Monday, 20 October 2014

16 Months.

16 months! 

Logi Bear,

Your hair is getting so long, it goes wild at times!
Your finally getting a bit big for the size 4+ nappies.
You have about 14-16 teeth. 
Your new favourite word is 'wow'. 
You are always asleep when I think I need to measure you.
You have learnt some of your body parts.
You still like to communicate with pointing at things.
You love to wash your hands in the sink and run to dry them on the towel.
You do a hilarious 'gasp' face when your trains or cars crash.
You love the waves in the sea.
You love throwing stones into the sea.
You love a good wooden floor to tap your feet on.
You love running around screaming.
You love to colour and tell other people to colour.
Your still bossy, particular to old people, you can get them on the floor to play.
You love to shake your head from side to side.
You love to hold my hand.
You can use a spoon and fork a lot better.
You don't like tomatoes or melon.
You love banana and blueberries.
You can hear a packet opening from a mile off. 
You love to get cosy and giggle before the covers go on.
You love to build dens and drag everyone under with you.
You love to turn on and off the light.
You close the stair gate behind you.
You wait for the post by sitting on the bottom step.
You point out every car that goes past. 
You've been trying to say bus. 
You love watching aeroplanes in the sky until they disappear.
You love our little routines like your snack pot after swimming.
You love waiting for Dada at the window at the end of the day.
You love nosing on anyone from the window at any time of the day.
You run to the back door and hold out the shed key for Dada.
You help him push the bike back in the shed.
You are curious about everything.
You play so gently with your toys.
You copy the way people are sitting or kneeling down.
You remember where things are kept and remember games we've played.
You love to FaceTime with GG.
You are growing up so fast.

The month's are flying by so quickly, I can't believe we are approaching a year and a half. It feels like only last month that I was celebrating him turning one.

Here is LJ's 15th Month in Short clip videos!

The monthly photo's were a little more stressful this time round, but I blame Daddy. We've managed to do the last few months by ourselves and stress free but as I was working on the day this month, we did it at the weekend. I know men try and help, but don't they just make it overcomplicated in the long run? ... hehe. I do appreciate your help, Ali. 

We used the normal bargaining chip of chocolate buttons for sit still material. Dada withheld said buttons and there was a meltdown. I'm all for discipline but there's a time and a place and it's not when I'm trying to get the monthly photo.

Plus this boy sees ALL. He know's your game. You can't hide anything. (Not even your mummy chocolate treat that you want to consume in the corner.)

We eventually got there, although I didn't have many clear photos on my DSLR, but I got one and that's all I need. (She says through the tears)

If you can see stratches around his neck, fear not, we don't make him wear a cat scarf. He does and always has suffered from eczema and sometimes it flares up and now he's older, he scratches it before we can stop him. (and comes with various rashes that make me crazy paranoid 'it's meningitis, let me roll a shot glass over it to check' mummy.)

So according to my weekly age related e-mails, my 'baby' is officially a 'toddler' now. They tell me things like 'they may start to climb' (I find him on the windowsill at regular intervals) and 'they may start to run' (He's practically flying and mummy can't keep up) and tell me he may get frustrated with things (he does) and remember to have some mummy me time (You've got to be kidding me). 

I'm enjoying this whole learning words stage and learning body parts and copying everything (OK, that bit is a bit scary). I'm still a little in disbelief that I have a 16 month old. When I ever imagined myself having a baby, it was just that, I could imagine myself with a baby but somehow can't imagine myself with a 5 year old. It's all a bit crazy, you seem to spend the first part of your babies life with lots of visitors, old people peering in your pram, googling everything (OK, maybe that doesn't stop) and discussing how much your baby weighs. Then suddenly you have a toddler and life just goes on and you fit everything around them and them around you and it seems like it's been that way forever. It's not a bad thing, but some days I miss meeting someone in Costa and enjoying a catch up drink while they cuddle my sleeping (OK, it's hard to remember if he ever did) newborn and discussing what maternity leave is like (I miss it, but not the lack of money) and how I'm getting on with motherhood. Now I still see friends regularly, but we have our conversations running between rooms or climbing under soft play and drink cold cups of tea while throwing more snack food into our toddler's hands to keep them occupied. 

