Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love or Loathe.... Sandy

enough said I think

family - where did all the time go?

I am seriously time deficient or rather I have simply failed to notice the passing of time. Is that normal when your Oldest starts school? It's now half term and I seriously cannot work out where all the time has gone. I had great visions of being able to do all sorts of things when the Oldest One was at school and being able to achieve so much.

Has that happened - in a word  - NO.

Why has time stopped and suddenly shunted me forward to half term?

On the one hand, thank G the first part of term is over - a few blips here and there with the Oldest One getting used to school and being in a class of 30 - usual stuff and the Youngest One and myself struggling to find a routine that works, particularly with sleep. But overall we're happy that Oldest One seems settled and raring to go each school day morning. Did I just say raring to go - maybe that was a bit ambitious.

Here are things I have learnt about the school thing (given I am now a veteran of 6 weeks)

1. I still don't know the names of some of the parents I say hello to

2. My child has learnt so much in his first half term - mainly "no one likes me", "I don't like you", "so-and-so doesn't like me" (notice a theme here) and "where's my snack?"

3. Talking of snacks - always give your child something to eat on the way home - gives you something to talk about - i.e. hyper screechy child - "where's my snack?" Parent - "Here it is - a lovely hummus wrap" or something similar. Sometimes I give Oldest One some sugar infused snack such as choc biscuits or flapjack and then other times in a fit of must be more healthy give Oldest One rice cakes. They smell foul but go down a treat especially as the far more sensible Youngest One dislikes them.

4. I don't expect Oldest One to wave goodbye at the door - which is a relief really as some children haven't made it into the classroom without some serious encouragement. I did feel offended at first and then had a serious talk with myself and realised this was a good thing.

5. I now do not ask about how the school day went as there was no point. Here's an example - me - "what did you do today?" Oldest One - "dunno" me - "did you enjoy PE?" Oldest One - "can't remember" and so the painful conversation went on till Oldest One screeched a lot. And that was before we reached the school gate. So lesson learnt.

6. Big realisation that our family has fundamentally changed for the next 16 years or so - what have we let ourselves in for.

So time has passed with no real achievement on my part other than the ability to roll out of bed, drag us all to school - we walk every day, including a nice hill before the school gates - roll home, try to entertain Youngest One, realised I have not written blog or done anything useful. Feed Youngest One then do lots of bits n pieces, then go back on school run and try to entertain 2 increasingly screechy children.

Is this what they mean that life stops when you have children?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Family - time to spread those wings

The S-day has arrived - our oldest is going to school today. He's only 4 years old and he's going to school. He's going to school. OMG he's going to schooooooool.......Can you sense there's a theme here....

This day has taken a long time to arrive and then all of a sudden it was here. I must admit for all of my "can't wait, he needs it and so do I!" attitude, actually I've really been in living in that place in Egypt - DE-NILE.

Last night it dawned on me that I hadn't labelled anything, I had only just bought his school jumper yesterday - he may have grown over the summer - he hadn't. So with Oldest One watching  "return to neverland" (which is frankly where I wished I was) I began the arduous task of labelling. Now according to my friend atNumber29 (fabulous blog) there has been great debate amongst parents about the sticky subject of labelling. Now I greatly admired her son's socks which had labels sewn in at the top - but they were black socks - Oldest One's are grey but I am lazy. Plus I only ordered my iron in labels from M&S last week. So I pulled off the fabric pen lid and wrote his name everywhere. Including said grey socks. But wait it doesn't end there. Do you put the full name or initials or a combination? I opted for a mix variety. Do you use handy shop labels so at least when you come to pass the item on it can be reused??? AAAHHHHHHHHH.

Bloody labels.

Also the school prospectus clearly states light soled plimsolls for gym. Have you found any? I bought cheap but classic looking ones from M&S but they were too big and had an allegedly non marking black soles. So in a fit of New School Parent panic I returned them and headed to that Shoe Emporium named Clarke's. He got measured - by the way - he has the widest feet fitting on their scale but they don't make shoes in that width???? Huh??? Explain. Anyway the young lad bought out plimsolls - not only were they foul looking - a little like old people shoes with velcro strapping but they had black soles - allegedly non marking. What the F???? Now I'm scared. I bought them because I was scared. I haven't labelled them and they're in his gym bag at school........ Should I ask the school how they feel about the alleged non marking sole in case I have to return them (hence the not labelling) and quite frankly buy a nicer but cheaper pair from M&S (thus saving Oldest One's dignity and my obvious good taste) or should I pretend that they don't exist and quietly forget about them. It's such a trauma.

