an end this month. Vala's birthday is also 10 days after my mine. But also... NaNoWriMo has officially started!

That's right, at 12:01am yesterday NaNoWriMo officially started and I made sure I hit the ground running. I was sitting at my pc the minute NaNo commenced and I put my fingers to my keyboard and typed out an amazing 1,280 in the space of an hour before calling it for the night. During the day I had to focus solely on the kids but when Flynn was napping and Vala was watching tv while eating lunch, I saw an opportunity and got my word count up to 3,685! But I wasn't done there; at 23:59pm my total word count was 4,226 words by the end of day one. I've not started writing yet today but I'm setting myself a target of 7,000 words by the end of day two.

Of course I have it easier than a lot of other NaNoers because I am not starting my novel from scratch. Most people start NaNo with a blank page/screen and nothing more than an idea in their head. Not me though. I've declared myself a NaNo Rebel. NaNo Rebels are people who are writing anything but a new novel. Mine technically is an old novel since I've been working on it for nearly two years. But I have started it again. I never finished my first draft so I'm not calling this one, draft two but instead draft 1.5. I'm rewriting the entire thing, making big changes as I go. The new first chapter is already substantially different to draft one's first chapter and it's not even finished yet!

I've been looking forward to NaNoWriMo for more than 6 months now and I am determined to not only reach 50,000 words, but to smash that target and go beyond it.

Wish me luck!
Until next time,
Alli xo