My kids are so unpredictable when it comes to sightseeing. On some occasions they love it and are wow’d by culture and architecture. On the other hand they spend every minute whining and moaning about aching legs and hungry tummy’s. But the reality of parenthood is that no matter where you are, kids have no reservations about playing up and “being themselves”. Of course you would never want them not to be, but there are moments and occasions where you hope that maybe themselves also means a little more decorum!!!

This weekend we have been in Scotland for a lovely weekend away with cousins, and its been both wonderful and pretty mad too. Because the reality is, whether walking around  the beautiful Streets of Edinburgh, travelling on the bus, walking over a bridge or even exploring an incredibly old and well preserved castle, kids will still climb where they shouldn’t, roll their eyes and not even try to be interested, jump around all over very old stuff, and act like little nutters in public..they will find it a great idea to all be superheroes at the same time and kick empty coffee cups at passers by (true story). And yet we look back on these ordinary moments of half term breaks away and think what a super fun day. What a special and not so ordinary moment and time together.

My pictures this week really make me laugh as they capture perfectly the ordinary moments of sightseeing and city touring with kids…the madness, the pushing the boundaries, the crazy cousinly antics. This is our ordinary – moments of fun, frustration, odd behaviour, memory making and sometimes wondering if we are mad! I love to travel with my kids and show them marvellous things, and it really does make me laugh how unpredictable they are when we do.

The Ordinary Moments
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I have discovered some new fave nappies over here in the Smith household – Little Angels supreme protection from Asda. They were gifted to me recently to try (thanks guys) and we really do love them. They move well with my wriggly 8 month baby and protect her through the night. They are thin and contain everything well which I love too. I have struggled since I had her with finding budget nappies that protect and wear as well as the leading brands, and these are mint! They are 3 for £10 (I think haha) – bargain!

In other news I have been buying in advance again for Alice’s birthday in July, doing a little “fakeaway” with the kids and making a spontaneous purchase of 2 new to us scooters!

Tk Maxx

I love TK Maxx for all kinds of random finds, but I love it more when those finds are with a big red reduced sticker! I wanted to get Alice a wooden walker for her 1st birthday, and whilst its not until mid July, when I saw this Melissa & Doug one – £49.99 to £13 how could I not buy it?? A flipping bargain! I love it!

Salad bar

My kids are obsessed with Morrisons salad bar. They love to mix it up and choose their own little salady feasts, and often it has become our quick Friday night dinner. But then I realised what a pricey affair it was becoming and decided to do my own at home! This weds and last we have had a salad bar at home for dinner for a fraction of the price, and like any serve yourself dinner, the kids LOVE it!

New Scooters

On Wednesday after school, the kids and I had a little wander into town (as we sometimes like to do) to have a quick scout around the charity shops. We happened to discover 2 fabulous scooters that are a great size for both kids now and over the next couple of years too. Adjustable, fold-able, Star wars and only 2 blumming quid!!! We weren’t really on the look out for new scooters just yet but really they came at a perfect time and the kids are loving them.

Tonight we are heading to Scotland for adventures galore, and I cannot wait for a little break! Hopefully by the time you read this we will have safely made it to our Air BnB (another bargain) and relaxing together in the Scottish boarders. It’s the start of the Easter holidays here in Leeds for us, and whilst we don’t yet have a moving date (or even exchanged anything) we are making the most of it with some wonderful adventures and time away!

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I am not by any means a Disney fanatic, but do find joy in the majority of their films and (really love) their music. My 2nd child however is…anything princess, character, dress up and cheese fest, and she’s all over it. I tried when she was little to steer her away from all of this, but you can’t change who someone is, and she is most definitely a princess at heart. She has attitude, strong will and oozes with girly twirls, sparkles and dress up! She asks weekly if she can visit the princess castle, has several more costumes on her birthday wish list and understandably went absolutely nuts this last weekend when she had the opportunity to be a princess for the night for Disney on Ice!

After a tough week, I welcomed the opportunity to hang out with Megan one on one because she is funny, kind and her attitude always makes me laugh. She lives in a little bit of a fantasy world most of the times and it is just beautiful childhood innocence which means when spending time with her you easily get pulled along into the role plays and imagination and it is guaranteed fun and smiles!

We received the tickets from the hospice, that were gifted to them. It meant that we also had a “VIP Box”, and really felt extra special. Megan was on cloud 9 kitted out as a princess for the night and lapping up the wonderful atmospheres for Disney and their magic on the ice! We shared a special moment that couldn’t have come at a better time as we missed out little Poppy on mother’s day, and it was just lovely to connect and bond over something she loves so much…the evening was spectacular from start to finish. We loved the music, the incredible talents, costumes and props. It felt so special and exciting and we mostly couldn’t hold back from singing along!