I guess what I'm saying is life seems to speed up more. It goes at toddler pace, which is actually rather fast if you've ever seen a mum dashing after her toddler, heading towards an open door.

We enjoyed our first weekend with our 16 month old by having it very family based.

As the south-east was enjoying some particular warm weather for a mid October weekend, we visited our local seaside and enjoyed running on the beach, throwing stones in the sea and watching LJ's Grandad fly a kite.

LJ ran from person to person, enjoying various different fun activities. I love to hear him laugh and say 'wow' and run around babbling. 

We even snuck in a rare family photo, even though LJ had spotted a stone he wanted and was a wriggler. I think we all love it by the sea, I can't imagine not living close by to the seaside and being able to visit in all weathers and hear the waves crash on the sand. We don't know if LJ genuinely loves the sea, or maybe he's listened to the white noise sound too much, but he always seems happy!

We bought a baby bike seat off a friend mid-way through the Summer and used it once and then haven't had a chance to get back out again. We thought we'd take the opportunity to go on a late afternoon bike ride over some local walking land. LJ took some encouragement this time about getting in the bike seat and wearing the helmet, but as soon as we were moving he was fine. He kept leaning out to look behind at me (properly struggling). 

The view was beautiful and I wanted to stop (Instagram quality photo opportunities) but Ali was concerned we wouldn't get LJ back in the seat so soon, so we carried on for a bit until we had a little break in the wooded area.

We even tried to sneak in a mummy and LJ photo, but as you can see, it's a bit blurry, he's got no time!

We hit the pet shop for a visit on the Saturday, LJ loved running between all the animals and saying 'Wow' and squealing in excitement. The bunnies seemed to love him, or maybe they thought he was one of them, there was a lot of bouncing going on.

We're lucky to still have bunnies after ours escaped earlier in the week. One of my pet peeves is that Ali always leaves cupboards open after he's been in them, well you can guess what happened. Turns out the bunnies had a lovely 3 hours roaming the garden and the street and being fed carrots by the neighbours. My dad ended up running around the street and herding them back to their hutch, luckily safe and sound because there is a LOT of cats around here. 

I couldn't resist getting in the Christmas spirit. I LOVE Tesco clothing for their £2-£3 novelty tops. I think LJ has had all holiday seasons now! I'm planning a BIG blog post on my baby clothes loves and tips, it's in the making, however I keep getting distracted when searching for baby LJ pictures of his clothes because I end up sitting there looking through all of them. 

Like baby's first halloween. (Top also from Tesco, 2013)

I think when you have children, all the holiday seasons get exciting all over again. Last year, we got a pumpkin and attempted to draw round LJ's hands and feet to carve out.

It didn't go exactly how I imagined it, or maybe we didn't have the right tools, but it was fun. LJ sat in his Bumbo on the table and watched us as we scooped out the pumpkin and cut around the drawings. 

I stupidly thought we'd bought a big enough pumpkin to be able to sit him in it for a photo. Now I don't know if I was crazy to think that my baby was that small, or that the pumpkin was that big, short story - he didn't fit.

He also didn't quite sit yet, so overall, another one of those 'photo ideas' that turns out nothing like how I saw it on Pinterest imagined it. We had fun though! That's what matters.

This year I feel like I'm missing out a bit, I have work on Halloween and then I'm going straight out to my work Halloween party. (I'm actually going OUT OUT on a halloween night!) So I'm sad that I'll miss Halloween fun with LJ, but I have the day off before due to covering my mum on holiday, so we'll have fun then! 

Next year when I have my own house... (A phase I feel like I say all the time, but don't quite believe) then I'm going to go FULL OUT for Halloween fun (Ok, slightly toned down British style, but all the same). 

I did come home from overtime to find LJ had made me this little pumpkin at his day with his childminder. I loved it! It's great to find crafted goods that I wasn't involved with. Yes, I will be that mum that keeps all the artwork and I'm not even worried because I've got idea's pinned on Pinterest to deal with that! 