So this morning we tried to keep it all on the down low but excitement and tension were in the air. Lovely husband made a man style breakfast for Oldest One - sausage and egg whilst I contemplated staying in bed and forgetting about the whole thing. I was duly dragged out of bed to feed Little One. I still at this point was travelling up that wonderful river in Egypt and gamely thought I know I'll do my exercise, get it out the way. This was at approximately 7.45am. Bear in mind we have to leave at 8.30am..... I thought that's ok I can time it right, it'll be fine. So I whipped my way through JM Level 2 and arrived at 8.15am totally wrecked and sweaty with a major red face. Plus both children screaming. So in full on Mother mode I gave out instructions, check anyway, put shoes on, get bag etc whilst simultaeously changing Little One, bunging her in buggy and finally changing me. I did have time to put Oldest One in front of cbeebies (line of least resistance). Then that time arrived.

Oh bloody hell we have to do it. So under guise of Happy Chirpy Mummy I drag both kids outside and whip out the camera. Nothing like a first day photo. I swear the fuzzy ones are the camera's fault and not me wiping the lens after being teary. So then we walked to school. Again I am seriously NOT thinking about this. I am arming my child with words of wisdom such as "ask the teacher where the toilet is" and "don't pick your nose" and although I deliberately have walked the long way round I realise we're getting close. A few people have stopped us and asked about his first day and I am still being Happy Chirpy Mummy.

So we arrive and the truth is dawning on me. I have to send my Oldest One (still a little boy in my mind) into the next stage of his life with a big smile on my face. So we did it. And I faced that dreaded school gate thing of everyone sizing each other up. Me, being the slightly out of breathe (there is a steep hill up to the school) red faced weirdo trying to control her kid and all the others who look laid back, slim and magazine perfect. I am the anti yummy mummy - there's not even a rhyming phrase for me!

They called all the kids together, got them to line up and took them in. The cameras and the iphones came out and there were a few tears from kids and adults. Me, as soon as he walked into the classroom I ran. Not because I'm mean but because of the tears. I promised myself I wouldn't cry but my lip wobbled and that was it! Ran down the hill and phoned the husband a blubbering mess. So once I got past that and took some deep breathes, I bunged on the headphones, pumped up the volume and cranked out Led Zeppelin and sang my heart out all the way home.

Yep a weird red faced looking woman pushing a buggy and singing.

By the way I caved and have ordered nice looking plimsolls - I will retrieve gym bag tomorrow ;-)

Fitness - what the **** am I doing?

So I am a little way through my fitness programme. I have progressed to Level 2 with Jillian Michaels and it is super tough. How many planks can a girl do! As an avid fan of the Biggest Loser USA I have added a Bob Harper yoga workout. OMG yoga is hard - especially the Bob way. I am usually a pilates girl but having seen Bob H do the yoga on the Biggest Loser USA several times I thought I'd give it a go. But seriously how many times can a girl get into the downward dog with a leg in the air without falling over or trying desperatelyto do the warrior stance into a triangle - it is hard. Maybe I should look at yogalates instead?

I have also contacted the local triathlon group - small steps people small steps.

Each and every day I am getting into the workout gear and throwing some strange shapes in my sitting room. If people looked through the window they'd be scared off - never mind the burglar alarm - no one would want to cross a red faced sweaty wreck of a woman shouting at the TV screen. The things I shout are not for small ears either and I think my son might be slightly scared of me. I sound like a beached whale and the red faced sweaty huffing and puffing is not my most attractive side.

I have tried to encourage my husband to join in but it's as tough for him as me. I do feel a tiny sense of yayhey I can do it and you can't but let's keep that one secret!

Small steps.....

I have also it my strange sense of "we absolutely resolutely must stick to this plan", also purchased the Jillian kickboxing DVD. People I am officially insane. Also now my oldest (I have an oldest!!!!!!) has just started school (more of that later) I can concentrate on "Getting Fit". I did actually manage to fit in a JM Level 2 workout this morning thus confirming to all the new school mums that I will meet that I am in fact the one to avoid. The slightly strange one with the deranged manic red faced look. If you come across one of those on the school run, maybe it's because she is indeed strange and manic because she's just done a J Level 2 workout! It's a bit like Men in Black where Will Smith figures out all it's not what it seems!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love or Loathe - an old school toy

Do you remember these? I made one for my son but as the final surprise I included things like do 10 starjumps or roll around the room. That killed about half an hour but it was fun! LOVE.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Love or Loathe - bitsy jar

I had forgotten to post this cute little jar that my young cousin gave me knowing that I love crafty stuff. This is definately a LOVE.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fitness - the olympic hangover

Is this part of my fitness regime?
I feel bereft. For 2 glorious weeks I was able to watch a lot of sports. I 'm not a dedicated sports fan but these Olympics have been fabulous. Quite inspirational. Roll on the Paralympics.

