Thursday, June 30, 2011

Look who's talking.

I may have mentioned before that my youngest boy isn't really blessed with the gift of the gab.

He's going to be 3 in October and still only has a handful of words, usually preferring to point at things with a 'ugh' sound until you pick the correct object, which results in a 'ugh' at a slightly lower pitch.

For the past year or so he has a 'ugh' sound for:

  • 'ugh that one'
  • 'ugh, yes that is the one I wanted, took you long enough didn't it?'
  • 'UGH, no I do NOT want to be strapped into this car seat'
  • 'urg, this is pleasing to me'
Recently though he has begun to experiment with other sounds - though his success is somewhat arbitrary.

Instead of 'play' he can only say 'pay', which can lead to some embarrassment as we leave the local coffee shop with him shouting 'Mummy pay! Mummy Pay!' repeatedly.

Another couple of words that he's finally managed to accomplish are 'wee' and 'poo'. Handy you may think. Not so when these are his words of choice when he's annoyed with you. 'Mummy wee wee poo poo head, URG', again shouted repeatedly in the most public place he can find.

This week however he has come out with his first ever properly spoken phrase. Naturally I am as proud as Mrs. Middleton sitting beside the Queen on her way to Ascot. 

So what is this wondrous phrase he has managed to master?

'Oh yeah baby'

The girls are gonna go wild. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cybermummy Highlights and Lowlights

There are so many Cybermummy posts I could write but to be honest I'm still a bit overwhelmed by it all. And tired, still very, very tired.

So I've decided to just list my Highlights and Lowlights instead.


  • Bumping into the fabulous Mid30slife when I first entered the conference centre. Happy days - I myself got a buddy.
  • Hooking up with my fellow Netmums Ambassador Penny from Aresidence.  

HelloitsGemma and the other two. Oh and that hairdresser guy of the telly.

  • Eating these: 

  • And these: 

  • Listening to Erica from LittleMummy and Nick from MyDaddyCooks. Brilliant speakers.

  • And Sarah Brown and Rachel Johnson - Hugely entertaining, for different reasons obviously.

  • Getting a chance to talk to the delectable Mammywoo.

  • Finishing my crowd source keynote post:

  • And of course listening to some of the others:

  • Meeting some lovely Netmums reviewers and some lovely curry buddies:

Yes that is me tweeting

  • And finally watching Mid30s stumbling out of the restaurant with about 30 bags of freebees weighing her down.


  • Nearly missing my flight there (I was sat nonchalantly at the wrong gate in the wrong terminal at boarding time. Running through an airport is never a dignified experience).

  • Getting a stress induced migraine due to the terrifying ordeal of having to speak in front of 400 people.  I thought I'd be fine, silly me. 

And finally,

  • Missing some 'must meet' blogger friends like Metalmummy and Ghostwritermummy. Were you guys hiding from me?

Now tell me - what have I forgotten?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cybermummy here I come!

I've only had about 6 months to get ready for Cybermummy, 'the UK’s premier blogging conference', so leaving everything to the day before I leave was just silly.  And having the hangover from hell on that day was not very bright either.

However, as long as I can find my passport, get my boarding pass printed off on our temperamental printer, write down 'how to look after the 2 year old' instructions, find some clean clothes and a suitcase and generally sort my life out, then tomorrow I will be making my way from Dublin to London to join several hundred other bloggers to learn some stuff, meet some folks and pretend that I know what I'm doing.

The reason that I'm (hopefully) getting there at all is because of the wonderful Netmums, who are sponsoring both me and Penny from Alexander Residence to attend. Netmums have recently celebrated their millionth member and have also launched a Netmums Bloggers Review Team. If you are attending Cybermummy and would like to know more just make sure you bump into me or Penny on the day.

For those not attending don't worry - I will be divulging all about the speakers, the workshops, the calender shoot, my 'crowdsourced keynote speech', the drinks, the bellinis, the curry, the Hoxton late bar..... 

Finally, please don't expect to hear from me until at least Monday. I have a feeling there may be another hangover coming my way.

*BTW Listography is on holiday this week* 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An exceptionally lazy post

This actually appeared in last week's Irish Independent, but I'm lacking inspiration this week so here you go:
Photo: Ronan Lang Irish Independent

This month is my eldest child's seventh birthday. Which means it is nearly seven years since I last slept in the same bed as my husband.

