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{The Ordinary Moments 14} #39 'This Is Motherhood.'

on Sunday, 19 October 2014.

On Friday afternoon I got the girls up from their nap and within minutes they were both screaming.  Not just crying, or having a tantrum, but really really screaming, which in itself is pretty rare for both of them.  LL eventually calmed down, but poor Mads carried on sobbing, while clutching her ear in pain.  I tried to reason with her, to cuddle her, to comfort her, but nothing was working.  After realising she wasn't going to settle, I rang the emergency doctor and headed down there to get them to check her out.

I rang my Mum in slight despair at the noise and stress of the situation, and on hearing Mads and LL crying in the background, she came to my rescue.  She sat with Mads on her lap, holding her tight, doing her Grandma duties, while I cuddled LL.  She came in while the doctor checked them over, and after diagnosing both with bad coughs, high temperatures, and poor Mads with a severe ear infection, she took me to Sainsbury's and bought us 'essential medical supplies' such as antibiotics, ice cream, ice lollies, diet coke and sweets.  

She then came back to my house which I had left in a hurry and in a complete state and she cleaned up around me while I cuddled my poorly ladies close on the sofa.  She got on her hands and knees and scrubbed a rather disgusting cat poo off my carpet (thanks Walter!), she changed the litter tray, she hoovered and she helped me sort out the girls.  She pottered around for an hour or so, before giving me a cuddle and leaving us to it, as Mr E was out for the evening.

As I lay in our bed a little later on, my arms tightly round Mads who was whimpering and crying in her sleep, while playing with my ear as she so often does for comfort, I thought back to my Mum.  Those simple gestures, those things she does for me day in and day out, that show us just how much she cares.  How she comes up to my house and grabs a load of my washing, takes it back and irons it just to help me out.  How earlier in the week when we were all feeling under the weather she told us to come up to hers.  She helped the girls paint while I sat back, had a break and ate beans on toast.  How easily it is ingrained in her to take care of us, even now.  How these things are so small that sometimes I don't even notice them, but that when I take a second to think about it, I realise just how much she does.  

This is motherhood.

It's not always plain sailing.  It's not always about picture perfect photos, happy days out and ticking off milestones.  It's about having that instinct in you to know when your children need you, whatever age they are.   It's about the simple things, the ordinary moments and the little gestures.  And as soon as you take that little person in your arms the moment they are born, you learn what it is like to love someone unconditionally.  Through the amazing times, the rough times, the ordinary times and the day to day times.  

We have had a fair few moments like that this week.  Moments where I have felt this raw emotion that comes with being a mother.  Like when I was cuddling in bed with Mads, letting her play with my ear pretty much all night long even though it actually hurts a little sometimes and meant I couldn't sleep.  Or realising a poorly LL had fallen asleep on me and not moving for an hour because I was relishing that feeling of having her so close to me.  It's these moments, that technically are supposed to be tough, that are genuinely the sweetest.  To feel that satisfaction and utter love that comes with being the one my babies need.  That I am the one that makes it all better.

Sometimes I think about how fast the time is going and it almost takes my breath away.  It makes me feel so sad to think that one day my girls might not need me, or that I might not be their whole world.  The thought of it makes me get tears in my eyes and I will the days, months and years to not pass so quickly.  But then I think about my own Mum.  About how she would drop anything to look after us.  All the simple, little things she does to help us.  About how at thirty years old, I still need her.  And I know that she is there.  She always was.

I hope one day my girls will look back and remember not only the big holidays, fun days out, or exciting times.  I hope they will remember the ordinary and the not so good ones too.  How I held back their hair as they were sick, how I cuddled them close and held them as they cried.  How I would do anything for them and about how I loved them unconditionally.

Because that is motherhood.

 

asleepLLoct14

 

My Second Half Marathon and My Fitness Mission for September.

on Thursday, 16 October 2014.

Technically I am cheating a little with this months post because I am behind in writing about my fitness in September and I only completed my second half marathon the weekend just gone.  But as I am still on a complete high I have decided to merge the two together.

On Sunday I ran my second ever half marthon, taking part alongside 3786 other runners in the Perkins Great Eastern Run.  I hadn't been well during the week and was still not feeling 100 percent, so was not sure how I would get on, but under strict instructions from Mr E to stop if I felt unwell at any point, I decided to give it a go.  

I was so nervous before hand as it was the first 'proper' race I had done, with my previous 10k and half marathon being local events with under 500 runners.  I am not particularly great with crowds, but actually the race was really well organised and I felt pretty good as I lined up next to the other participants.  And that was it, we were off.  The first couple of miles were quite hard work, having not run regularly this month, but I soon got into the swing of things and I actually really enjoyed myself.   The course was great, with lots to look at because of it's city centre location and nice and flat as well. 

