Saturday, 22 April 2017

Can you hygge in spring?!

Last autumn we wrote a post about the buzzword at the time, hygge. It was everywhere, we even spotted it in a kale salad in Whole Foods...!

It was a Danish concept all about embracing 'coziness' - which of course was wonderful for autumn and winter, with candles, blankets, hot drinks and staying in, all very hyggelig!
But what about now spring is here?

We were discussing recently how every changing season seems bring new things to embrace - and how this can have its own version of hygge.

When I was young, summer was my favourite season - it was hot (well, sometimes, this is England after all), it was holiday season, there was no school, people were relaxed etc. Then as I got older I quickly fell in love with autumn. The flavours, the cosiness, the beautiful falling leaves, Halloween. But now, we realise that every season brings its own beautiful individualities, so we are currently in love with spring! It's pretty, the weather is a little warmer, and, in the theme of 'spring cleaning' it gives a lovely fresh new start feeling.
And this has been the starting point for embracing spring for us. We put new decorations on our celebration ring, bought new fresh scented candles, and make sure we regularly buy fresh flowers.

The days are longer, lighter and warmer, which gives a great excuse to spend more time outside.
There is nothing quite able to put a smile on your face than to go for a walk and see the changing colours of the landscape signalling spring has arrived. We love going for long walks in the park with Oskar in his sling or pram, and have loved being able to point out to him the changing colours of the trees, and the spring flowers popping up all over the place. There seems something very hyggelig about seeing sunset at the park!

We also took part in Earth Hour at the beginning of spring - it was something we had a vague idea of but hadn't taken part in before. However, we saw more information about it this year, and always keen to take part in something that looks after our planet, we decided to take part. The idea is that the world turns its lights out, for one hour, to save energy. We decided to not use lights or any electricity for the hour, which fell on Saturday 25th March at 8.30pm GMT. So after dinner we lit candles, turned everything off, and sat and talked about our how our days has gone, and sang songs to Oskar. We actually had such an enjoyable time, that we plan to do it more, and have our own regular earth hours!

As the days get longer, the landscape gets brighter and the sun shines more, spring brings with it a sense of a new lease of life. There is optimism and happiness in the air about what the year will bring, about new adventures and new beginnings just waiting to start. Spring has given us both a new sense of wellness, that the darkness of winter has gone and had been replaced with a feeling of light, contentment and peace. We have started to talk more about the summer time, where we will go and what we might do. Of course this is the first summer we will have as a family of 3, and there is so much we want Oskar to see and do, to experience and enjoy as we do. Spring marks the beginning of all of that, and we are so excited!

So although the closest translation of hygge is 'cosiness', there is no actual translation. And as the Danes point out, it is an attitude to life that is meant to be felt, not described. The true meaning of hygge isn't a hot chocolate in front of the fire, but that feeling you get when you feel 'at home'. It's feelings of connection, community, well being, of sanctuary, closeness and belonging. 
So buy some flowers, get outside, enjoy the warmth and the light - happy spring!

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Monday, 17 April 2017

Easter 2017 diary

As we mentioned in our last post, we are really enjoying this year of 'firsts' with our little one. This weekend, we had another, as it was our first family Easter - we were lucky on two counts, as Sarah had lots of time off work, and the sun was shining!

We have recently became National Trust members - something we had been meaning to do for a long time, but felt a newborn baby would have stopped us using the membership to its full potential. So we spent Easter Saturday using it for the first time, and had a day out at a nearby manor house and park. We saw deer, sheep and lambs, waterfalls and beautiful spring flowers!

As it was such a beautiful day we stopped for coffee -we had bought along our new purchase from Babipur, a Close Parent play mat. It's basically a multi purpose playmat that's soft on one side and waterproof on the other, and is great for Oskar playing on outside or indoors, and as a picnic blanket. It folds up really small so we are hoping that along with our new National Trust membership, it's something we will be using a lot on the coming warmer weather.

Easter Sunday was another lovely sunny day, which gave us another welcome chance to spend a lot of the day outdoors. We had set up our Grimms celebration ring just in case we had to bring spring indoors though! The wooden decorations are from Grimms and Grapat, all from Babipur, and we added wooden letters and glittery eggs from The Works. We love adapting our celebration ring and think it will be a lovely tradition for Oskar as he gets older.