So we had a lovely family weekend, except for the fact that LJ was worse than a newborn both nights and I got about 3 hours sleep total all weekend. This photo was after 4 hours of awake time and 3 room changes, I finally nodded off and woke suddenly thinking where is he!? #whateverscomfortable 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Third Quarter Review

So, this is the third quarter review of the new years resolutions I made in the original post of this blog at the start of 2014. The first review in March 2014 can be read here. The second review in June 2014 can be read here

First off, this post is going to look like I've not achieved much and I'd just like to say, I'm okay with that. Funnily enough, what doesn't feature on my new years resolutions is 9. Get through a year of motherhood and 10. Be a good mum. 

I don't know why I haven't got any baby related- child upbringing resolutions. It's maybe the most important one I should have, and maybe the reason why some of the others aren't being done, so again, I'm okay with that.

Also, this song.

I just shake it off! 

If you're having a bad day, turn this up and just SHAKE IT OFF. 

1. learn to drive
This is about as much driving as we've got.

This still hasn't made it's way to the top of my priorities list. I can still make do with my own two legs and public transport. Oh and I got a bike on the bike to work scheme and I now bike the 3.8 miles to and from work, it takes 20 minutes each way and that's much faster than any car in the town traffic. 

2. pass my Certificate in financial planning exam for work
I haven't passed.

I was holding off on writing this post in the hope that I would pass my re-sit this last week, but I didn't. It costs a lot to re-take the exam, so it's having to go on the back burner for the time being, cos you know, I don't own a house yet. 

3. complete some pinterest projects
I'd say less completing projects and more pinning new projects. We are full steam ahead on saving for house, so less so on fun projects around the home that isn't even ours. 

The link to my Pinterest is here

I'm totally addicted to it. I just went to find the link to add here, and 10 minutes later I'm now continuing this post. I pinned 5 new things in that time. Not to mention the 20 minutes I spent before pretending I was 'shopping' by pinning baby boy clothes from Zara to my baby boy clothes loves board

So I have a new board called 'room mods'. It's basically a board full of idea's to use everyday items or furniture and use them for another or better purpose. 

One of my favourite's is the IKEA knife magnetic rack for take n play trains... 

I wouldn't use them to store ALL of his trains, because that would be wall overload, but maybe have a couple of strips to store 8 or so, like the picture.

Another one I'm going to do once LJ has his new room is spice racks behind the door for books. We already use the photo frame holders for his 'tearable' books in his room, for bedtime reading. They are up high so that they don't come to any damage. I like this idea for some of the hard back books that we might want to keep upstairs. (Currently, all his hard back books are stored downstairs, but they are overflowing and we haven't even got to Christmas). 

One for our future bedroom is the three ikea side tables stacked.

I like that you have everything accessible and it would HOPEFULLY decrease my ability to shove everything in a draw and forget about it. (Although I like the draw idea next to it)

Finally, as I have got to that age where I'm prepared with such things as keeping a stock of wrapping paper for any occasion, the below idea for keeping them all together is genius!

I've seen this idea pinned a few times and people have even attached them to the back of a downstairs cupboard door, so they are hidden but not taking up valuable wall space.

So lots more projects to add to the list, but not a lot completed. 

I decided to move the name letters in LJ's room, mainly because I wasn't happy with their location and also because they kept falling off the wall and waking him up. The original project is written up here

I also finally got round to doing the hand and foot mould frame kit that my friend got me for my baby shower. Firstly, I thought, let's wait until he can open his little fist for a hand print. Then we moved, then I packed it away, then suddenly he's one and I'm boarding on not fitting the foot print in the frame. It's done, it looks lovely but after two months of asking Ali to fix it to the wall, it's still sitting propped up in LJ's room. So I'll wait to share that one. 

4. Write a journal entry in my new notebook blog entry for every day of 2014.

Always an ambitious one. I'm quite happy if I get more than one blog post done a month at the moment. My friend Soph has a lovely 5 year journal that leaves a couple of lines for each day, I'm thinking of finding one like this and seeing if I can at least manage to write what I did that day and if it was a good one. 

Because quite frankly, sometimes people ask me what I did yesterday and I DON'T REMEMBER. 

