Remember Who You Are – Coffee For Your Heart

This post is a response to the prompt given by Holley Gerth this week.

And boy, can I relate to it! The last nine weeks have been a HUGE emotional roller coaster, with the blessing of a new baby being replaced by the terror of baby reflux and then the settling into the realisation that this too, no matter how tough it is, shall pass…

And yes, just like in the prompt, I do struggle to dissociate myself from the circumstances. Yes, indeed, I am the mother of a second reflux baby, I have PND, once again and  I did need mum’s help, just like last time…

BUT, in the same time, I am myself, Oana, a person who loves reading and blogging, who is passionate about social causes, who likes pizza and going out for a good cup of coffee and a strawberry and white chocolate bun.

I make mistakes, just like anyone, but have learned to live with the consequences.

I would love to make this blog do even better and am in the passive process of thinking it through and deciding what I could do to see it soar to the top.

I love holidays when spent with the people I love and in a warm and pleasant environment.

And most of all, I am God’s daughter, living with the active expectation of seeing Him intervene in our circumstances, in His own time and according to His will. Until then, all I can do is enjoy every moment I can, take every day as it comes and TRUST that He will not let me get overwhelmed or overtired again…What else could I do?

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Hotel Chocolat: Easter Range Review

So we got very lucky and we were approached by Hotel Chocolat with the request to review some of their Easter range products, to the delight of my Emma, who is an absolute chocolate addict!

If you have lived somewhere in isolation and don’t know much about Hotel Chocolat, let me give you a brief introduction: it is a small enterprise that started 20 years ago out of passion for quality and ethics. Their chocolate is home-grown, so to say, by small producers in Saint-Lucia and Ghana. The business has slowly but steadily expanded to comprise its own unique plantation hotel and restaurant and has reached the States from 2011. Their motto is: “less sugar, more cocoa” which reassures me, as the mother of an avid consumer of chocolate :-)

The Easter range has great options for every taste and budget.

I was seriously tempted by their Easter Pick Me Up Gift Bag as it offers a selection of 6 White Praline Bunnies, 6 Salted Caramel Egglets, 4 Raspberry Zinger Egglets. For a lover of white chocolate and for sharing with friends and family, this would have been ideal!

easter-pick-me-up-2014Another great temptation was the Splat Egg Caramel, as I love caramel as well :-)

the-splat-caramel-chocolate-easter-eggBut in the end, I decided to please Emma and went for the Big City Easter Bunny as it was the most appropriate selection for a child her age. Needless to say, it was devoured in less than half an hour and I had a very pleased little girl int he house for the rest of the afternoon :-)big-city-easter-bunnySo if you are struggling to find a Mothers’ Day or an Easter present for your loved ones, why don’t you head over to Hotel Chocolat‘s website to face the temptation yourself  check out their range?

Word of the week: Upheaval

I have been praising my older one for being so accepting and understanding of the baby situation. But I suppose everything and everyone has a limit and she reached her acceptance and tolerance level this week.

It didn’t happen all of a sudden. The tell-tale signs had been there: clinginess when going somewhere; unexplained tears and moods. But at the beginning of the week they took a turn for the worse with her waking up at 5.30 on Monday and telling us she didn’t want to go either to playgroup nor to the childminder. On Tuesday it all culminated with floods of tears on the way to the nursery and her telling me: “I want to hide, mummy…so you can’t find me…and send me to the childminder…but you can find me so easily…”. My heart broke. Right there. I knew I had to amend this situation.

So I called the childminder and explained. Then we took time, just for the two of us, on Tuesday after playgroup. She wanted McDonald’s for a treat. And a dress for the summer. And I took her afterwards for a bun to top it all up.

She has been better but we had to give the childminder notice. I had less time to rest in the afternoons. And I had to call in the local nursery and see if they can have Georgie for a couple of afternoons a week, so I can have exclusive time with Emma.

And I have been tired. Tired of the fact that I am not enough for both my children at the moment. Tired of my imperfect solutions.

But hey, this is life, right? Nothing is perfect, all we can do is try our best!

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Living Arrows-11/52

001I think this picture sums up the last couple of weeks for us: sibling acceptance.

Emma, my love, you continue to love your brother fiercely and are ever so proud of being his older sister. You are always around when he needs changed, eager to help if he cries, offering toys or suggestions to mummy if he seems uncomfortable.

You haven’t slept very well for the past few weeks and I can’t tell if it’s your mind still processing the changes that have occurred in our family, your daddy being away last week or just the brighter days…Hope it settles soon, as you are either grumpy, tearful or a bit cheeky when you haven’t had your proper sleep…

But you have come to accept your Bica’s presence in the house and take comfort in her arms sometimes. Or spend hours “working” alongside at the kitchen table. Here is you doing your “homework”, you are so ready for school and so eager and Bica doing her crosswords.