As well as a beautiful moment with my little girl right before mothers day, she taught me a great lesson when she told me “there are no best Princesses…you know…I like them all the same because they’re all Princesses the same together”! What a great lesson for life, whether mothers, daughters, sisters or women in general… there are no best Princesses amongst us, for we are all the same in our kingdoms!

I love this special little girl bursting with independence and attitude, her outlook on things and being wrapped up in our ordinary moments together of princessy, girly fun… I hope this phase lasts a long time, its so joyful.

The Ordinary Moments
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I stood with a full heart watching Ethan’s Mother’s day assembly this morning. Full of pride for my little boy and for each of his class mates, for their talents and hard work. I was full of joy for the beauty of the whole thing and for my little boy. And then one line, in one fun little song completely caught me off guard, and before I know it there it was – Grief…just around the corner! It wasn’t just that moment, its being brewing all week, but it reminded me of how fragile my heart is.

In this case the trigger was something about how mothers keep them safe (or safe and warm I can’t 100% remember) and that was it. Yes that was true, mothers do keep their children safe, and yet one of mine died. They keep them warm and yet I cannot because she isn’t here. Was I a good mother to her? Whilst I no longer blame myself for what happened, there are always the questions of did I do enough? Did I fight for her life as much as I thought I was doing? Could I have had her born alive if I had have done more?

The majority of this week I have fought it… kicked back and tried to escape the anguish of grief. I tried. I promise I tried so hard this year to be excited for a mothers day with my new baby and my gorgeous 3 living kids. I tried incredibly hard to focus on my blessings, our new chapter with our beauties and more joys. I have survived 2 already as a bereaved mother…surely it gets easier to face? But no..apparently not, and no amount of positive attitude can counteract the natural emotions of grief that come from your baby dying, and the blatant reminder of that on mothers day that once again leave you plagued with an aching heart.

Once again I am here feeling low with reflections on stillbirth and a little angry about so many things, but mainly that the anger of grief and passing time means no one will really talk about it anymore. It isn’t personal, it is an effect of grief.

I am mad that she died.

I am mad that I couldn’t save her.

I am mad that I failed as a mother.

I am mad I didn’t see or hold her alive.

I am mad that I couldn’t have more time.

I am mad that I now have to be the weird one with a dead baby.

I am mad that however much time passes, grief can always catch me off guard as its just around the corner.

I am mad that few people understand and that I still need moments to talk.

I am mad that the people that were there; that I invited into my vulnerable life and saw, and wept with us… that helped me, seem to have moved on and no longer have the energy, time or desire to listen to the emotions of a mother whose baby is never coming back.

I am mad I expect more from people when I wish I had no expectations.

I am mad with myself that I can’t control my emotions and get angry and just need to talk.

I am mad that grief changed me so much and I can’t go back because of what is in my soul.

I am mad that people think I should behave in a certain way over my loss when they have not been through this.

I am mad about so many things from Drs, to how I was treated and yet I rejoice she is ours and remember how lovely and yet heartbreaking it was to hold her briefly.

Then like always it came to a head and I was able to figure it out…why am I so mad this week? So upset again and so frustrated about all of these things still? Well this year is a glimpse of what 2 years ago was supposed to look like. This year I have 3 children and I once again live with a glimpse of what I really lost. I grieve what should have been,and how it never was.  This year I see what I missed out on and all that was taken from life when she passed away. I clearly remember I have 4 and one is missing. My would be little tot isn’t here…I am incomplete. Her beautiful baby sister is here now and they do not get to grow up together like the others do. Each day I am reminded of what they are missing and have missed and what we have and are missing too. Each day I sit at home with a baby, clueless as to what to do and a little lonely too, and I am reminded I missed a whole stage of life.

Each time I see friends and family with babies and tots together I see how life was supposed to look and I can’t help but wonder if my life would be more happening than it is right now.

I just feel like a first time mum again struggling to know my place and finding new motherhood all a little lonesome. I feel like I need to make new friends with babies because as much as I love random meet ups and catch ups, they are lovely, but they are sporadic, and the majority of the time I am a bit lonely! I walk loads or sit at home because I fear baby groups – why? because I fear the reaction of telling people she isn’t my 1st, but rather my 4th.

I really wish I could give you a glimpse into my heart. I wish you could understand how possible it is for joy and sadness to exist together. I wish you could each understand my crazy desire and need to just talk about her and how hard it is some days, and understand that having a new baby is brilliant but hasn’t made me all better… I wish you could feel how my arms are full with beautiful children and my heart is full too, and yet it feels so empty and achy too, because grief is always just around the corner. Grief triggers are just around the corner, and I am reminded far too often that being a mother in my world means I barely feel like I am doing any good as I mother through pain, grief and far too many moments of feeling like I’m not even me!

I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, I want them to take time to listen and try to connect with my heart. I don’t want pity, just patience with me and an understanding that grief is often just around the corner.

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