Easter seems to have grown in popularity over the past few years, and although we aren't really sure on the concept of 'Easter presents;, as Oskar is obviously too young for a chocolate egg, we got him a few Easter themed toys to mark the occasion instead.

Oskar definitely goes through stages with play, and loves throwing and sorting at the moment, so the wooden Grimms eggs from Babipur were perfect, even if they did get launched across the garden a few times!

We saw a few 'my first Easter' tshirts in the shops, but they oddly all seemed to feature chocolate, even if the little baby sizes! So we went for this 'hatched by two chicks' one, which was still spring themed, and everyone loved!

We did however, make sure there was lots of chocolate for mummies though! 

We really enjoyed celebrating Easter this year - although we are not Christian, as we have written about previously, Easter has interesting, non Christian roots (as The Guardian also explains here.)
To us it symbolises fresh new beginnings, the world coming back to life, and enjoying spending time outdoors. Oh ok, and chocolate. Hope you had a wonderful Easter too! 

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

1sts - Mother's Day & Lauren's birthday as a mum!

The past few weeks bought a couple of firsts in mummyhood for us - our first Mother's Day, and Lauren's first birthday as a mummy! Milestones seem to have a new feeling to them when you are parents, so we are really enjoying ths year of 'firsts'.

Mothers Day

We spent the first part of our Mothers Day weekend introducing Oskar to paint. We helped him to make a canvas for us, and painted hearts for both our mums, using baby friendly paint from Babipur. A very messy success! It certainly kept all three of us entertained, and we got some lovely keepsakes too! 

We were happy to see numerous businesses remembering that some people have two mums, with Sainsbury's, Clintons and Card Factory all stocking Mother's Day cards for two mum families. Oskar also made cards with Lauren at his baby group, who ensured they got to make two cards, one for each of us.
We opened cards from each other on Mother's Day morning, and our mums arranged a card and flowers from Oskar too!
We were interested to see how other two mum families celebrate Mothers Day, and saw a few choosing to have a day of the weekend each, so that they both got to be pampered! This is an option we may do when Oskar is a bit older, although it was fun celebrating together.

We spent the rest of the day visiting Sarah's family for lunch and a walk in Sutton Park, and Lauren's family for a walk around Lichfield and then dinner. It was strange but lovely to be spending time with our own mums, whilst now being mums ourselves! 

Lauren's 31st birthday

On 1st April it was Lauren's 31st birthday! Despite it being Lauren's first birthday as a mum, I still wanted to make sure she felt special! So she came downstairs to some presents from Joules, The White Company and a few of her other favourite brands. I also set up our celebration ring with a '31'! 

We then headed out for breakfast to the city centre branch of one of our favourite local cafes, and then drove over to see Lauren's family for tea and cake. 

The next day was a Sunday, which we decided would be a second birthday if you will, and also a day where we celebrated as just the three of us. 

The weather was beautiful, so we drove to a nearby garden, and had a beautiful wander around, stopping to sit amongst hundreds of daffodils, spotting fairy sculptures and wandering past giant dandelions and toadstools - our kind of place! 

Finally, after a day of walking in the sunshine, we stopped off for lunch of veggies, hummus, bread, and more importantly, non alcoholic cocktails! (Oskar just stuck to the crudités!)

The whole weekend was peaceful, beautiful and full of love, just like any good weekend is with the 3 of us. Of course the whole weekend was made extra special with the addition of the little present she has dreamt of for years, our gorgeous little boy.

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

9 months of Oskar

Oskar turned 10 months old yesterday but we have only just found the time to get this post published. I honestly don't know where the days go with a baby!
It has been 3 months since we wrote a post catching up on Oskar, and as he is now 3/4 of a year old it seems a very good time to write another. Before long he will be one, and we want to remember him at each beautiful stage, for all that it brings.
The phrase "the days are long but the years are short" is often in my head these days. Some days are long and difficult as I'm sure they are for all parents at one stage or another, but the weeks whizz by, and with each week that passes brings our little boy more skills, more sounds, more confidence. And with it we fall more and more in love with him. I honestly can't remember life without him. Not that I'd want to, he has changed us, he has completed us, he has given us a new direction in life, and he is our little dream come true.