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Georgie, the medicine you have been taking for more than two weeks now seems to have kicked in. Ever so slowly your sleep has got better and you are doing longer stretches at night and are not as unsettled during the day. But mummy still finds it a bit tough, a war of nerves, as I call it, trying to put you to sleep many, many times a day while doing everything else in the house. Good thing Bica is here and she is renowned for her patience, have no clue what we will do when she goes home at Easter. Hope you either learn to sleep through it or do without sleep…

I am linking this to the Living Arrows, as I believe as parents we are” the bows from which our children are sent forward”(Kahlil Gibran), responsible for their material, spiritual and emotional well being.

livingarrowsBrilliant Blog Posts

 

Book Giveaway: HOW TO CATCH A STAR, 10th Anniversary

HOW-TO-CATCH-A-STAR-1-HOW-TO-CATCH-A-STAR-(OLIVER-JEFFERS)

I am so honoured to have been chosen for this 10th anniversary giveaway!

First of all, because How to Catch a Star is a brilliant book, can’t believe we haven’t heard or read anything by Oliver Jeffers before! Emma absolutely loved it and so did I, so simple yet so full of optimism and hope!

Secondly, because as I found out once I did my bit of research for this post, Oliver Jeffers is from Northern Ireland, our country of residence at the moment and a place very dear to my heart!!

So, here goes: Harper Collins have kindly sent me two copies of the story, one to keep and one to give away to one lucky boy or girl! In order to win it, all you have to do is like my Facebook page (if you haven’t already) and then leave a comment letting me know you have and to whom will the book go, were you to win it. I will run the giveaway for a week and then, next Saturday, I will enter the names into a random draw and let you know via my Facebook page and Twitter. How does this sound?

I will let you now delight your ears with the sweet Northern Irish lull and learn a bit about the very quirky author of the book from the man himself!

 

Word of the week: Acceptance

Acceptance

I have missed last week’s word of the week for two main reasons: one, my struggles were pretty much the same as the week before, so pretty boring to read about the same things…Two, hubby was away for a whole week(and a day), baby kept me busy and I had little time for anything else.

But things have changed meanwhile. Although Georgie’s reflux is still here and keeps him up during the day, sometimes for hours on end and wakes me up at night, sometimes from 5 a.m., my perspective has changed. The pills I am taking must have helped to a certain degree, as have the chats I had with other mums who have had reflux babies, as has the visit with the pediatrician on Tuesday confirming we are doing all the right things for Georgie and it is now a matter of time until we will see results…

I have come to ACCEPT that this is how things are for us for now. My mum will most likely have to go back home in a couple of weeks, to look after my dad, so things will get a bit tougher without her here, my baby will still fuss and my older one will still demand my attention. But you know what? It could be worse!

I live in the hope that I will see an improvement soon, that we will sleep better at night and that, in a few days/weeks/months, things will be “normal” again for us. Until then, I try to enjoy the small things and don’t sweat the small stuff.

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Princess dreams: A Disney Costume Review

If you were to meet my Emma, you would know within five minutes that she is a girlie girl and that she LOVES Disney princesses and everything remotely connected to the subject. She even has a hierarchy of favourite Disney princesses, it involves, obviously, “Elsa and Anna, then Pocahontas, then Mulan, then Cinderella“, she would tell you.

So it came to no surprise to us when she started asking for a Cinderella dress to complete her collection. I can’t even remember when her imagination was stirred towards a new dress and the pretend play that it entails but I know she had been asking for it for a while when I was contacted by the lovely people at www.joke.co.uk, with the proposal to review one of their fancy dresses. They do have an extensive range, both for grown-ups and children, but you guessed, my mind was made already and the choice was simple: I picked a Cinderella dress for my Disney loving girl within minutes!!

The reason it took us forever to get Emma a Cinderella dress was, to be honest with you, the price and the quality of the products on offer! With the Disney store selling the gowns for a whooping £50 per piece, we were holding on, hoping to get something more reasonable. We tried Tesco’s but the quality was poor and I knew Emma would put a hole through it before the first…ball, so to say :-).

On the other hand, I was very pleased with the quality of the dress we received to review, the stitching seems durable and the Cinderella image not the sort that will wash off the first time I put it in the washing machine. Pricewise, the gowns are reasonable, slightly more expensive than the Tesco’s ones but the £3 difference is definitely justified by the better quality. Definitely, much better value than the Disney store ones, our Cinderella gown sells for only £13.99 on the website! The delivery was prompt and the service excellent, I need to add!

So if you have a bit of Irish blood in your veins and fancy celebrating in style for Saint Patrick’s, why don’t you head over and have a look at their fun and funky range? There is something for everybody and I am sure there will be things to tickle your fancy and catch your eye :-).

Here is a picture of my very happy Cinderella, in her new gown:

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