I do have a new app to recommend! My friend Helen linked it to me on Facebook and it's amazing! It's called Lifecake.

You can search for it in the app store, but if you give me a shout first with your e-mail address, I'll send you an invite link and we'll both get an extra 1GB storage space. (let's face it, I'm gonna need it!)

The idea is you can upload your baby photos to the app, and after telling it what your baby's date of birth is, it uses the timestamp on the photos to organise them for you. You can then invite your partner to be a contributor and they can upload photos (Great if you have a partner who takes photos and THEY NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY). You can then invite family members or friends via e-mail to view the timeline. It's great for us because we have some family who don't use Facebook (I know, I know) and then they can see the daily photos without me having to e-mail spam them. 

It also has a fun feature where you can shake the phone and you get an adorable slide show of random photos you have uploaded.

Like 10 month old LJ.

You can also hold down on the app and flip through any of the months of your baby's life to easily access a photo from that time. 

5. Learn how to use my new DSLR camera.

I can't say I've learnt anything 'new' since the last review. I'm still playing around with the manual settings when I have the time, usually while LJ is eating. 

I'm not sure if it's because sometimes I've got my contacts in and other times I have my glasses on, but I find it quite hard to get the focus right when I look through the viewfinder. I'm properly doing something wrong, I think I just need to play with it more. 

6. save save save. 

It all goes so well and then you have something like June birthday season or Christmas incoming. I can't wait for Christmas this year, LJ is going to love it! He'll love everything from the lights, to the tree, to the decorations, to the wrapping paper, to the presents. So understandably we want to spoil him (within reasonable means) and due to our excitement (and my inability to resist a sale item) we have already got all his Christmas presents.

I'm quite proud of the bargains and deals we have got along the way. Such deals include a Mega Blocks Thomas set reduced to £10 from £40. The use of our Tesco double up club card points to get a Thomas Trackmaster train and track and some spare take and play track for £2.99. A happy land football set half price to £7 and good deals on Osbourne books via a book party. I don't think we paid normal price for any item and my biggest problem left before Christmas is what is Santa giving and what are we giving, out of the presents we've got. Stress reduced!

The boring part of course is organising the rest of the Christmas Presents for adults! Who am I kidding, I even love that part! I've stored the presents so far in the draw, mainly because I love a good festive wrapping session by the Christmas tree with some top 40 Christmas tunes on the TV. 

I've even got one of Ali's presents! He's one of those Christmas babies, so I have to work out what to get him x2. 

In order to fund Christmas, I'm putting in all the hours I can in overtime at work. This does mean my mummy guilt levels will and have already risen. I was already doing one night of overtime and now i'll be doing three. I just have to think that even though I basically see my child for one hour in the morning (an early hour at that), that I am doing it for him and it'll only be temporary.  

In terms of house saving, we're still plodding along. House prices continue to rise and the dream feels further away than ever, but maybe it's because we've been living one year in the 3G household and that's all we had planned on. Now it's obvious it will be longer (but not too much longer dad!) and the new direction is before LJ's second birthday next year - June 2015). 

7. Get media organised.

This one I'm actually doing ok on! I don't know whether that's because my Mac pops up and says 'You haven't backed up in x days' or whether I'm up to date on doing LJ's monthly videos and therefore to make my life easier, it helps if I've backed up all his photos and videos to the files on my back-up HD. 

I enjoy the monthly video editing and even though the months seem to creep up so quickly, It's lovely to see everything we have done with him in the last month and all the new things he's learned.

8. Video everyday.

I'm keeping true to this one as well, even if it's just 4 seconds of him sleeping with his legs up in the air. It's the little things I want to remember and it's all I need for my monthly videos. 

Things like feeding the bunnies, which LJ LOVES doing at the moment, are lovely to have on film, we can show him when he's 8 and less excited about going out to feed the bunnies. 

We will remember when he learnt the cool new things he does (like jumping!) as we have a video timestamp for it all. 

We can also look back and remember how little he was when he first was walking and discovering things like wet sand. 

