How Not to … Build A Bear

One of the most memorable days of my boys’ lives so far I think … a visit to Build-A-Bear ... but not just any visit as today was “Pay Your Age Day” ….. an absolute bargain.

So the idea was that you could pick ANY soft toy in store and yes that includes all the film ones and only pay the price of how old your child is, in our case Ā£3 and Ā£1 (minimum was Ā£1) … what a cracking offer.

I’d told Dan about this earlier in the week and said “come with me, we won’t be there long” … famous last words I might add.

It is 2.30pm and we have just got home, we left at 8am! šŸ˜‚

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I thought getting there for 9am, it would be pretty quiet as a lot of people would have their children in school (I was very surprised to see children in school uniforms in the queue) … but how wrong was I! We hit the queue just before 9am and I reckon that we were about 100th in the queue .. so not too far back I thought… then the problems started.

We soon realised that the queue wasn’t moving very much at all. They were only letting a few people in the shop at a time which slowed things down. Obviously on top of that, the children spend time making decisions about which one that they want, then changing their mind (all part of being a toddler I might add) … then trying to convince Mum or Dad to let the soft toy have an outfit (more pennies) then having to give the bear a name on a computer and lastly actually getting the bears stuffed!

4 and a half hours … that is how long it took us in total from joining the queue to paying for the damn things! šŸ˜‚… I have to say that this was not one of mummy’s best ideas. I take full responsibility for making us have a day out at Build-A-Bear.

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The problem was as well, that after about an hour queue, Leo had spied the shop and said “going to the bear shop?” … so we couldn’t leave could we? Not a chance as he would have been really upset. The shop was so close but so far….

The local Greggs did a roaring trade this morning because there were lots of people in the queue eating sausage rolls and doughnuts for breakfast! Then a quick thinking staff member in WH Smith cottoned on (she certainly deserves staff member of the month) as she came out with baskets full of drinks and chocolates for sale – made a fortune selling to people in the queue – great idea! We took our brekkie with us …

The thing that bothered me the most in the queue … rude people. I couldn’t believe how many people “saved a space” for their friend that turned up 2 hours later …. for the record, it’s damn rude and an obnoxious thing to do when people have been queuing for so long.

I felt so sorry for the Arndale security staff as there weren’t enough of them for the amount of people that turned up and to be honest, Build-A-Bear should have had their own security on the door and the queue.

Turns out that many of the stores actually announced that they were closing and many stopped people from joining the queue anymore, this was for safety reasons

I’m not sure if they are even opening again today because of this, but I bet a lot of parents aren’t happy that they’d promised to take their children after school and now it looks like they might not be able to.

But … look at Leo’s face when we eventually got into the shop when he saw all the bears that he could choose from,big smile equals very happy.

To be honest, we got really lucky with both our boys today. They were both really well behaved, Leo only had a 5 minute moment and Asher had a cry as we were waiting to stuff the bears and then he fell asleep (so totally missed the whole stuffing of the bear, placing a heart and making a wish šŸ˜‚) … and Leo didn’t like the noise that the machine made, so hid behind us when the bears were coming alive!

Check out the ones we got though … they should have cost us Ā£54 in total and today they only cost us Ā£4 …. yes that is correct, Ā£4 for the both of them including Chewbacca! There were hardly any of those left in the shop, good spot by Dan!

It was a really good promotion of Build-A-Bear but I think some heads might be rolling at head office because of the chaos in stores throughout the country before.

Here are my tips Build-A-Bear for your next event;

1. Registration online so you get a ticket number and an allocation time.

2. Offer pre-made bears (yes, I know that the magic is in the stuffing and adding a heart but for most under 3s, they don’t get it or quickly lose interest)

3. You needed more staff stuffing the bears, you needed temporary machines. The staff at the store that we were in took about 5- 10 minutes to stuff each bear and sew them up, that means on average about 20/25 bears an hour were being completed. This was just not fast enough for how many people were coming through the doors and how many people were outside queuing.

4.You could have done with a ticket system for toilet visits. Remember, there were sooo many young children with their parents and people were scared to leave in case they lost their place. The nearest toilets to the store we at were a 15 minute journey there and back if you were quick.

5. Water could have been offered to the queues, a really simple cheap solution to keeping your crowds a little bit happier.

So, rumour has it that the promotion is linked to the launch of “Count Your Candles” in the UK where you will be able to pay the price of the age of your child in their birthday month for a bear. Check the American version out here … I’m not sure of the terms and conditions coming with the offer but it might be worth registering on their website for especially if you can get a cheap gift for their birthday, I think it’s a great idea.