When my daughter, Kaya, was born in 2004 my husband and I had just bought our first home and he was starting in a new job. That's right -- we squeezed three of life's most stressful events into a two-week slot, how clever of us. Or not.
Due to the pressure of new house/new job/new baby, plus the fact that said baby was waking every hour to be fed, we decided that my husband should move into the spare room in order to get a good night's sleep. There was no point in both of us being tired and grumpy the next day, plus he had to go to work each morning so it made sense.
Unfortunately, Kaya wasn't a great sleeper, though, and so for the next two years she woke up three or four times a night. Every night.
So my husband stayed in the spare room and Kaya stayed in bed with me. It was only when our next child was due that we were forced to change the arrangement. So Kaya moved out.
And the baby moved in.
Marley had a similar routine -- waking every two hours or so for a feed and spending most of the night star-shaped across the double mattress. We didn't even discuss changing the set-up -- it worked for us and we were happy (or at least as happy you could be on five hours' sleep a night).
By the time number three arrived two years later, we knew instinctively that Marley would move out and the baby would move into my bed. Dragging the cot out of the loft was not even mentioned. It remains the least-used piece of baby equipment ever purchased.
Of course, for the first couple of years I was a 'closet co-sleeper', afraid to admit to health workers, friends and even family about our strange sleeping arrangement. However, as time went on and I became more confident in our decision, I openly admitted the fact that we never even used a cot.
The remarkable thing was that as soon as I admitted it, a large proportion of other mothers would agree, often with an obvious sigh of relief that they weren't the only ones.
Some co-slept with their husband and baby; some co-slept part-time, meaning that when their baby woke in the night they would be brought into the parent's bed and some co-slept when their child was sick. The point was that almost all of the parents I encountered had, to some degree, co-slept at some time.
Aifric and Phil McDarby in Co Wicklow agree. Aifric herself was the fifth child in a family of seven. Because she arrived four years after her elder sibling and three years before the next child, she experienced a very close method of parenting, including being breastfed until she was two and co-sleeping with her parents.
She feels strongly that this contributed to the person she is today.
"I certainly feel that this style of 'attachment parenting' gave me a strong sense of self and a confidence and security," says Aifric. "Because it was such a positive experience for me and my parents, it felt natural to do the same with my own children."
Aifric and Phil co-slept with their first daughter, Sofia, for seven months, and then Aifric continued co-sleeping with her until she was 18 months old.
By the time their second child, Ava, came along they were happy to replicate the arrangement.
"Ava is now 16 months," says Aifric, "so we will be thinking about moving her into her own cot soon. Although many people would be appalled to hear that my husband spends a good deal of time in the spare room, for us co-sleeping has been a natural and wonderful experience that really is over in such a short time.
"I firmly believe that the security and foundations that it offers for later life, as well as the bonding benefits, far outweigh any negatives."
Naturally, there are guidelines about co-sleeping safely with your child and any parent intending to follow this route should read up carefully on the matter.
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths is the UK's leading baby charity aiming to prevent unexpected deaths in infancy and promote infant health.
It advises that you shouldn't co-sleep with a child
if you (or your partner):
> Are a smoker (even if you never smoke in bed or at home)
> Have been drinking alcohol
> Take medication or drugs that make you drowsy
> Feel very tired
or if your baby:
> Was premature (born before 37 weeks)
> Was low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or 5.5 lb)
If practised correctly, however, co-sleeping offers lots of positives, such as making breastfeeding easier, helping your baby feel safe and secure, and getting more sleep -- which as any mum of young children will say is number one priority.
Siobhan Freegard of the UK parenting website gives the following advice:
"If you're thinking that co-sleeping may be for you, the first thing to do is discuss it with your partner.
"Some dads will jump at the chance of an undisturbed night's sleep, whilst others may feel they are being rejected.
"It's best to tentatively find out their feelings on the matter first".
She goes on to say: "Once you have that in place do a little bit of homework to ensure you are offering your baby or child the safest and securest co-sleeping arrangement possible.
"After that, all you need to do is lie back and enjoy!"
Certainly for us, and for countless other families, it proved to be the perfect solution.
However, seven years, three kids and two house moves after my husband and I began this journey we remain in separate beds, separate rooms.
The only problem now is that I am no longer feeding 'the baby' Baxter, (who in fact is over two-and-a-half-years old), and there is no other baby on the way to replicate the 'one-in-one-out' routine that went before.
And so I am coming to the conclusion that it is time for us both to move back in to the marital bed.
But how will I adjust to sleeping with a six-foot man instead of a two-foot toddler?
Now that's really going to cause some sleepless nights!

