Saturday, 18 January 2014

Will normal service resume?

Why is life always so busy? Despite now not working I still seem unable to fit in my blogging as much as I'd like. It heartens me that somehow people are reaching my blog and reading it, but then I worry that I am in fact letting these faceless readers down by not posting regularly enough.  When I think back over the last 5 or so weeks I have good reason to not have been as active. There was recovery from DD's birthday, which I'm learning can lead to a delay in Christmas prep which in turn delivered almost the same last minute panic of the previous two years. Add to that the continued renovations to the basement, Christmas itself and throw in a little bit of potty training, and here we are - mid January.

The potty training I'm pleased to report is faring well. All the advice I should of listened too is right. Little ones will learn when they are ready to learn and no healthy child starts school still wearing nappies. It's a relief to not be chastising myself for forgetting to change another heavy, full nappy. It's a joy when my daughter takes herself off to the loo and then triumphantly announces another success! But I am getting a bit weary of wee soaked clothes and trips out into the cold to the washing machine that's still in the shed!

However the relocation of said washing machine is a light I'm beginning to see at the end of the tunnel that has been our building work! By the end of January I should be able to safely go downstairs without getting covered in dust and more importantly normal laundry services should resume! I had a feeling of joy this week as I spent time negotiating with carpet factories, tile ware houses and trades people. A bit of a buzz to remind me of the parts of my old life I enjoyed - the sense of good feeling that you'd got a good deal, the satisfaction of saving money by spending money!  I felt a small quiver of excitement! But I will be glad when this work is done. Having to look respectable first thing in the morning in case you bump into a builder, plumber or electrician is wearing a bit thin! But the sense of achievement when we get this new 'space' to add to the rest of our gorgeous house will be great.

Since my last post we've started a new schedule with the nursery of daily three hour sessions in the afternoons! And second week in I'm so glad that we didn't start our new life this way as I'm not loving it at all. Although there is no distance at all to get to nursery, those three hours fly by. It also means I am  preparing and supervising every meal time. How I long for the last few months when I was able to drop DD off for breakfast at school and not have to return to pick her up till tea time. It was only two days a week but I got so much done! One day for housework and one day for ME! Somehow having only three hours a day just isn't cutting it. 

And for DD too! Everyday we are dealing with cries of "I don't wanna go" but I know she's enjoying it once she's there. The other day I picked her up to be met by a green moustache under her nose! Her carer explained they'd not realised what she was up to until too late and they'd tried to revove the mark on her face with a wipe. What they failed to inform me of was that under her coated arms and gloved hands was a tattooed lady who needed scrubbing with force at bath time! She thought it was hilarious - the pen marks not the scrubbing! It's all about pushing boundaries and self expression I realise, but without that two day break, I'm seeing less and less of the funny side. DB has seen this coming and, bless him, he's taken to taking DD out early on a Saturday and only returning at lunchtime. Again this I'd only a few hours but something about not having to prep and supervise just one meal a week is pure bliss! Thank you hubs! 

And with that I must sign off. Hopefully not too long before I pop back again. Thanks as always for reading. X

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Good Housekeeping - the irony

So my blog has been viewed over 2000 times! Yay! Fabulous news. Hope its not just my mum pressing refresh all the time!

Its also a good time to celebrate this new venture as this week I am featured in Good Housekeeping magazine in a feature in their January issue giving readers some ideas/nudges to make changes to their lives for the better (today's top tip - I bought my copy of the mag in Tesco today for £2,99 instead of £3.99!). The irony that I have become a 'housewife' is not lost on me, just not sure I'm a good one yet!

I was interviewed at the end of September and went to London for a photoshoot at the start of October, so was still full of the joys of my new life. Happily I can still hold my head up high and agree with the sentiment I had then. I can't quite believe where the last year has gone and how much we, as a family have packed in, but here we are counting down to Christmas and the New Year. If what I am doing can 'inspire' (slightly uncomfortable with that word and me) then so be it - if you need a nudge to get on  and take a leap into the unknown, then here I am nudging you. I can't quite believe I didn't agree to moving up here sooner. I'm still feeling blessed.

