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{The Ordinary Moments 14} #10 'A Not So Ordinary Birthday'

on Sunday, 09 March 2014.

my30thbirthday

Since having our girls, myself and Mr E haven't really celebrated birthdays like we used to.  Of course we acknowledge the milestone, buy each other a little pressie and a card, and perhaps go out for a meal or have dinner round my Mum's house.  But gone are the days where all our pennies would go on extravagant gestures or weekends away.

However this weekend I celebrated a rather important birthday.  Not quite so important as twenty one, or forty and definitely not as important as sixty.  But thirty is still a cause for some sort of celebration.  And celebrate is exactly what we have been doing.  

From the second I woke up on Friday morning I have been treated like a princess by my husband, who really is one of the most thoughtful people on the earth nearly every day of the year but even more so on special occasions.  I have been spoilt with many surprises- gorgeous gifts, lunches and dinners with my nearest and dearest, and also with a night away (today as you read this) in Oxfordshire which is our first night away in three years just the two of us.  To say I am excited is an understatement.

I no doubt will do a blog post with more detail of what we got up to, although as yet I haven't taken that many photos, mainly because I have been too busy eating cake!  But my Ordinary Moment for this week had to be of me blowing out the candles out on my birthday cake.  I could never ever have imagined at twenty where I would be at thirty. 

My twenties has on the whole been a fantastic decade.  I went from being twenty and in my final year at uni, to starting work in a bar in Leeds where I was pursued by a lovely man who turned out to be my husband.  (You can read how we met here if you are interested but it's probably a little long and boring!) We had some crazy years, got serious jobs, moved to London, moved to Cambridgeshire, settled down and bought a house, got married and became parents to two amazing little people.  

It's been a great ten years.  I don't regret a thing (except going on sunbeds- fake it don't bake it people) and I would do it all again a million times over.  My thirties have got a tough act to follow, but as long as I have my little family by my side, I genuinely couldn't be happier.  Life isn't a fairytale full of rainbows and sunshine, and you never know what could be round the corner, but our rather ordinary, not very exciting life is good enough for me.

 And as I inwardly cringed as the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday to me on Friday evening, I realised that all those past wishes I have made on every other candle in the last ten years have come true.  Because ultimately all I wished for is to have exactly what I have got.

Ordinariness and all.

 

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{The Ordinary Moments 14} #9 'Meh'

on Sunday, 02 March 2014.

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I don't know if 'Meh' is actually a word as classified by the English Dictionary, but that is definitely the kind of week I have had this week.  Not bad, not particularly good.  Just meh.  So so.  Mediocre.

Yesterday I panicked thinking that I hadn't taken a single photo on my big camera this week, and hardly any on my iPhone either.  This is quite unusual for me as if I haven't taken many on my DSLR I normally at least I have taken lots on my phone, but it just hasn't happened this past week.  We went out to the most gorgeous little tea room yesterday and I took my camera, before realising that I had forgotten the memory card.  Total fail.  I was cross with myself, before actually stepping back and thinking that I shouldn't force these things.  

The reality is I haven't felt like taking photos this week.  It's been a really hectic one, we are in the midst of having our living room redecorated and as such it's been a bit stressful with two small people needing entertaining while ceilings are replastered, electricians are rewiring and walls are painted.  Our entire house has been turned upside down and although it will be more than worth it in the end, it's been a long week. 

To top it all it's been another one full of germs.  Mads has had a poorly week, I have never felt her so hot as she was at the start, and she just hasn't been herself.  All she wanted to do was snuggle on the sofa and watch TV, but unfortunately because of the decorating that just wasn't possible.  Mr E came down with it towards the end of the week, and had to have a day off work which rarely happens and as I am typing this I am also feeling pretty out of sorts.   Our TV and broadband also stopped working at the start of the week, which wasn't ideal when you work from home and have a poorly girl who just wants to relax. 

But between the hecticness and the bugs, we have had some nice times.  It hasn't been tough, just not one of our best weeks.  Just 'meh'.  

The above photo was literally one of the only photos I took this week.  It's an iPhone jobby again, but I love it all the same.  I find that while obviously I prefer the photos I take with my big camera, you can easily capture much more emotion and rawness using a camera that isn't quite so in your face.  

