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. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

An early Christmas present

Where does the time go? How can it possibly be November and almost MID November at that? I confessed to DB the other night that I hadn't written a post in weeks, mainly because I'm worried things are now a bit boring and I'm coming across as a bit smug. I apologise if I am doing either of these things. And maybe I should write about the things I am finding frustrating over the constant feeling that I have that I am LOVING where we've moved to. But he suggests I try to do a bit of both. As while I am loving where we've moved to and the constant similarities with my life as a care free nanny in New England 17 years ago (only without the same energy levels) I do also have things I am worried about. 

The main one being that dirty word..... money. As now I am into my third month of not receiving a paycheck and we are having to spend great swathes of money (basement works) I am now wondering how the lovely rosy glow of 'stay at home mum' status will last. I need to economise but it's hard. I now have more time on my hands to enable me to mooch around shops like I've not done in years, but every time I spend money I have palpitations and wonder if we really do need that or this. In an attempt not to spend money I stay at home. But the flip side of this is I start to go stir crazy and am not a very happy mummy when everyone gets home. Yesterday I should have been cleaning the house as Wednesday is my 'cleaning day' (who'd have thought, once upon a time!) but I just couldn't muster up the energy. Mainly because I was troughing through the chocolate fudge brownies DD and I made on Tuesday! I'm cooking delicious meals for my family using the great ingredients I've taken time to source from different shops. But I'm too full of junk to enjoy them myself! I'm going to be the size of this house come Christmas! 

And then Christmas - I love Christmas. I always have, but another thing I've come to realise is I'm always trying to recreate the Christmas I had in New England when I was a nanny. I build myself up into such a frenzy trying to get things perfected that I inevitably have a massive row with poor DB around about Christmas Eve! Christmas usually equals money of course, so I'm worrying about how we'll do this year. But it surely has to be better than last years run up to Christmas. I was a nightmare to live with. We were having building work done on our London house so dust everywhere, it was DD's second birthday, I was coming to terms with the failure of another round of IVF and I was exhausted from working full time for a year. I actually asked DB if he wanted to divorce me as I wouldn't blame him if he did. We were barely speaking to one another come mid December but bizarrely my mum having a mini stroke just before Christmas seemed to start a healing process. DB rallied around me and insisted we go to my mums for Christmas Day instead of going to his mums as had been our first plan. He packed and did all the driving and kept asking me if I was ok. We spent a lovely few days with my mum who thankfully seemed to make a rapid recovery and then headed over to his mums and just relaxed and were a family again. 
Not rushing here or rushing there. My MIL and DD baked cookies together and I sat back and soaked it all up. This is what our life should be like. Slower, relaxed and family orientated. So as we drove away from my MIL's on a crisp New Years Eve morning last year, we passed a 'for sale' sign on what is now our lovely home and a plan started to hatch, that I still can't believe seems to have all come together. 

As a I write this it's quite therapeutic, a little self indulgent, but is a great reminder that yes, some things in life do cost money, like getting drains fixed, getting a damp basement dry, feeding a family, but what's more important is my husband and I have turned our life around. We are happier, calmer people; our daughter is a constant delight and has settled in so well in this new life; and we as a couple are stronger than ever. Now that is priceless, an early Christmas present.