Meet Harry!


I realised earlier this week, I've never really introduced Harry. So here he is! 

Isn't he the cutest? 

So, Harry was born on 31st March 2016 at 5:49pm. If you want to know more about his delivery then you can find that here. He's now nearly 4 and a half and about to start school in September - I'm not really sure where that's come from honestly - he's around 96cm tall and weighs around 17kg. 

I've spoken about it all before, but if you didn't know, Harry has Down's syndrome and Klinefelter's Syndrome. He got the diagnosis of Down's syndrome at birth - you can find out more about Down's syndrome here and Klinefelter's Syndrome here

So here are some facts about Harry you may not know

1. Harry actually has 2 middle names - Alexander, which was the name we had picked out for him originally, and David, after my grandfather

2. Most people believe Harry was named after Harry Potter - He is most definatatly not! He is named after Sam's grandfather who unfortunately never got to meet Harry. 

3. Despite never wanting to shorten Harry's name (I wasn't even sure that you could) Harry gets called H. Just H. 

4. Harry is identical to my baby brother (who is now 21?!) but acts like Sam in every way. 

5. The first word Harry learnt to sign was food - He still signs it now even though he can say it. 

6. For Harry's first 3 birthdays we visited SeaLife centre (honestly its great for sensory)

7. He's had 3 main nicknames in his life that aren't H, Rex, Monkey and Bug.

8. He knows 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. 'The Gruffalo' and 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' off by heart.

9. Harry is a complete daddy's boy. Always has been, always will be. 

10. He loves the number 3. When ever you ask him how many of something he wants his answer is always 3.

So there is a little more about Harry! 

Hope you have enjoyed getting to know Harry!

How to meal plan

Meal planning is such an important part of the week in our house. We shop weekly now because we try to eat lots more fresh fruit and vegetables but with Sam's shifts and my 9-5 job its hard for us both to get to the shops together so we spend an hour or so every week planning out our meals for the week. 

We only plan our evening meals as Sam eats the same thing every day for lunch and breakfast and Harry will pretty much eat whatever. I take a pack up to work so usually, I take leftovers from the night before. 

I thought meal planning was something everyone did but when I was speaking to friends, I realised it wasn't and thought that maybe this post would help others who don't, start

Why meal plan?

Why should you meal plan? Meal planning is a great way to be organised, help you try new things, prevent food waste and save money on your weekly shopping every month!

Where to start
Starting to meal plan honestly couldn't be easier! Everyone has different ideas for meal planning and the more you get into it you will find your own way of doing it, however, I always start with looking at our cookbooks and recipes that we have found that we want to try. I also like to have a constant list of favourite meals to pull ideas from. 

Once you have your inspiration, you need to think about how many days you need to have food for, how many meals in total and how many people you will be feeding on those days. Meal planning doesn't mean you cant have those days where you just cannot be bothered with cooking or really just fancy beans on toast for your evening meal, it just gives you a guide with your meals. 

Once you know who you are cooking for and you have some ideas about meals you can start assigning meals to days. 

Here is an example of our weekly meal plan;

Monday: Spaghetti bolognese

Tuesday: Pizza

Wednesday: Lamb meatball curry

Thursday: Fajitas

Friday: Fish and chips

Saturday: Chorizo pesto pasta

Sunday: Cottage pie

Obviously, this is not the same every week, and on weeks where we don't have much planned or no one come over to eat we can move meals around if we don't fancy what we have planned. 

Once we have our meal plan we can then write our shopping list. Once shopping is done you are done and can start again next week!

5 Summer Activies for Toddlers

 It is HOT!

Every time I say that I think, god I'm definitely British, but my word where on earth has this heat come from? Personally, I am a real winter lover, I love the cold weather and have been praying for the snow and thunderstorms. Sam is totally different, he loves the summer and being outside with the BBQ's and sports and walking. Harry is definitely somewhere in the middle, he loves the being outside all day long but is definitely not loving the heat so I've come up with 5 activities for him to do in the summer that keeps him nice a cool and these are all free or cheap things you can do at home so no need to go out, brilliant especially in the current climate.

1. 'Fence Painting'  - This is possibly my favourite one and definitely Harry's favourite. Whenever the sun is out Harry asks to 'paint'. We just get a pot of cool water and an unused paintbrush and let him loose on the garden fence. He ends up covered in the water but keeps him cool, and occupied for AGES which is definitely a bonus. Also, mess-free so win-win!