After bathtime and story time, we cuddle.  That's just what we do.  All four of us snuggled up in our bed having a cuddle.  LL is getting so much more interactive nowadays and will now cuddle into you and say 'Ahhh'.  She loves bare skin and will often pull down my top so that she can lay next to the warmth of my skin.  It's very sweet. 

Mads loves to cuddle her sister.  And we love to cuddle them both.

So that's what we do. And even when you have had a 'meh' day, wrapping your arms round these two little ladies before they go off to the land of nod makes everything feel instantly better.

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Thank you as always to everyone who joins in The Ordinary Moments.  I love seeing people's every day life each week.  As with any linky, it works because people interact, comment and support each other.  If you have five minutes while the kids are asleep, or in the morning with a brew, do comment on a couple of other posts.  We all know comments are like crack for bloggers. ;) And do check back in the week as people often add posts later.

 

 

Me and Mine: A Family Portrait Project 2014- February.

on Friday, 28 February 2014.

February the shortest month of the year, has whizzed by in a blur of birthdays, fun and a whole lot of germs.  We started off the month with a joint birthday party, followed by LL's actual birthday on the 11th.  Since then we have had a fair few days out with friends, and some quiet weekends mixed in with the hecticness.  It's been our first month of both girls being in nursery two long mornings a week, and as a family it has really been a positive step.  I get more time to do freelance work, which means I have more time in the evenings to relax or do housework- meaning I am a better Mummy during the day.  

Without looking back on the past too much, last February's photo is very special to me.  It is the very first photo of us as a four.  Whereas January was poignant for the fact it was the last photo of us as a three, February 2013 was even more sentimental due to the fact that it is the first photo of our complete little family.

meandminefeb

The photo itself is rather horrendous.  I look like, well I look like I have just had a baby.  I have the telltale signs of a new mother- I look absolutely knackered and was hobbling around post c-section.  LL was two weeks old in this photo and try getting a fourteen day old baby to look at the camera, it just isn't going to happen.  But still even though we all look a little overwhelmed and shell shocked, I am so proud of this photo, and it sits in a little frame by my bed after Mr E brought me it as a Mother's Day present.  

Fast forward a year and haven't things changed...  

meandminefeb14

We still look knackered but have learnt to hide it well.  And look how grown up my little ladies are.

This photo was taken in Cambridge on one of our quiet weekends.  I am very lucky to have this beautiful place as the nearest city to us, and as such we often go on days out there at the weekend.  I worked there for five years and now I no longer do, I really miss going there all the time.  Every family has their little routines, structures and habits, and one of ours is to get up early, have a wander round the shops, go for a yummy cake, before having a play in the parks or walk by the river.   Then it's time for a nice lunch out, before going home for an afternoon nap.  I relish these quiet weekends with my little family. 

Turns out getting a twelve month old and a three year old to look at the camera is almost as hard as getting a fourteen day old to look.  Neither of my girls are looking at the camera this month, probably because the bridge was so busy and they were looking at all the people walking past.  Still I love this photo as it is a really special place to us.  Plus I love the light and the punters in the background.  If you haven't been to Cambridge, then you should definitely pay a visit and go punting, it is so much fun.  We are going to try and take Mads this summer as I think she will love it.  

Bar the germs of which there have been many, February has been a pretty wonderful time.  I am looking forward to seeing what March has in store of us, including a special birthday for me, and hopefully some slightly more Spring like weather.  

Until next month....

 

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This month I am sending you over to have a look at Becky's blog.  It's full of gorgeous photography, and if you haven't checked it out, you most certainly won't be disappointed. 

(You can check out all my other family photos here.)

 

'My Fitness Mission' - February.

on Tuesday, 25 February 2014.

February is almost behind us and so it is time to reflect on how I have been doing on my fitness mission this month.  March is the month in which I turn thirty, a milestone which I have mixed feelings about.  On one hand, most of my closest friends have already surpassed the big 30, but yet at the same time I still cannot quite fathom that I am leaving my 20's behind. 

I have done most of the things I wanted to do in my 20's really- I went to uni and spent a fair few years drinking and going out non stop, I have travelled the world (although not as much as I would like to have done), lived the high life in London, had a great career and settled back near where I grew up, got married and had two beautiful girls.  I wouldn't change one second of it.  But still I wonder if somewhere subconciously in my mind, this new fitness regime is a response to me leaving my twenties behind.