Since 6 months he has changed and grown and looks so much more like a little boy now than the tiny newborn we once cradled in our arms. He has four teeth, two on the top and bottom, gorgeous whispy golden hair that is beginning to form little waves. He wears some 6-9 and some 9-12 clothes, and when we last weighed him was around 20lb.

Oskar loves his voice, he rarely shuts up all day! He has quite distinct sounds that continue to evolve and expand, and although he is too young to be saying words yet, you can hear that the beginning of the words are already there. "Oh" when he sees Willow, "mama" when he wants one of us, "mmmu" when he wants milk. He is learning to sign too, and can ask for milk when he wants it, and reaches his arms out to be picked up. He can tell us when he wants more, and when he's finished, and there's a difference in the way he asks for milk, food or a drink (of water).
He is probably going to follow his mummies and be very chatty but not particularly active! He has been sitting unaided since 5.5 months but shows no sign of moving yet. He still hates being on his tummy and protests if we even try! But will stand holding on to things for a while if we help him up. He is far more interested in his fine motor skills - he can clap, wave and pick up objects that aren't in easy reach. His absolute favourite thing to do at the moment is throw. He learnt to throw balls about a month or so ago, and now throws everything in sight! He loves to sit and play 'catch' with us. His skills are evolving all the time and it's incredible and beautiful to watch. He loves turning pages of books, he loves emptying things out of containers and then dropping it all back in again, he loves pulling things up to look under them, putting things over his head and pulling them back off, and he loves shaking and banging things to hear what sounds they make.

His favourite activities at the moment apart from playing catch are reading books, sitting on the floor and exploring his treasure baskets, going for walks in the sling and going in the bath. Oskar really really does not like having his clothes or nappy changed, going in to his car seat (he's fine once in, it's the going in he complains about!) or being put it to his sleep bag (he knows bed time is coming!).
Weaning continues to go well, we are so lucky that our tiny boy loves food so much! He eats 3 meals a day and sometimes fits in an afternoon snack too. This means that very recently he has started to drop breastfeeds. I honestly couldn't tell you how often he normally feeds, as it really is just on demand, but i have noticed the last few weeks that he has only wanted maybe 3 feeds between waking in the morning and feeding to sleep at night. A far cry from the half hourly deeds of his newborn days! His favourite foods are broccoli, paneer, almond butter toast, passion fruit and yoghurt. But really, he will eat anything and everything apart from porridge or cereal!

And finally, the holy grail for parents, sleep! Well i can't say Oskar is an amazing sleeper but he is a baby so we'll let him off! I breastfeed him to sleep at around 8pm and he sleeps for 12 hours, waking anywhere from 2 to 22 times in the night for a cuddle or some more milk. The easiest way to describe it is that he dream feeds, because he doesn't wake up fully, he just does this gorgeous little sleepy movement where he searches for me with his arms outstretched and his mouth open! I love it so much! He still spends some of the night in his attached co-sleeper cot and some of the night in bed with us. We figure while he is still feeding a lot in the night this is the easiest way, and i think I'll miss him a lot when we make the full time move to his room! During the day he is hovering between three shorter naps (25 mins!) and two longer ones (45 mins!) He isn't the best at napping but never really has been, and it just makes him, well, him! He prefers to sleep in my arms and absolutely won't sleep alone, unless i feed him lying down and then ninja roll away when he's asleep (and then he wakes up 5 minutes later!). We are really relaxed on the sleep front, as we are with most things in life. We realise that sleep is largely developmental, and that eventually all children are happy to sleep alone, and sleep through the night. But for now we will just enjoy his sleepy snuggles and keep drinking a lot of coffee!

Our tiny boy smiles from the moment he wakes up to the moment he falls back to sleep. People stop us in the street to comment on his smile, or his eyes, and ask if he's always so happy. The truth is he is, yes. He has the most beautiful, peaceful, happy personality and is just a joy to be around. Thank you for 9 incredible months Oskar, you are our whole world, i cant wait to see what the last quarter of your first year brings you.

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