Source: Irish Independent

My Lovely friend Lucy at Lulastic and the Hippie Shake blog talks all about extended breastfeeding, gentle parenting and lots of other wonderful hippie stuff. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Listography - Inventions

I've been requested to do a nice easy Listography this week. As you know your wish is my command so anything I can do to make your life easier consider it done.

With that in mind this weeks theme is Inventions, or if you will Inventions that-would-make-my-life-easier.

Believe me - this is not difficult - as soon as you get started you will be on a roll and will end up feeling rather disgruntled that nobody has yet come up with a 'Make time stand still' button.

So here's Kate Takes 5 Inventions I Wish Were Real.

1. A Self-Cleaning House.
Imagine there was a controller in your hallway for each room in the house and when you pressed say the 'Kitchen' button the washing up would miraculously be done, the dishwasher emptied, the floor would be brushed and mopped and the overflowing paperwork would be filed away. This would improve my life immensely - not to mention the decline in arguments with himself about 'what the hell I do all day'. Ahem.

2. An Off Switch for Kids.
Not just my kids you understand. All kids. That noisy brat in the cinema - OFF. That tantrum throwing toddler in the restaurant - OFF. Those children climbing on your head and throwing cheerios around the room - ok well they might be mine but - OFF.

3. No Hangover Alcohol.

Now I realise that the fact that this hasn't actually been invented has saved me from myself but still - how great would it be to fall in at 3am after a rare night out and then bounce out of bed at 7am shouting 'Morning!'? Ah who am I kidding - I just want to be able to knock back another bottle of wine in front of the telly on a Saturday night.

4. Teleportation.
It seems that someone has actually been working on this one already if this picture is anything to go by:

Excellent. I have no idea what the above is talking about either but if it means I can be zipped across the world, or indeed my house, at the touch of a button all I can say is 'Get a bloody move on then'.

5. A Money Tree.
I can't recall who brought this up in a past Listography but I am robbing it. Yoink.

Please note that I have clearly stated 'A' Money Tree. If everyone could get one well that would just defeat the purpose wouldn't it? No, just one money tree thank you very much. My money tree.

Ok your turn to get your brains working for an easier life. Just write your post on your own blog and then come back here to add your details to the linky below. And as always don't forget to visit some of the other great entries.

Looking forward to reading them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scarred for Life (Damn you Karaoke)

So I have been tagged on the Karaoke meme.


Both Nickie at Typecast and Jen at Mum in The Mad House thought I might like to share with you my Karaoke song of choice. Doesn't sound too hard does it? Certainly not a thing to bring you out in a cold sweat and wake up in the middle of the night screaming 'BUT YOU SAID YOU'D CLAP GODDAMN IT!'

No, it most definitely should be a straightforward, pleasurable meme this one.

However, if I told you that my one and (understandably) only Karaoke experience was singing Shirley Temple's 'On the Good Ship Lollipop' in my local pub I think you may begin to see things from my perspective.

If I then tell you that once I'd finished the God-awful-what-on-earth-possessed-me-to-choose-that song the pub fell silent and the tumbleweed blew slowly across the stage then I think you will firmly be on my wavelength.

So lets just leave it there and move very swift on shall we?

If only, IF ONLY, I'd picked something more along the lines of this:


So, Glass Half Full , Transatlantic Blonde, Looking for Blue Sky and Alma got any embarrassing Karaoke experiences you'd like to share?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Listography goes Travelling

Last weeks Listography on 'Decisions' was a wonderful insight into what makes people tick and how they came to be where they currently are in life. A huge number of you who linked up listed travel in your 'best ever decisions' and so, being a frustrated traveller myself, (and no not in the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding way) I thought this week we'd dedicate a whole Listography to it.

Seeing as we've already done Favourite Places I've been to, this week it's the turn of Top 5 Places I'd Like To Visit.

Here's mine:

1. Machu Picchu, Peru.

Ok I love the history aspect, I love the mind boggling amazingness of it all. But what I really want is to be able to say 'I've been to Machu Picchu'. Not because I like to brag you understand, just because I like saying 'Machu Picchu' and in the normal run of conversation there just isn't much call for it. Anyway, before I move on I'd just like to say Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu.