Maybe because of this or in a weird fit of needing to get fit I have egged myself on to do a triathlon next year. I am quite glad it's next year - May to be exact as I am seriously in need of a long fitness regime before i even start thinking of actually training for this. It was a bizarre situation where you find yourself saying "I could do that!" when speaking to a family member who is also doing the triathlon. It will be a 500m swim (luckily in a pool), a 13 mile or so bike ride and a 5 K run (in my case walk!). Now all of those elements sound fine on their own but add it together. Man, what was i thinking?

So because of this I have decided to tackle this head on. You know that I love the Biggest Loser USA and inspired by this and not the sofa sports I usually do - eating chocolate digestives and drinking tea, I decided to see if I could locate ant DVDs. I have a box set of Jillian Michaels and she is tough. The first time I tackled the first DVD I was shouting all sorts of expletives at the TV. Then I felt ill so couldn't do it for a while, then a foot injury - you know the score. So at the beginning of last week I decided to just do it (as a famous footwear company would say).

How hard......At least when I persuaded my husband to try it out - he was whacked out. Maybe proof that I can do it. Also to back all of this up I am going back on the Paul McKenna plan. I have done this a few times and have lost serious weight but you have to want to do it. I was doing the programme until I fell pregnant last year and I successfully lost 35 lbs or so. But I could only go so far during pregnancy. Then after only 11 weeks after my second c-section I tried again. It was too much. We all know how awful sleepless nights are on our fitness and eating patterns. I am in carb fest heaven!!!!

So now the time feels right.

So here's to Jillian Micheals and Paul McKenna - let's hope it works and I'll let you know it goes!

By the way if you fancy doing exercise after a baby especially if like me you've had a c-section please see your doctor and get advice before you start any fitness programme.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Love or Loathe - my friend atnumber29 told me about this blog - yummmmmyyyyyyy

Sugar Swings! Serve Some: superhero oreos and cupcakes....! - this is most definately LOVE

Life - recovery, recycling and washing

Why is the weekend always over in a flash and why does it always mean more work on a Monday. I feel like a laundry service today. I do try to be as "Green" as possible, from recycling to within an inch of our lives and we don't have a car so we walk everywhere. But when it comes to washing clothes and drying them I seem to fall down. Is there an etiquette to washing lines? Not that we have one, we have one of those clothes horses so when the weather is good it goes outside but I use the same principles as I would a washing line. I confess here and now I am a washing line snob (see below). This only applies of course to those clothes that actually get hung outside. These principles also extend to my airing cupboard. Especially if you know that you have people coming over. It's the "'good' clothes that get hung out to dry. The rest gets shoved in the tumble dryer or stuffed on the clothes horse in our bathroom. This only works if you have spare toilet which guests can use. It's kind of like showing the world that you do actually do something other than looking for shoes on the internet or eating biscuits and horror of horrors any traces of your family personality. But really you're only kidding yourself. So to the principles of Washing Line Etiquette.

1. Only put out clothes or bedsheets/pillow cases that look nice - when you look out of the window do you want to see skanky looking clothes or imagine that you are in rural idyll with sparkling sheets and clothes wafting gently in the wind?

2. Always put towels in the tumble dryer - nothing worse than a mildew towel and have you noticed that if you do air dry towels that when they get wet they smell of mildew and so do you. Nothing like eau d'mildewy for that sexy wanton smell for you and your other half.

3. Baby clothes and kids clothes other than underwear and socks (underwear see below and socks take up precious space on a clothes horse) generally do well hung out to dry. Mostly and especially with baby clothes they don't shrink so much.

3. NEVER EVER under any circumstances put underwear on your line - if I put mine on it would help the whole washing line take off as the wind caught hold of my bloomers - no embarrassing Bridgets on our washing line. Besides which, other than attracting the attention of the local peepers, is your underwear really worthy of hanging outside? And if it is are you really trying too hard to tell people that you have a fabulous figure, a fabulous sex life and are in fact all round fabulous. Or do I just sound just a teeny weeny incy wincy bit jealous or just practical. I'll advertise my wares to my husband and my husband alone. Thank you very much.

Oh my god I have turned into a closet prude. Next I'll be marching with a home made placard outside underwear shops and large adverts saying NO to frilly lacy underwear I have no hope in wearing and looking good in. Perhaps I should hang out my best knickers and actually feel good about seeing them flutter in the wind. Or perhaps not. My best ones are in fact The Bridgets. Ladies of a certain age will know what I am talking about.