It was a totally different atmosphere to my previous races, with lots of crowd support and people lining the streets.  It actually made me a little teary and emotional on a couple of occasions, as people were high fiving you and cheering along the route, even offering jelly babies for a sugar fix.  I felt really well and the time went pretty quickly, until mile ten when I started to feel tired. 

Miles eleven and twelve were the hardest, my legs felt so heavy and I just wanted it to be over, but once I reached mile 13 I knew the end was in sight and I happily crossed the finish time in an official time of 1.51.05, and came 262nd out of 1468 women racing.  I still can't quite believe that I managed that time, that's seven minutes faster than my first one in August.

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Pre/Post race supplies- I took gels properly for the first time and actually think they worked pretty well, although I have no clue how to fuel properly.

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Post run, major high,  'I got a shiny medal'  (red) face. 

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With my girlies.

 

And here is my fitness mission for September...

 

Exercise

September was a funny old month for me in terms of exercise.  We didn't have a working bathroom for almost three weeks, which meant we were having a fair few washes in the downstairs toilet or begging family, so as such my usual running routine of (usually) twice a week slowed down a bit.  Indeed looking at my app for September, it says I only ran four times which is pretty poor.  

I still did the odd kettlebell session in the evening, just for ten minutes or so, but even that was a little less than normal, about once or twice a week.  However I am not too concerned as we have been so busy the last few weeks, hopefully life will get back to our normal routine and therefore so will my exercise.  Because of this lack of running, I am still shocked I managed to run the half marathon as well as I did.

 

Food

Likewise my diet hasn't been too good this month.  We have been eating out a lot, which means I can't resist dessert or yummy dinners.  However I really have changed my mindset when it comes to food, meaning if I have a few days of non stop eating, I just watch what I eat the next few days after that.  

I am still struggling a little with this mystery illness that I have had the last few months and as such I may have lost slightly too much weight, as I obviously struggle to eat when I am sick, so I am now focusing on maintaining the weight I am now rather than losing anymore.  Overall though, I am happy with what I am eating, we generally eat relatively healthily with the odd treat here and there.


Overall


September wasn't the best month in terms of my fitness, but it is part of my lifestyle now so I can afford to do more some months and less the others depending on how busy we are.  Bar my sickness episodes, for which I am now under hospital care for, I feel the healthiest I have ever been.  I feel strong, have so much energy and still feel so passionate about running.  I can't believe how much it has changed my life and I have already signed up for a few more races to keep me motivated throughout the winter months.

 

A Day Trip To Palma With Thomson Airways- A Flight On The 787 Dreamliner

on Tuesday, 14 October 2014.

Anyone who regularly reads my blog will know that I am obsessed with travel.  Before our two little ladies came along, any extra money we had would be saved towards our next weekend away or holiday.  I even decided after university that I wanted to work in the travel industry, specialising in online marketing for a large online hotel reservations website for six years until I had Mads.  

As such I have been lucky enough to travel to a fair few places in this big wide world of ours-   Thailand, New York, Barbados and Mexico being just a few of them.  However there is one thing that you might not know about me- I really don't like flying!  It wouldn't ever stop me going away but I have never particularly enjoyed it and since I had the girls I have got worse.  I really am not a good flyer at all- I feel uncomfortable in the air and get anxious before I am due to travel.

Therefore when Thomson Airways invited me to go on a day trip to Palma in Majorca on their new 787 Dreamliner, I originally jumped at the chance to experience it.  But as the time drew nearer I wondered whether two flights in a day might not be the best thing for someone who isn't particuarly keen on flying.  I need not have worried, I had the most amazing day courtesy of Thomson, and they actually have helped me with my flying nerves a little as well.

Here are some phone photos of our fantastic day to Palma, I so wish I had bought my big camera...

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We were greeted in Gatwick airport by some of the Thomson team- and were excited to get aboard the 787 Dreamliner, alongside a few other bloggers and some journalists.  Thomson were one of the first companies in the UK to fly the jet- a state of the art plane that is changing the future of travel.

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The weather in the UK was particularly horrendous on Wednesday last week- it made our adventure seem even more special!

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We were in premium economy on board the Dreamliner, but all passengers can expect some wonderful features on board- including bigger seats, a quieter flight (so much quieter!), more oxygen, and a fantastic entertainment package.  I only wish I wasn't feeling poorly so I could have indulged in a morning glass of champagne!

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The Dreamliner has mood lighting, which means it can be in tune with your body clock for day and dusk.  But it also can do a pretty cool special effects lighting show too.  It's like a disco on a plane!  