2. Norway - Northern Lights
This has been on my list for a very long time. It's so ridiculously other-worldly it deserves to be seen at least once just to remind ourselves how insignificant our tiny lives are in the huge scale of the universe. Plus it should stop us worrying about things like whether to paint the living room cream or magnolia.

3. Nepal.
I missed this destination during my pre-kids travelling years and fear I may never get there now. Sob.

4. Seychelles
I don't really think this one needs any explanation. Just look at the picture and drift off for a moment.
Ok that's enough - my turn.

5. Yosemite National Park, California
Not only the home of Yogi and Boo-Boo but the ultimate camping destination. Just need to watch out for their cousins paying a visit...

Right - I'm off now to check my bank balance to see whether we can afford to go further than the back garden this year. Those damn kids have a lot to answer for.

Now it's time for you to join in and do some day tripping. So off you go and write your own post on your blog and then come back here and enter your details in the linky below. And don't forget to visit some of the other lovely entries too.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Warning to all parents!

Today is my daughter 7th birthday.

It's true what they say about the years flying by. In fact it seems that every time I leave the house I have some well meaning old biddie telling me to 'make sure you enjoy them now because before you know it they'll be grown up and fled the nest' or 'they don't stay young forever you know?'

It's at these moments I like to think back to earlier that day when I had one child climbing on my head, another shoving a carrot up my nose and the baby kicking me in the face as I tried to change his nappy. But what I'd really like is have a photo of the scene so that I could shove in old biddies face and shout 'Oh yeah? Really? Do you f*ing promise?'

But that might get me arrested.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say here is that it is actually true, but it's only at the milestones - the birthdays,  the first steps, the first day at school and the like, that you really notice it. 

So with my old biddie hat firmly on my head I'm telling you to watch out, because in the blink of an eye (which is about how much sleep I've had since) my little girl went from this:


to this

to this

to this:

to this:

to this:

to this: 

to this:
 Happy Birthday Bean.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Luke's Run

I've been stuck in a bit of a writing rut this week.

The thing is that Monday was not a normal day and I can't seem to write anything else until I write about why.

Monday was the one year anniversary of the tragic accident that took the life of my friend's little boy Luke. It's hard to even write that without welling up with tears. Throughout the past year his amazing mother has been a pillar of strength and grace and I know that all of our friends are in awe of how she and her family are coping with their unspeakable loss.

Monday was also the day that a group of their friends and family came together to run, jog, walk and crawl the Flora Women's Mini Marathon in Dublin to remember little Luke and to raise money for The Children's Medical & Research Foundation.

It was almost too big a thing to talk about on the day, but by being there we just wanted to say that we are here for you and we just wish we could do more.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Listography - Decisions

This week Listography is inspired by the amazing Christine Mosler at Thinly Spread. If you have been living under a rock with an eye patch on each eye and bananas in your ears you may not have heard about the Save the Children 'No Child Born To Die' campaign. If this is the case please click this link immediately to sign the petition before coming back here to read on.

Off you go now.

All done? Ok, to continue....Christine is currently in Mozambique raising awareness for the campaign. When I read her original post 'Leaping Out Of My Comfort Zone' about receiving the email requesting her to go on the trip I immediately thought of the huge weight that must have been placed on her shoulders. She wrote 'My heart has been beating like a drum and my brain on over drive ever since the email landed in my in box on 27th April as I was cooking the children’s tea. Life changes in a heartbeat. I have been given an amazing opportunity to make a difference.'

So being the amazing person that she is she made the brave decision to go, and is currently doing a fabulous job of raising awareness and promoting the Save the Children Petition. This week one of her blog posts was picked up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was featured on their front page. Powerful stuff.

Which brings me to this weeks Listography - Top 5 Decisions I'm Glad I Made.

Here's mine:

1. Going to University.

My lovely Uni.

I was lucky enough not to have had to make too many big decisions in my life before leaving school. Choosing my University was probably my first, possibly-life-changing decision.  The University that I chose, or rather that chose me, was far enough from home that I had to live away and close enough that I could come home every weekend. It's where I drank too much cider, listened to too much Pink Floyd, kissed too many boys and went to too few lectures. This is also where I got the opportunity to:

2. Go to Mexico.
Sent by the University as part of a group working with the people who lived in the shanty towns of a border town. It turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done. Amongst other things I taught some English, played some sports, got taxis with old women carrying live chickens, acted as a dental assistant and drove a pickup truck with 20 kids in the back  I went back a few years later to visit the people I'd met and worked with but I'd forgotten all my Spanish by then so there was a lot of sitting in rooms smiling and nodding at each other.