I wish my parenting was as blessed as the rest of my new life. With the change to a new year for my DD, she seemed to be replaced with a child I did not recognise. Not sure if this is a result of all the food colouring i had in her birthday cake. Not heard reports yet of the other kids being more of a handful since the party? But I'm quite sick of counting to three, of threatening that Santa/Father Christmas isn't going to visit us, of resorting to shouting. Ugh! And with no work to escape to, the rosy glow for this new life certainly got a bit tainted this week. So I'm seeing that there are benefits of being a working mother. I think that by having that 'escape' it gives you, as a mother, a good 'time out' to consider what's been going on at home. You can also discuss things with fairly impartial work colleagues and get a different take on how you can change the general high tension at home before bed time! But its about that balance that I just wasn't able to achieve.

As it is I'm not yet too ingrained into the local mum network to vent too greatly when at the various playgroups or church we attend and having DD in tow limits how much I can vent. This morning was a blinder. DD suddenly went from a fairly happy child to one determined to show us up. All because I drew a squiggle on the back of drawing DD had done in little church. On rejoining the main congregation and typically just as the priest got to the fairly serious, quiet part of mass, DD chose that time to tell me (and all the congregation) that she had "a sore botty"! As I struggled to get her under control (my hushes, hushed right back at me) I realised with some new clarity why most parents sit at the back of church with their kids. Unlike me, being fresh and new to the community I've chosen each week to sit near the front (more to do with my eyesight than anything else). Thankfully we managed to get to the end of the mass without me self combusting but as we left DD was handed a Christmas cone of chocolate treats from one of the other mums! Argh - more treats on top of all the ones she'd had for the last week due to birthday well wishers. She's never going to learn.
So I confiscated them! Up to the top shelf of the larder - away from little arms. But with the promise that she could have them back IF she showed some improvement in her behaviour for the rest of the day. 'Like mother like daughter' I think the saying goes - I'm a chocoholic and if someone confiscated MY chocolate, if killing that person wasn't an option, then doing whatever they ask would probably do it!
So for the first time in a week (I know that doesn't sound long - but I'm used to an angel child) DD said her pleases and thank you's, did what she was asked to do the first time she was asked, ate all her food, didn't fuss at bedtime and was altogether a delight. Is this what its going to take then? Holding back chocolate? We'll have to see how things progress.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year. We bought our first 'real' tree yesterday and I'm waiting to bring it in and put it up, but I still have three boxes of books to unpack to make room in the corner for the monster we bought. I have the lovely mental image of how the room will look especially now we have our new gorgeous sofas. However my mental image did not include a smelly mound of cat vomit right in the middle of this new purchase. Bloody animal. We've had leather sofas for the entirety of her life and she has never, ever vomited on them. But a few weeks into lovely, soft, cozy fabric sofas, and not only have we had the horrid vomit, but mud a plenty! A hazard of living in the countryside? Or just a hazard of having a half finished basement? Christmas is a time of traditions and it seems that we started one last Christmas in the form of 'painting'! Not some wonderous masterpiece, no I mean wall painting! It looks like the basement will, structurally, at least be finished in time for Christmas, allowing us the two week break (from what in my case?) to have the time to paint.
But that's not the bit of Christmas I'm looking forward to. No. I'm looking forward to two whole weeks with my dear husband. What a novelty - adult conversation for the majority of the day as opposed to just a few hours in the evening. And both of us on hand to deal with the no doubt over excited DD who totally 'gets' Christmas this year. That part of her age I love.

Now dear readers (or reader if it is actually just my mum hitting refresh) thank you for taking the time to   get my blog to over 2000 page views. I hope some of what I write is of use or at the very least enjoyable and thanks for letting me air the clutter in my brain.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Hello my name is Moira Barnes!