So, would I do it again?

Would I queue again for that long? You know what, yes I would!

I bet that you thought that I was going to say no then, didn’t you!

The reason that I’ve said Yes is because what memories it created today and all you need to do is look at this photo of Leo smiling …

And also look at this one of daddy and Leo, they had both definitely had enough by this point though …

And Asher checking his purchase out too …

I’m not sure what Daddy would say though, I think he was slowly being driven insane throughout this adventure … although I am also sure that when he looks back and remembers this day, he will be laughing … and I have warned him that we will more than likely be queuing again at some point in their lives for something that they want so much … all part of parenting xxx

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This weekend Millie’s Daddy Dan is doing a sky dive in her memory.

He is extremely nervous, if you have a few pennies to donate please drop him a text donation by texting DSKY01 Ā£3 to 7000

Nearly there again

You know when something is driving you completely crazy and you just cannot get it out of your mind? I’m feeling a little like that at the moment and the emotions my head are going through are absolutely heartbreaking.

Asher is 8 months old

Millie passed away at 9 months.

This is totally messing with me at the moment. I keep spontaneously bursting into tears at random reminders.

I struggled a lot when Leo was the same age but this time I have realised that I am struggling even more and I think that it might be because Asher looks so much more like Millie than Leo ever did.

Sometimes I look at him and it’s like having Millie sat in front of me, it’s the strangest feeling ever.

Millie was 286 days old when she passed away… we just need to get passed that many days and I know I will start to feel a little better. I know exactly what date Asher’s 287th day will be; I know, I sound like a crazy lady but I worked it out when he was born and then haven’t really thought about it until he turned 8 months old a couple of weeks ago.

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I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s like a barrier for me, a wall that I need to break us through.

I think I’m doing okay and then something starts to niggle at me and I can’t work it out. Then bang, there it is – the answer that has taken me a while to figure out and this is what has happened over the last few days, it’s hit me like a brick wall.

I’ve gotten through these feelings and mixed up emotions once before with Leo – this time, I can see that there will be a positive outcome at the end and I’m glad that this time I can see past that date.

I’d love to know your feelings about how you dealt with this with your children, how you got passed that milestone with your younger children when an older child had passed away, maybe I won’t feel as nuts as I do reading about your journeys xxx

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Would you like you child to learn basic life saving skills in Stockport? Take a look here to see what’s coming up for them in the school holidays.

Swimming Update

It’s been a whole 6 months since Leo started swimming lessons with Swimabout in Cheadle Hulme, so I thought I’d give you an update on how he’s doing! You can read about what happened when we first took him here.

…. So fast forward to this weekend and we’ve just started Leo on his third term and he is doing absolutely fabulous and has recently received his Duckling 2 Award!

Leo has gone from being extremely clingy in the pool to absolutely loving the water. He’s been having his lessons and for the past few months we’ve also been taking him more as a family with Asher coming too – I’m hoping that Asher will want to copy Leo as they get older and he won’t be as clingy in the water.

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Swimabout have the children use Swimfin and we had never seen these before we started lessons there but we think they are amazing and the best thing is that Leo actually likes wearing it.

I had never seen children being taught with anything other than armbands so watching the children progress using these fins has been an eye opener but we would definitely recommend them for helping children learn to swim.

The staff at Swimabout are absolutely fabulous with the children and you can see the confidence growing in the children every week as they splash around and laugh in the pool. It’s very much all about making the learning fun at this stage for them and it’s brilliant.

For us as parents, it’s fabulous to see that Leo has gained the confidence to be in the pool with someone other than Dan and I and to see that he genuinely enjoys it.

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Swimfin kindly sent Leo the perfect bag for swimming which fits all his swimming gear in, including his swimfin and when you put it in the special pocket, they look like a shark! Also Fully waterproof which makes it fantastic.

And how cute does he look in this video running to his swimming lesson with it on his back šŸ’•šŸ’•šŸ’•.

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In the photo below, Leo’s also showing you Swinfin’s Funky Floaties which are fantastic for encouraging your children to swim further in the pool … we get Leo to chase them and then just move further away from him without him realising, they’re really helping him to increase his distance and build his stamina in the pool and they taught him the words, turtle, dolphin and crab! šŸ’™

Seriously though learning to swim should be so fun and it’s so important to ensure their safety in and near water in every day life and especially when on holiday too and as you can imagine, Dan and I are overly cautious with safety issues after losing Millie.