Do comedy pyjama trousers qualify as not embarrassing clothing to put out and dry?

So in light of my apparent "Green-ness", I think that I emit a low carbon footprint as that smug feel good factor of air drying your laundry by Mother Nature herself cancels out my tumble dryer obsessive thing. Does that mean we have zero carbon footprint? However I am definitely not one of those Mums who finds total pride in being able to hang out her washing come rain or shine. And I absolutely am not aggrieved or feel my day is wasted if those sheets don't get hung out. I don't even have a wash day, every day is a wash day in my house. I even lie about it sometimes to my husband and tell him I haven't set that washing machine and tumble dryer going. But when you have a refluxy baby and a 4 year old you do end up washing. A lot.

Along those lines I had considered real nappies until I realised that we would definitely be needing to use a tumble dryer to dry all those nappies or employ one of those nappy washing services so the carbon footprint would be huge. So where possible we use environmentally friendly nappies. Doesn't always work and we don't always remember hence why we try so hard in other areas.

I also realised this morning that I have a plastic bag etiquette as well. I only keep the good ones even if they're used for rubbish bins in the bathroom. I am a closet recycling bag snob. What is going on............

Best get the farmers market food out and make a delicious and healthy lunch for my son and myself or better yet grab the peanuts and scoff the lot!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Life - Olympics and all that......

So the Opening Ceremony happened on Friday and I'm still recovering. What a fantastic and brilliant event. A couple of things could have made it totally awesome, such as on the 60 countdown they could've included the sign for Platform 9 3/4 and what about more of our fabulous musical history such as my old favourites Led Zep and Pink Floyd. They did use Dark Side of the Moon but still. Also what was with Paul McCartney? Why is he always rolled out? I know he is considered to be a member of the UK's rock royalty but seriously did Mr Boyle give up at this point? He could have pulled together an amazing super group of musical legends and give a bang out performance or even end with Elton John given he has the Olympic song? Also as has been pointed out to me what about celebrating the discovery of DNA or splitting the atom? What abut our fine literary history too? Okay enough.

A bottle of red wine and some serious yawning with eyes being propped open, my husband and I watched the whole thing. See I knew I still had it in me to stay up late. We both loved it. The Olympic cauldren made out of petals was inspired and amazing, David Beckham was suave and let's face it gorgeous. Shame he wasn't included on our football team but boo sucks to you Ryan Giggs, David Beckham stole all your thunder. Kenneth Brannagh was fabulous and the staging was brilliant. The Olympic Rings being forged and rising from the ashes were stunning. The reflective dance was beautiful and heart stopping. It was an inspired and funny skit with the Queen and Rowan Atkinson was superb. All in all we raised a toast to Mr Boyle and his vision.

Needless to say that it was a rude awakening the next day. So here in glorious technicolour is out tribute to Mr Boyle. Notice the Hobbit House and the large windmills providing green energy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Family - first day of summer

Technically that arrived a few of days ago on Friday. Hoorah for the sun. Yes I know that I was in Dallas for nearly a month where temperatures reached over 100 degrees on most days but still. It's July. It's supposed to be summer. In preparation for more rain this summer and having to walk in the rain with a buggy and small child, I have bought a cycle cape. It duly arrived on that first hot day last Friday. Typical!

Anyway today was technically the first official day of the summer holidays and quite frankly I wish it was the last. It started with a promise, lovely weather, the chance to be outside, read a book, birds singing and ended with the usual "why aren't you listening to me" and "tidy your room". Vision smashed - who was I kidding?

So admit it, how many of you if you have more than one child treat the older one as an adult, even at the tender age of four..... Why doesn't he understand the long rambling sentences I find myself uttering? Why do I keep on saying the same thing over and over again? Why do I sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown with more than a hint of Nurse Ratchet? Why does he not understand the complexities of having a baby around? Why is it that what we really need is a book on child speak? Can someone else please translate for me?

Instead of my son hearing "Lovely wonderful son of mine stop whining and go into the garden, commune with nature and take advantage of all that life has to offer." He hears "Stop whining, don't do that, do this, stop poking a stick in your eye....." Maybe I need a few simple instructions that I can use so he gets the importance of the message I am trying to give. You know those urgent life lessons like:

1. Listen to me and do what I have asked you to do
2. Don't ask me for more food
3. Don't pick your nose
4. Don't use that stick/fork/cardboard tube/bow and arrow it'll poke your eye out
5. Don't put your face so close to your sister she'll have your eye out (she's 5 months old)
6. Don't jump up and down all the time
7. Don't run in the house
8. Don't
9. Don't
10. DON'T......