So in my last post I talked about DD's birthday last year and builders dust.... a full year later and I spent my weekend manically cleaning away builders dust AGAIN! I must be mad. But I feel much more capable of dealing with it this year thankfully. The works on the basement that were scheduled to take seven days to complete ("come on, 7 days?! Really" I said at the time of the initial quote, 'oh yes Mrs Barnes, definitely") are now entering their second week and look like extending beyond the little ones birthday. But at least I am around during the day to keep a track of what's going on, and shuffle ourselves and our belongings from room to room when needed. It will be worth it not to have the cold damp smell emanating from the basement and will be great to have usable and pleasant rooms for family and friends to stay in. I promise folks it will look better than the below photo soon.

To distract me from the noise (pneumatic drills to dig down several inches to lay cavity drainage membrane and insulation dontchaknow) I have been baking! Trying to get ahead of myself before DD's party on Saturday, I have been trying my hand at making a rainbow layer cake. With mixed results! I am wondering if people, even toddlers will want to eat a sludgey green coloured sponge and despair at how the amount of food colouring might affect 14 screaming kids, making them even more manic than they are bound to be? I'll report back after the weekend. I'm wondering if I really should have succumbed and booked a venue which I reckon after the age of three you need to do. Will my lovely house still look respectable after the party? If the basement was finished I could have shoved them all down there as my brother in law has suggested. Darn builders!
I experienced a lovely birthday party the other weekend, but not a toddlers. My big sis reached a significant age, so great celebration was in order. She wisely chose to hold this in a restaurant, Tiggis in Lytham St Anne's. We had an upstairs area to ourselves so while us grown ups enjoyed a glass or two of fizz the little uns (there are a few) had free reign to run around like crazy. Why I bother getting DD dressed up in pretty party wear I'll never know as before the night was out she was down to her vest up top! My other sister held her 6 years olds party at a soft play centre and reported that it was great just to sit back and let others take charge. So note to self, to encourage even less stress in this new life, let's book a venue for next year.

I've not written about my experience at Blogfest the other week yet. Mainly because I had mixed views. I didn't help myself by getting there late, arriving at the wrong venue led to that tardiness! The morning started off well enough. Richard Bacon chairing a debate about internet trolls, with some truly scary stories that had me wondering why I'm putting myself out there. Prof Tania Byron was excellent and really made my brain light up. Jon Ronson was brilliant with his swearing but mind blowing with his personal story of 'identity theft' by an autobot! We had lunch, networked and 'bumped' name badges. But in the afternoon I went to a few 'how to sessions' and got totally confused and worried about what I was doing. I was feeling a little disheartened but then had a very brief but useful one to one with Mammasaurus Annie Spratt who told me not to worry but enjoy. Feeling a little buoyed I went back into the main hall and entered a very ugly debate with the audience baying for blood. Very uncomfortable. But Jo Brand got everyone back on track and the day ended. I returned home however wondering if it had been worth the £75 plus horrific car journey down to London. I reassured myself that in a couple of days I'd get my 'bumped' contacts through so that would be great. But no, Blendology had used an incorrect email address and an excuse of "oops - sorry, I have problems reading" as the reason for the mistake! Great! So I need to 'reach out' to my fellow bumpers to say "hey, hi, we met!".
Thankfully I'm learning that the world of blogging is such that a little light can lead the way and encourage you anew. I came across a blog from Twins Plus Two. She wrote a great post about how blogging for her was a way to assert her individuality and reclaim herself, time for her away from being a parent and a way of hanging onto a part of life that takes a back seat because you are a parent. I loved it. It reminded me I am doing this for me and no-one else. So what if I'm using one platform over another, so what if it was not really worldwide wisdom but just my own thought process that I'm writing about. It shouldn't matter. I posted her a comment and she wrote back "Blogging doesn't need to be for a higher purpose to be valid, relevant and purposeful. Get writing again!". 

Then again tonight I had a response to my last post from (no relation) telling me to "just enjoy it and keep writing. It's a lovely blog to read". I'm beaming! Thank you. I've had lots of encouragement from family and friends but to get lovely feedback from a stranger is fabulous and both bloggers have helped reboot my system. Hurrah. 

So I'll do as was advised and I'll get writing and try and not leave long hiatus between each post. I'll also use the great advice from Annie Spratt and connect to fellow bloggers, soaking up their experienced ways and learning from other like minded people. I'm a blogger and a mummy. I'm also Moira Barnes.