When we first started taking Leo to swimabout , I genuinely wasn’t sure that we were going to be able to handle it, handing Leo to someone else to look after in a pool…six months down the line and sat on the sidelines with our littlest one Asher, we couldn’t be prouder of our little Leo for taking part and enjoying himself and we are quite proud of ourselves for allowing him. The staff have been brilliant with us and we would highly recommend Swimabout if you are local to Stockport and want to see your child gain the fabulous confidence that our Leo has and we cannot wait for Asher to be old enough to start classes there too. xxx

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Nearly his birthday …

Our biggest little man has been really ill for the past couple of days and it turns out that it’s tonsillitis šŸ˜¢.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have that as a toddler as it’s horrendous enough when you are an adult and you have it.

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x. He's been a right little trooper throughout and still keeps giving us smiles every now and again. He's on antibiotics now from the doctor and these seem to making him a little perkier but it's awful watching your little ones being ill isn't it? I slept in his bed with him last night (well, I say slept but pretty much just led and watched him most of the night) and I could see how uncomfortable he was and I kept wishing I could make it all better for him.

I’m just hoping that he’s going to be better for Monday as it’s his birthday!

I cannot believe he is going to be 3… where has that time gone?

I cannot believe that nearly 3 years ago today, our little Tasmanian Devil was about to make his appearance and change our world for the better. I’m not sure Leo will ever understand what he did for his daddy and I when he became our little rainbow šŸŒˆ.

In the run up to Leo’s Birthday this coming Monday, I’m running a competition courtesy of B for Balloons in Stockport.u can win a choice of 1 of 11 animal balloons, like the one in the photo below.

Click here to enter Terms & Conditions

1. You have a choice to choose 1 of 11 animal designs.

2. You must be able to pick up from one of 2 B for Balloon stores either in Hazel Grove or Shaw Heath

3. No monetary exchange

4. Must agree to photograph publicity as a winner

5. You must pay a visit to B for Balloon Facebook page to enter

6. Ends midnight 19/02/2018

Visit Millie’s Trust to see our most recent course dates! Only 2 places left in March for Level 3 Paediatric First Aid.

Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas …

Presents wrapped, Reindeer dust scattered, vegetables peeled, meat ready for the slow cooker and a key left for Father Christmas to be able to get into our house.

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Candles lit, decorations left and flowers ready for Millie’s resting place tomorrow.

Always two sides to our Christmas…

And Mummy daddy are absolutely shattered and on the Amaretto and Quality Street already!

Merry Christmas everyone šŸ¤£

Let’s see what tomorrow brings, x

Read my last blog, Six, that many? by clicking here

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We survived!

We survived, we survived … day 1 of home life with daddy at work!

I’ve been worried about today for a few weeks, wondering how I was going to cope once Dan went back to work, but it’s now 8pm and everything is calm šŸ˜€… hasn’t been like that all day though šŸ¤Ŗ.

Follow my blog on facebook I did manage to get a 30 second shower this morning before Asher’s vocals nearly burst the sound barrier! Of course, he didn’t actually want anything, just a cuddle and obviously this was fine, even if I was cuddling him trying not to get him wet with a half soaked towel. I got him settled (tried him in his actual big cot and he seemed to like looking at the trees outside), walked back to the bathroom following my wet footprints that I had left behind rushing to Asher earlier. I didn’t get chance to get back in the shower and wash my hair, but luckily my wonderful hairdressers convinced me many moons ago that washing my hair every day wasn’t good for it, so I’m going with that now šŸ˜€ (quite a mighty feat for someone who has washed her hair EVERY day for the past 20 years pretty much!)

Decided last night that we were going to get up and go for a walk this morning to get some fresh air and we did eventually manage this, once I had worked out how to put the rain cover on the pram, as I hadn’t used it on this part of the pram before! Once I’d worked this out and had Asher in the pram, I unlocked the door and Asher started to fill his nappy – waited until he’d finished, ran him upstairs to change his nappy and attempted the walk.

Fast forward through the walk (which was actually quite easy and good for my head space), it was dinner time! Leo’s currently addicted to Jam and Cheese sandwiches, not together I might add (although I may actually try that tomorrow as he keeps taking one bite of the cheese one and once bite of the jam one and chewing them together), who knew that would be tasty? I’m so not tempted to try this myself.

I have literally stepped on a thousand (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration there but it was pretty close) of wooden puzzles pieces, which Leo had taken out of a pile that was all ready to put in the loft for when Asher is a bit older as Leo has outgrown them but of course because we were putting them away, he wanted to play with them! Go figure ?!?!