If you don't have a garden you could always let them paint your windows if they are in reach or a mirror.

2. Toy Ice Block - My mother-in-law sent me this idea and its fab! Get some of the smaller toys and pop them into a large pot - We use an old ice cream or large yoghurt pot. Fill with water and put into the freezer. Then put the ice block out of the pot, put onto a tray and give to your toddler with a fork and spoon or plastic hammer, then you just tell them to rescue their toys, this may take a while and they may get a bit bored half-way through but its great fun for them and keeps them cook. Also super easy to clean up because the ice just melts away.

3. Paddling pool - No brainer really. Let them free in the paddling pool! 

4. Splash pad - This is a new one for us this year. Harry got this for his birthday in March and loves this. We usually put this up with his pool but this is constant cool water. You just lay it flat, plug in the hose and turn on the water. It then has a sprinkler all the way around that sprays into the middle creating a large puddle. I think this comes from Amazon, and you can find a similar one here.

5. Water Table - We got ours from Tesco at the end of last summer and Harry loves it. It's especially great if we just don't have the energy to get the pool or splash pad and hose out. This would also be great if you don't have a garden, you could put a waterproof mat on the floor and it would keep them nice and cool. 

Tips for starting nursery

Harry has officially finished nursery. Writing that honestly breaks my heart, we love Harry's nursery, they have done so much for him and he wouldn't be developmentally where he is now without the wonderful staff and key workers he had there. Harry started nursery in September of 2017 so has been there for almost 3 years. He initially went 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year 8am to 6pm, so he was there more than he was home. Thinking about all the time he has spent at nursery got me thinking about all of the things that we had no idea he would need and I thought I would put together a nice list of tips and some essentials so that any other parents in that position have a starting point. 

This is actually a photo of Harry at nursery in September 2017!

Obviously, every nursery is different so it would be worth taking to them to see if there is anything you need I haven't listed!

1. Buy cheap 'Play' clothes - I know, especially if this is your first child you may have spent lots of money on beautiful clothes for them, I know I did! But please do not send them into nursery in those beautiful expensive clothes, I guarantee you they will be ruined. Go to your closest Primark and pick up a load of their £1.80 T-shirts and some cheap jogging bottoms or leggings. Things that you wouldn't care about getting stained or ripped or ruined in any way. And a big tip is to buy more than you think you may need. Harry still now has around 10 pairs of jogging bottoms and too many cheapy Primark T-shirts to found and every single one of them has a stain on it!

2. Get a recognisable bag - This is so important, especially if when your little one starts nursery they are still in nappies, while your changing bag is beautiful and probably cost a bit of money, the likelihood is someone another parent at nursery probably has the same or a similar bag, which can be confusing for nursery staff when looking for bottles, nappies or spare clothes, so try to use a bag specifically for your child or have some kind of easily recognisable feature on it. We used a backpack from My 1st Years, that was personalised with Harry's name, however, please be aware that personalised bags are not necessarily recommended as it advertises your child's name, maybe think about initials.

3, Label everything - This one seems so obvious now, but back when we were first sending Harry we honestly never even thought about it. We lost so many clothes, a few teddies and even a few packs of wipes in the first few months of Harry being a nursery because there are so many kids running around and things get wet or messy. We ended up using a sharpie to write in the label of all of Harry's clothes and packets of wipes and stopped letting him take toys in. 

4. Buy costumes well in advance - My word, how expensive are world book day costumes? For something that your children wear for one day and again are probably going to get messy or wet, but one thing I've noticed throughout the years is costumes are a lot cheaper online and easy to get hold of in all sizes when its not close to world book day or Halloween, so why not buy them a few months before and save yourself some pennies!

4. Buy 'nursery' outdoor wear - The number of times, in the beginning, we forgot to grab Harry's coat, wellies or hat and gloves so to remedy this we went out and got a second set to leave at nursery on Harry's peg. This meant that he always had them available as nursery would take the children outside even if it was chilly and wet, but make sure you label them all!

Where It All Started

Birth Story

Harry's birth story seemed like a fitting first post on here. Bear with me because it was written months ago. More posts to follow ever...