So the next review will be just before the New Year (who am I kidding, it will come after, but refer to before). I know i'm unlikely to complete all of my NY resolutions but they were guidance points to what I thought I wanted to achieve this year. In reality, what I want to achieve has changed a lot over the year. Things have shifted priority and my main focus is and always will be bringing up my toddler baby. 


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A year in the 3G Household.

What's a 3G household you say? 

I didn't realise it had a 'name' either, until I came across this article. 

Basically, it's when 3 generations of family live under one roof. Most commonly, when the middle generation, for example me, move BACK in with the parents and we bring along our baby. 

To give a little back story of why I find myself in this situation, I will re-cap short and sweet.

2007 - Alistair finishes University and moves back home, he picks up a part time job back at this old workplace. I finish Sixth form, leave said same part time job that Alistair picks up and go off to University. 

2008 - I come home to work over the Christmas Break, I meet geeky new guy at workplace. I come home again over Summer Break and somehow find myself round geeky guys watching a programme about a serial killer named Dexter. I fall for geeky guy who loves good guy serial killers. We make decision that even though I have two years left at University 3 hours away, and that we have both been hurt by long distance relationships in the past, we will make a go of it. 

2009 - Spend the year going back up and down the country to try and see each other when possible. I join Ultimate Frisbee and sometimes we meet half way at the same tournament. I continue to hate being at university but as i'm half way through, stick it out.

2010 - I graduate University and finally Ali and I are back in the same town. I get a different job in retail and we end up never seeing each other. 

2011 - We I decide that in order to save our relationship, we should move out and find a place to rent. Going between parents houses and working different shifts makes it impossible to find a happy medium. We move out in the February to our own rented place, we love it. Ali gets a new 9-5 mon-fri job and we continue to have no days off together. 

2012 - I continue to go on about wanting a baby. I've accepted i'm not going to get a marriage proposal anytime soon, so continue to pester. Meantime, we realise that never having a day off together is not working and I'm ready to have a meltdown in the retail industry. I find myself a new 9-5 mon-fri job and love it. After talking to various friend couples, I find out they have all been trying to have a baby for 8 months plus. I panic, baby conversation goes into overdrive, we decide to 'see what happens'. I get pregnant in the first month, feel very guilty about still new job situation, work very hard to prove I'm sorry. 

2013 - LJ is born. We are all very happy in our little rented house, we have accepted we will never own our own property, but can't do anything about it. Meanwhile, our managing agents sell all managed properties to alternative company and they don't send out renewal leases. I discover two friends with babies currently live with their parents while they save for a house deposit. I get crazy idea that this might be an option, I run idea past my dad, who crazily agrees to have me, Ali and LJ move back in with him for a year. We give one month's notice on house lease that was never renewed and leave our little home. 

2014 - We live with dad for a year and housing prices increase and we still don't have enough money to move out. Apologise for promise of 'a year' and hope we can extend our stay while we work out where to find a gold mine. 

Ok, so it wasn't short and sweet. That might have gone something along the lines of - Impatient girl who never wanted to go to uni and only wanted to have babies and is rubbish with her money wants everything immediately. 

I know, I know. You might all be thinking, it's my own fault, yes most of it is, but I wouldn't change having LJ for the world and I don't think mine and Ali's relationship could have bared the strains of not seeing each other for any more years, unless we had moved out when we did. 

My workplace have a social media thing going on at the moment, it's what would you tell your younger self? I laugh every time I see the poster, there is a lot of things I would tell my younger self. Don't bother with University would be the first. I was part of the sixth form era that were basically forced to write out a university application and we mostly picked things we liked doing or that looked cool. I didn't really think about future jobs at all, well that's a lie, I was brainwashed into thinking you wouldn't get a job if you didn't have a degree. Well, guess what, everyone has a bloody degree these days. In fact, I think at one point, my retail workplace all held degrees, and we all had returned to the SAME DAMN JOB WE LEFT TO GO TO UNIVERSITY. I'm not going to say I 'wasted' 3 years of my life at Uni, I'm guessing I wouldn't be the person I am today without it. I'm talking about the life experience of course, not the university studying. Let's just say, it was some of the most expensive life experience I was going to earn. I just wish that I had got a full time job at 18 and had a little pot of disposable income saved up somewhere.