Anyway, after a great start in January this month has been more steady...

 

Exercise.


The big thing that has happened to me this month is that I am becoming addicted to running.  After hurting my knee in January and not being able to do as much, this month I have been injury free and become more and more obsessed with the feeling that running gives me.  At the start of January I didn't even think I would be able to run half a mile but yet this month I have been running 7 miles in one go.  It's completely crazy, and totally out of character for me.  

I can only really run about two or three times a week due to time, and with the weather being so dark and cold in the evenings I have been unable to go out on my own for long distances so I usually run 5k at least one evening a week in well lit areas near where I live, and then do a longer run of 10k+ at the weekend.  I don't know what it is but I absolutely love the feeling of running.  Don't get me wrong, it's hard to drag myself out the door, and it hurts like hell pushing myself, but once I am out there listening to my music I just feel really free and alive.  And then once it is done I feel so good although my legs hurt for a couple of days afterwards.  What on earth has happened to me?

In order to push myself even more I have done something that I never ever thought I would do.  I have signed up to three races- a 10k charity race in June and two half marathons in August and October.  A half marathon?  I cannot believe it!  I am so hoping that I can train and complete these, and if I do I will feel so proud of myself.  As an added target, I have decided to complete these races for charity- most specifically The Lullaby Trust who promote safer sleeping practices and research into SIDS.  I want to do it in honour of Matilda Mae and let another blogger Jennie know how much I have thought about her the last year.  Plus I will also be climbing Snowdon in August to help support one of my friends Kara and her superstar little boy.  More on these in another post!

Gym wise, I haven't been as much due to time, but I have been here and there, I need to try and find a balance where I am exercising three times a week but doing a mixture of everything.  I generally go to the gym with my sister but she has been on late shifts at work the past couple of weeks.

 

Food.

 

My diet hasn't been quite as good this month.  I am still eating smaller portions and watching what I eat, but it's been hard to resist the treats this month.  LL turned one and we had a lot of cupcakes in the house, and I also have indulged in a fair few sweet treats here and there, not to mention the copious amounts of bubbly I consumed on Valentine's Day.  We have also been out for lunch and dinner a fair few times as well which means that I haven't been as careful. However compared to the what I used to eat, I am being positively saintly.  

I have been trying to eat healthier snacks as I am a real snacker throughout the day, but I don't like fruit or nuts/pulses. I have been eating popcorn instead of crisps, and also have been nibbling on rice cakes instead of biscuits but when Mr E has sweet things in the house I can't help but have some.  It sounds strange but I think I boredom eat a lot of the time, and because I am lucky that I have two girls who sleep a couple of hours in the afternoon, I do eat just cause there is nothing else to do.

We are really boring when it comes to our evening meals, sticking to what we know and like, but I still am trying to eat healthier by thinking about what we eat a bit more.  I also cannot stop drinking diet coke as much as I try.  I know it is so bad for me and I didn't drink it at all while I was pregnant, but as I am not treating my sweet tooth as much in some ways, this is definitely my guilty pleasure.

 

Overall

 

I am delighted and astonished that this month I hit my overall weight loss target for the whole year.  On the 1st January 2014 I was 10 stone 1 and wanted to get down to 9 stone in 2014.  I weighed myself at the gym on the 18th February as I don't have scales at my house, and I am now exactly 9 stone.  I cannot believe it, and I now weigh as much as I did before I got pregnant with Mads.  However I have still got a very rounded tummy and so I really need to start some exercises that will help me with my diastasis recti- my core is so so weak.  I have lost weight everywhere but my tummy, and I do definitely believe that I have a ab separation from my big babies and c-section, although I still have lost three and a half inches from around my waist.

Overall I am thrilled with my progress, and cannot wait to see what March will bring.  I have never exercised properly before and I am loving this change in lifestyle.  If you had told me even two months ago that I would have been signing up for a half marathon I would have told said you were bonkers, and I am just determined to make 2014 the year I push myself and change my life.

documenting my running and fitness journey

 You can check out my Fitness Mission for January here.  

 

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