3. Leaving my cushy job and going to Australia.
Oh dear, I hadn't actually realised before I stated this that it would turn into my personal travelogue...sorry about that. Anyway, I went to Australia at 25, met my husband and had the best time of my life. Not much more to say about that.

4.  Having my kids when I did.
I had my first child at 30 and squeezed in another 2 in the next 4 years. It was a little hairy for awhile there (insert your own joke here) but the youngest will be 3 this year and I finally feel like I'm out of the woods. Fabulous at 40? Bring it on.

5. Starting my blog.
Who could have known that such a little decision would be so life changing? I love my blog. I love lots of other blogs. I love the fact that I'm going to meet loads of other bloggers this month at Cybermummy. I love the opportunities it brings to my mailbox and I love the fact that I am building a role working for myself. I also love your comments so don't be shy now :)

So now it's time to tell me your Top 5 Decisions. Just write your post on your own blog and then come back here to enter your details in the linky below. (And don't forget to throw in a mention to Save the Children!)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So which 'Party Mum' are you?

You can tell a lot from a kid's party invitation.

At the top of the pile there are the embossed, glittery Yummy Mummy's Party Princess ones. They are numbered (by the nanny of course) 1 - 100 so that she can keep track of the numbers for the 5 entertainers that have been booked for the marquee in the garden. These are likely to contain a 'gift list' from Hamleys. Shudder.

Down slightly from that are the personalised cards which were pre-ordered by Organised Mum 6 months previously. They have each invitee's name printed on the front, a picture of the birthday girl \ boy inside and matching Thank You cards to follow.

Further down the list we have the pretty shop bought ones favoured by Slightly Insecure Mum. They aren't quiet as common as, but cost twice as much as....

Tesco's selection of 8 for €2.99 for Normal Mum.

Towards the bottom of the heap you then have the computer printed sheets of A4 with the obligatory coloured balloons on the front and Johnny's bad handwriting scrawled inside. Frugal Mum.

Finally for the real Slummy Mummy's there are the texts sent 2 days before the busiest bank holiday of the year.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I've forgotten to organise my little girls birthday party and had to resort to text aren't you?

Well shame on you. (And also - phew, because I actually haven't).

No. Kaya's 7th birthday party will take place next week and the invites have just been given out. The thing is though, I've always been a Tesco's 8 kind of Mum. Down-to-earth, normal, not too try-hard. We have parties at home with old fashioned party games and have banned party bags.

So the question is this: What on earth possessed me to hand-make 15 Hello Kitty invitations using 3 sheets of coloured card, copious amounts of glue and more time than I have to spare sticking black cardboard whiskers to a (once cute, now deeply irritating) white cat face? 

'Hey, are you copying me?'

Tell me. Please do because I actually have no idea whatsoever what came over me.

And let me also say this. If my daughter came home from school with one of those invites from someone in her class what would I be thinking?

I'd be thinking: 'Wow, Homemade Hello Kitty Invites. Well her Mum is obviously a total dickhead'.

It's too late now of course. I guess I'll have to make up for it with a really shitty party.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cybermummy Meet and Greet

Well it's the 1st of June which means that we can official say that Cybermummy is on this month. 

The only reason I am actually making it to the event is because of the wonderful Netmums who are sponsoring both me and the lovely Penny from Alexander Residence to attend. Most exciting!

So it's about time I joined in with Mummyshoes' Cybermummy Meet and Greet. Here we go:

Name: Kate Gunn. Actually in real life it's Katie, but Katie Takie 5 just didn't have the same ring to it. 

Blog: Kate Takes 5, but you already know that because you are here.

Twitter ID: @katetakes5

Height: 5ft 2. Just call me short-ass.

Hair: Long, dark, sometimes straight, sometimes not.

Eyes: Green

Likes: Food, drink, travel, books, 

Dislikes:  Cyclists, lateness, baby on board stickers...Read all about it here.

And the all important picture:

I'm the one on the left.

And if that's not enough Me for you pop over to my About Me page where I have an embarrassing little vlog - you definitely won't miss me at Cybermummy now.
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