Another may be that you don't realise how good you have it at your parents house when you are young. Most of the time you aren't paying rent, you don't have to worry about bills, you will be doing only a share of the overall housework and you are likely to be living in a better house than you would afford on your own, in a nicer area too. Yes I know, if you've moved away to University and then moved back, the last thing you want is your dad asking you when your coming home that night and your mum hoovering outside your room in the morning. Younger self, I wish you'd stuck it out a little longer but then I realise you never saw your boyfriend because you both finished work at ridiculous o'clock and had opposite days off.

Finally I expect you think I'd tell my younger self to not have a baby until I had enough money to afford a house. Well no, my biggest fear has always been that I wouldn't be able to have babies and I wanted to be sure that if this was going to be the case, I knew about it early enough to do something about it. Having a family is all I've ever aspired to, I basically should have been born into the 1930s. I'm very lucky that we didn't have any problems, I knew we had enough to sustain a standard of living, and therefore we were ready for a baby because we had accepted we would rent and that was that. Now that we are saving for a house, I know we need to wait until we are in the right place to have another, or rather for me to start pleading with Ali for us to have another. 

So it's been a year since my lovely dad let us move back in with him and my sister, to my old family home. We had considered ourselves part of the 'Generation Rent' and that we would properly never own our own home, and be paying out dead money to landlords. Another article I read (these things just keep coming up on my internet pages, like the internet KNOWS, well it does now.) that call us the 'clipped wing' generation, because we struggle to leave home and get on the housing ladder. I know this is not true for everyone, I have a lot of friends that have recently bought their own houses (The higher % of them didn't go to uni!) but we have all been around our mid 20s. Our parents were married with two kids by that time, it's a different time for sure.

So a year ago, we took photos for LJ of his first little nursery, the house we brought him home to and he enjoyed the first 3 and half months of his life in.

I took photos of how i'd set up his nursery, the months I spent planning the little details, or adapting ideas i'd had forever on how I wanted my nursery to look.

 I was sad when our lovely wall details didn't come off the wall in one and had to be thrown out. I figured once we have our own home, I will be able to do whatever I like to the walls of his room and make up for it.

A benefit of moving would mean that I would get to decorate his room all over again, except I would be limited in some aspects as eventually it would be my brother's old room that LJ would have back at my dads. 

I'm sad that I never got to see LJ play in his room and enjoy the big floor space, I just home that I can give him a really awesome room in the house we eventually find.

We will always appreciate my dad taking us all back in to his house and having to put up with an explosion of baby items intruding his home once again. He pretty much let us do whatever we needed to do in the rooms to accommodate us. His only request was that our lovely house rabbits moved outside. While this made us sad, we didn't think it was such a bad idea anyway. House rabbits can be quite high maintenance if you don't want your house smelling like a farm everyday, it was becoming quite the challenge to keep them clean and the house clean and be faced with the future of the baby actually moving around in the same space.

So we made sure they had the best we could afford and we moved them outside. Luckily, it was the end of September and not too cold, they had time to adjust to the colder weather and grow their fur accordingly. We purchased the wind and rain cover for the hutch and always made sure they were warm enough. They are very happy outside and we open the bottom hutch up to let them run around. They aren't too sure about dad's artificial grass though! 

So we packed up our little house, realising how much stuff we would have to store in the meantime (Thanks various family and friends for storing!) and said goodbye to the end of this chapter. 

Oh wait, I skipped the advice bit about not moving when you have a 3 month old that requires to be held every 10 minutes. Yeah, avoid that if you can, in fact I remember reading the top 10 things not to do when you have a newborn, one of them was moving. Oh well, since when did I do anything the right way round?

Let's not forget that time I had to FaceTime my boob loving bottle refusing baby because he couldn't be away from his mama for a few hours. It was expressed milk but he wasn't having any of it. My mum had to actually drive me to Ali's parents so I could feed him. This slows down cleaning and moving considerably. He even gave me the quivering bottom lip cry just after this screenshot. I raced my boobs round there pronto!

So we made it. It was too late for dad to back out now, he was stuck with us, for a year. Good job we didn't sign anything, he could be stuck with us for longer now. 