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Best plane breakfast ever!  While eating the delicious breakfasts in the air, we learnt all about Thomson Airway's plans for the future of holiday travel.  Some exciting features in the pipeline including family zone seating, (similar to that on a train with a table in the middle) couple pods, specially trained kids club flight attendants and a beach bar for premium economy passengers.  All the ideas sound incredibly exciting and I can't wait to see them in action.

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My lovely seat partner, the gorgeous Xanthe.

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We got a chance to go in the cockpit which was exciting (like when you were allowed to years ago!) and we got plenty of time to chat to the MD of Thomson Airways, Captain John Murphy, who was really passionate about their upcoming plans.  It was also great to chat to him about flying, and it was really interesting to chat to him about the Dreamliner and Thomson in general.

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An amazing flight on the Dreamliner and we were greeted by blue skies on arrival in Palma.  Such a welcome change from the rain back home. 

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Not a bad place to go for lunch- we went to a lovely restaurant overlooking Palma harbour.

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 It was great chatting to the people on my table over lunch and getting to know more about TUI and their respective brands.

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Lunch was amazing, I had perfectly cooked steak for my main course and I may have eaten one of each of these desserts.  If you are in Palma then the restaurant Ca n'eduardo is well worth visiting.

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After lunch we had some time to wander around Palma for a bit- myself and lovely Alison headed down to the Marina with some of the other ladies.  It was so nice to feel the sun on our shoulders and Palma really is a beautiful city- I wish there had been longer to explore.

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It was so lovely to spend some quality time with this lady.  I would definitely recommend going to the harbour if you go as it was great seeing all the big yachts and fishing boats side by side.

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Sunshine selfies.

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It was so nice to get in the sun, even for a few hours, especially as the weather has been so horrible here the last few days.

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Back on board the Dreamliner with the other bloggers on our trip- Alison, Nicky from Thomson, Xanthe, Poppy, Daisy and Joelle.

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 As part of their premium economy service Thomson offer a delicious warm cookie, a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows and a REAL duvet which was an absolute treat.  The flight home was a lot quieter with not so much chatting, and as I snuggled down I realised it is the most relaxed I have felt on a flight in years.  I really felt calm and actually enjoyed my time in the air.

 

All in all it was a fantastic day, such an adventure and I loved every minute of it.  Thomson have some really impressive plans ahead for the future and have a five year plan to become 'the holiday airline.'  From flying to new destinations, such as Costa Rica and parts of the Caribbean such as Antigua and St Lucia, (yes please!) to a completely personalised service with an iPad enabled crew, the plans definitely seem exciting, especially for parents travelling with children.  

It's certainly not every day you fly over 1000 miles away for lunch, but it was such a treat from start to finish.  A massive thanks to Thomson for a truly wonderful day with some great people.

 

NB.  I wasn't asked to write about our time in Palma but I had such a great time I just had to share!

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #38 'Far More Happy Moments...'

on Sunday, 12 October 2014.

I've found this week pretty hard.

When I type those words, I instantly want to delete them, to write about something else, to stop being so dramatic.  I am well aware that my 'pretty hard' weeks are pretty flimsy and mild in comparison to other people's 'pretty hard' weeks.  When I type those words, I feel like a fraud, that in reality I don't have any right to complain, or moan, and that I should feel thankful for what I have.  I know how lucky I am, and then I feel cross with myself for feeling this way.

It's not been anything in particular that has made me feel like this.  The girls have on the whole been pretty good, bar the usual typical moments of strops, inevitable tiredness, or brief difficult ten minutes that come with parenting a three and a one year old.  In fact, I had a lovely day away on Wednesday, (more about that later this week) but for some reason I haven't been able to shake this mood I am in.

One major reason is that I have been poorly.  It's not something I particularly write about on this here blog of mine, but I have been suffering on and off with horrible episodes of sickness and cramps for months.  This week it has been particularly bad, and on Thursday after a few nights of restless sleep, I was left feeling tired, grumpy and a little anxious.  I let it build up, had a good cry and then felt better for it instantly.  

And that's the thing.  Sometimes it's good to feel a little self indulgent.  To have 'one of those days' even though you know how lucky you are.  To have a cry, or a moan, or be a little over dramatic.  To accept that you are being silly, or a little over the top.  To know that deep down, you have it pretty damn good.

If you don't ever feel a little emptiness from time to time, for whatever reason, then you wouldn't ever know the satisfaction of feeling full again.  So on Thursday, when I was feeling pretty ill and rubbish, we headed outside just for a little bit to get some fresh air.  To brush away the cobwebs and that feeling you get when you have slight cabin fever.

Seeing my beautiful girls, walking hand in hand, in their matching outfits, was enough to snap me out of my funny old mood.  

Because for all those 'pretty hard' moments?

There are definitely far more happy ones.

matchinglittlebird

 

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