See how polite I am to start with. By the end of the day I'd like to retire to the bottom of the garden (it's not a big garden) and leave them to it. In a Swallows and Amazons, Stig of the Dump not Lord of the Flies kind of way. I wouldn't mind St Trinian's either at least it would show initiative and an interest in the sciences!

Why and when did I turn into a Victorian Mother? I used to laugh at my brother and call him Victorian Dad (from Viz) but suddenly that's me. Hence the Nurse Ratchet thing. Why do I expect my exuberant 4 year old to behave like Little Lord Fauntleroy? He's basically a great kid, brilliant sense of humor and loves life. Which at the end of the day is all you can hope for (other than being Prime Minister of course). Hopefully he'll not remember much of this period of time when he's older. In the meantime I have to work out a way so I don't behave like that headmistress in Matilda.

Also you know you're in trouble when that modern wonder punishment or parental control technique of time out no longer works - bear in mind he is only 4 years old but time out does not work in this house. Our son is more likely to put himself in time out which kind of takes the point away really. This is something I'll touch on another time. So sorry Jo Frost and Nanny 911 time out doesn't always work.

So in light of that I'm off to the fridge for a butterscotch Angel Delight fix...... where's that spoon?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Family - the week after the week before

So we flew home last week. Another long haul flight and whilst I was clearly hoping for another miracle on the flight and well behaved children I wasn't holding out much hope. This time I had help and I was amazed but the flight pretty much went without a hitch. A few wobbles and a few short lived tears but we all settled down and chilled out. I should have more faith. I managed to watch a film, The Hunger Games and had a quick drink too! No sleep even though it was a night flight. When flying with another person always remember to use them as a barrier between you (as the parent) and the kids.... Saves on the angst on your part and they don't get told off so much. If you can't do that invest in some noise blocking headphones and give phenergan liberally!

Why is it that within a few hours of stepping over the threshold of home that you feel like there has been no holiday and it all feels a bit rubbish and well, normal? It doesn't help that the UK has been covered in rain for weeks and we've just come home from sunshine and 100 degrees each day. But it just feels so depressing.

Now we face one last week of preschool before the summer holidays and the beginning of what I like to think of as a productive time for all the family. The reality will be so different. More like wind up central punctuated by brief spells of family activity with the usual nonsense that goes with it. I need a project. The problem is that I used to be so organised, that was my job. Now I am more inclined to let some stuff go. I 'd like to say it was my way of not sweating the small stuff but it is more likely to be down to laziness than a guru led life plan.

Take the summer holidays, I'd like to think that we'll float into London each week on some educational mission but with the Olympics looming and my high aspirations for everyone to have a good time this is extremely unlikely. I always start off with great intentions, much like my diet and exercise programmes but end up having the cake, chocolate and the easy option of letting my 4 year run around like crazy with me punctuating his life with the odd "no running in the house" or "close your mouth when eating". Why does my 4 year not understand the possibility that I am doing important adult things like surfing the Internet for shoes I'll never buy or watching The Biggest Loser USA (guilty pleasure) whilst he has to fully re-enact Tree Fu Tom or Superheros right there. Does he not understand the delicate balance that I achieve each day of actually looking like I did some house work as opposed to the reality of stuffing stuff into cupboards and pretending I cleaned the whole kitchen floor. We do work well together when we bake, but that's only because there's something in it for him.

Therefore I am working on my own escape plan.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

recu-Parenting - a way of life

This blog is for all parents who are recuperating from being a parent, a bit like being in rehab but learning to survive each day as a parent and having a big cheer at the end of each day that you all survived. You love your kids, you want your kids and would lay down your life for them, but let's face it, it's tough being a parent. The decisions you make each day will have some kind of impact and mostly you feel like you'll never get it right. All you can hope for your kids is that they turn out loving life and being good to others as well as themselves.

The main 2 rules in our hose are have fun but don't hurt yourself, anyone else or anything and number 2 if I ask you to do something you do it. How's that working out for us? It's a work in progress and I reserve the right to change my mind at any time....

So much has happened over the last year and I have only just started this blog after many promises to friends. One big move, one pregnancy, one child starting 2 different preschools, one new baby and now one big trip to the USA. The trip home is looming soon and I hope that the trip home will be like the trip over. Both kids behaved great, not bad for a 16 week old and 4 year old..... I was also on my own and dreading it, but miracle of miracles I survived as did everyone else!

So I'll post regularly and please feel free to comment, raise topics but let's get serious for a moment. Any nasty or abusive troll like comments, suggestions or general hideousness will be reported to those that need to know including if necessary the police. So let's play happy and be nice to each other. Life is too short to be nasty.