Here are a few of the positives and changes of being a 3G household.

1. LJ lives with Grandad. He has a built in babysitter most of the time. This is great for their relationship, it's great when I need to just run some washing upstairs or put on my make up in peace. It was great when I had a needy baby that wouldn't just be left to kick about in a cot while I showered. 

LJ was a bit weary of Grandad when he first moved in, he soon warmed to him and now he waits outside his door shouting 'Grandad' in the mornings. 

This video cracks me up every time.

My dad works from home, so it's lovely having an extra pair of hands about most of the time. I'll most defiantly have a shock if I had another baby, although I would be able to shower with the door open and just have my children run wild. 

2. I get to live back where I grew up, I get to walk LJ through the same woodland areas and quiet roads that I walked through. Somewhere we would unlikely live if we had our own home. 

One of the first things we noticed was the quiet. LJ had a monitor that goes off every time there is a new sound in the room. At our house, it used to go off all the time, because a motorbike would go by or loud people hanging outside. The most we get here is the odd cat fight in the early hours.

The downside to the move is that we no longer lived 10 minutes from the town centre. At the time of the move I was still doing my buggy workout sessions, so I now had to get the bus two times a week, equaling an extra £7.60 in bus fare. I kept this up until the end of January, when I stopped because I was returning to work. 

I missed the park, I used to take LJ for a walk when he wouldn't settle, or I needed to get out of the house. 

It did however help with my baby clothes shopping addiction. I would no longer just end up in town buying something, I'd just end up at the local supermarket instead.

3. I enjoyed a bigger living space, warmer too.

I loved the cosier feel of the living room and the bigger space to hang out with LJ. As the winter months rolled in, the house was always warmer than ours ever was and I certainly enjoyed watching some live TV (we never had TV in our place, we were big gamers, not so handy once you've got a baby). 

We had my old room for our bedroom and with a little adjustment, we managed to fit LJ's cot in there too. I still wanted to keep him in with us until closer to 6 months, especially as he still woke very frequently in the night.

In the meantime, we sorted my brother's old room out to be LJ's nursery. I managed to use the best of the space and current decoration to make a cosy little nursery for him.

I was able to take elements of what I had in his old nursery and adjust them to fit in this room. I made my original Logi Bear Prints for his wall and added his newborn picture in 20"  by 16" up on the wall too. We moved him just before Christmas, at 6 months, to his own room. I had a hard time of letting go and did and still do check on him a lot before I go to sleep.  

The downside of course to 3G living is that you are sharing with others. While you may leave your child's door open upstairs in your house to listen out for them or prevent risky door opening stirring, you can't in a house when people are still going up and down the stairs all evening. There have been times when door shutting or general moving about has woken LJ. He's got a lot better as he gets older, but you do have to make adjustments to how you parent based on this.

For example, I could never do 'sleep training'. Not that I particularly ever liked the idea, or was very good at it, but I also would never have been able to be consistent with it. You may well be able to leave a baby to do a bit of controlled crying at 7pm, but you certainly can't do it at 2am and 4am when you have other people sleeping in the house. You then of course can't expect baby to fall asleep on their own at 7pm, but run to them at 2am because they will wake the whole house up if you don't get there in a spilt second. Baby gets confused and nothing works, so I have always gone to him as soon as he cries, for my own sanity and the sleep of the rest of the house.

The bigger space is nice, the extra housework is not. I went from a little two bedroom terrace with one bathroom, to a four bedroom detached with 3 bathrooms. I can't believe I ever used to think it took me a long time to do the housework. I've gone from clearing up a house of two adults, to a house of 4 adults and baby. I have realised that my mother was a superhero and her level of cleanness for this house while we were growing up was amazing. I also know that i'm not her, and while I try and keep up with it all, in reality it's hard and I don't always manage and that was before I even went back to work part time. Sure the others help sometimes and will generally clear up their own messes, but I've found since I had a baby that I want everything to be clean and tidy immediately, but in reality I don't always have the time for that. I can't wait to have a smaller house again to clean. 

4. Maybe a slight downside, not a lot of people come to visit you, mainly because it's not YOUR house and especially so if your parents happen to be divorced. 