Follow me on Instagram, click here I honestly think Asher did his best today to beat his nappy changing record as I seem to have gone through twice as many as we have all weekend and we have had at least one major explosion/full clothing change and wet wipe bath today, (I’m surprised that it wasn’t more to be honest).

Leo thoroughly enjoyed playing on Asher’s play mat today, he is way too big for it but he was enjoying it. The play mat involved our only real disaster today … Leo managed to kick my cup (yes I said cup, lots of people tell me that I’m odd for drinking pop out of a cup and not a glass) over and yes it was totally full of pop and we had a little lake appearing over the living room carpet – cue Leo bursting into tears because a) he was upset that he had knocked it over when I had said be careful and I think he thought he was in trouble and b) he was now covered in pop – Leo’s only change of the day! As this was happening of course Asher filled his nappy again and during my attempt at changing Asher and Leo running around the living room half naked, someone knocked on the door!

There wasn’t a chance that I was going to make it to the door, not without showing both my children’s backsides to whom ever it was! Two naked bums, knocking continuing at the door, two rather loud children – one laughing, one screaming and my absolute nutter of a dog running around barking like crazy at our visitor and me stood here laughing in the middle of it all šŸ˜‚! I told Dan when he got home after this story that we need to invest in a RING doorbell so I can see through a camera who it is and tell whoever it is to leave whatever they are delivering or tell me whatever they want want whilst talking through the doorbell to me as there was no chance that I was answering that door today; whoever it was so knew I was in, so I apologise if you are reading this šŸ˜‚, I was not intentionally ignoring you.

In between all this, I was attempting to express milk! I’m express feeding with Asher. I did the same with Millie and Leo for different reasons. Millie never latched properly and it became much easier for me to express and I also liked the fact that Dan could feed her to (and do a night feed šŸ˜€) and with Leo, after what had happened with Millie, I wasn’t sleeping much after I had him due to stress and worry and I made the decision that I was expressing right from the beginning and that was that.

I expressed with Millie until about 16 weeks (even through Mastitis , ouch) and Leo until about 11/12 weeks. I’ll know when I’m ready to stop again with Asher.

Anyway, attempting to express today with Asher and little toddler man has been very interesting. I really struggled getting the time to do it today because every time I tried, one of the boys needed/wanted something so I had to stop! Dan came in from work about 4 hours after my last attempt at a longer expressing session and I had text him not long before saying I was in pain and it turned out I couldn’t wait much longer. Luckily, when I do express I get a lot and quickly, so I have been able to do it in the multiple 5/10 minute sessions that I’ve managed to get in earlier in the day when things were calmer.

Dan walked in from work to see Leo playing with his bricks still on the floor and me sat on the sofa with Asher asleep and snoring on my left shoulder and my boob out expressing milk out from my right! He walked in, burst out laughing and said “multi tasking” at its best, pretended to take a photo and took Asher from me then I could finish up easier! Honestly, what he saw was literally the story of my day šŸ˜€!

As you can see in the photo below at the end of the day, Leo was still smiling, Asher was happy in his bouncer and the living room was in absolute chaos and I realised that I hadn’t even been for a wee all day as I was too distracted šŸ™ˆ… But … I did manage to get a load of washing and drying done (I sacked the ironing off though – I definitely did not have time for that)!

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I am totally glad that last night, I had the genius idea of cooking a chilli up for the next few days to put in the fridge – I’m off to eat it now.

Bring on Day 2! šŸ˜˜

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I apologise if there are obvious spelling and grammar mistakes in this blog, I’ve literally written it in 10 minutes and need to eat food as I’ve managed to only eat a piece of toast today and need to re-fuel šŸ˜€)Check out my earlier blog and see why I’m supporting the #sleeponside campaign – Click here

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Epic love for family photographs

Many of you took a liking to my fabulous photograph that Sharon Wallis of Bramhall teased us with last week and now we have seen the final photos including an amazing one of Daddy and Asher, these are so special as we have similar ones with Leo and I regret so much not having them done with Millie – it never even crossed my mind to have professional shots done with Millie when she was born.

So, I’ll leave this one here.

Look how fabulous it is. We all go on about that mums should have their photos taken with with their children; but dads are equally as special and they should too.

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And if that wasn’t enough to melt your heart, check out the one below of big brother looking after little brother.

I’m so in love with all these amazing and special photographs. Sharon has a truly amazing talent to be able to capture images as stunning as these.

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Photo Credits: Sharon Wallis

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