I therefore make matters worse by not being able to drive, so I have spent the vast majority of my time on various buses and walking distances. I'll tell you now, nothing will make you feel 15 again quite like having someone pick you up from your parents house because you live there and you don't drive. 

Please, when I finally have my own house, come visit, whenever you like!

This is not to say my dad isn't happy for people to come over, he's great at letting us have people round, it's just not quite the same, is it? I'm also sure it was quite hard for him to work from home the day I had mummy friends over and we had a total of 4 baby boys crying, screaming and laughing.

5. You have to rely on other people aside from your partner to be baby proofed. 

Closing stair gates behind you, keeping small items out of reach, shutting bathroom doors, locking away dangerous cleaning products, being quiet. These are all things you expect to do once you become a parent and you have a small child in your house. Now try getting everyone to do the same, when they've not lived with a small child for over 20 years or at all. Now it's not so much a problem because i'm generally always in the same room as LJ, but it's that extra thing you have to consider. 

I got scared the other day when I heard someone talking about the fact they had moved their 18 month old into a toddler bed. It made me think, what the hell would I do if I had to do that? Luckily, for now, LJ hasn't attempted to climb out, or at least he hasn't worked it out yet. However when he does and I'm forced to move him into a toddler bed, I have the stair gate dilemma. From what i've seen in other people's houses, when their toddler has been in their own bed, they have the stair gate on their door frame. I expect this is because when said toddler gets to bed stage, they also get to opening door stage. This is all well and fine if you put your toddler to bed and then you both retreat downstairs to watch TV and all is quiet upstairs. This is not an option for me, people come and go upstairs and downstairs all evening. Your other option might be to keep the stair gate on the top of the stairs and when you retreat upstairs for the night, you close it behind you and you keep your door open to listen for the pitter patter of feet in the night and all is well. This is not an option for me, we are not always the last to go to bed and I can not guarantee someone has closed that gate behind them. I also can't guarantee that said toddler wouldn't open all the doors and you'll end up with a 5am wake up call. 

So I freaked out. We need to hurry up and get our money together and find a home before I have all of these toddler issues to deal with. 

Except the housing prices have risen and we'll need about £3k more than we first thought. Added to the fact that we didn't anticipate childcare costs in our original plan budget and we are now down more on money saved each month. So i'm going to be picking up some extra overtime at work (you may not get another blog post for a while!) and we're going to try very hard to play catch up and find that house for us. 

As much as I can't wait to be back to a 2G household and living the traditional way of life and having my own house to decorate and tidy, I know that we've been very lucky to have the opportunity to live back home. LJ will certainly miss his Grandad being in the same house as him and I know Grandad will miss the early wake up calls and the toy cars under his feet. I'll have to send LJ on sleepovers to make up for it! 

When we started this journey, we really thought we could save and find a house all in a year. We were maybe expecting too much and not anticipating the costs of having a child and saving for a deposit, let alone thinking about events such as Christmas and Maternity pay. This year has felt long and fast all at the same time. I've gone from having a baby 4 month old to a toddler 15 month old and the challenges are forever changing, both with parenting and living all together. I know in the grand scheme of things, the time we spent living back as a 3G generation will seem so small compared to the life of living, but hopefully so worth it. We've had so many memories here all together, from LJ learning to roll over, to one of his first words being Grandad and Goal. I'm happy that LJ will have so many memories with Grandad, as I did with my dad. Relationships can be strained, but I think we've all done really well being in such a small space together. The most important thing is to talk and discuss. As long as everyone is aware what the set up will be, it can and does work out. We would never have been able to save this much money in a shorter time if dad hadn't let us move back here. It may have changed the way i've done things in bringing up my child, but nothing has been bad and it's just extra challenges along the way. 

I hope that this time next year I can say that we own our own home and I'm sure my dad will enjoy the peace and quiet once again, except of course when LJ comes for a sleepover. For those in 3G households, I wish you all the best in moving forward. The struggle is just part of the story. It'll all be worth it in the end, for everyone. 

I'll leave you with one of my most favourite memories from this last year, my cheeky boy.