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Articles tagged with: Day to Day Life

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #16 'Against The Garage Door'

on Sunday, 19 April 2015.

Around a year ago now I randomly decided to start taking photos of my girls as we left the house each morning.  I don't really know why I started doing it, I just decided to take a photo one day as Mads was wearing a particularly sweet outfit, and she wanted to send a picture to 'show Grandma' who had bought it for her.  The next time we did it, LL joined in on the photo too, and soon I was taking a photo of them on a regular basis.

The location is not exactly glamorous- it's in front of our white, slightly peeling, garage door, but for some reason we have taken a photo in front of it at least a couple of times a week ever since.  My girl's are reasonably good at having their photo taken, especially considering I often have my camera pointed at them, but I find that as soon as my DSLR comes out, if you ask them to look at the camera you inevitably get a silly face or no response at all.  When it comes to my DSLR, it's a lot better to capture them naturally rather than asking them to look.  But bizarrely, they absolutely love taking these iPhone photos in front of our garage door, so for whatever reason it has become a real ordinary moment of ours.

I absolutely love dressing my girls, I am a really big fan of children's fashion and I love finding outfits that match without completely dressing them the same- whether that be colours, styles or other little ways of making them a little coordinated each day.  I know that in years to come I will love looking back at the outfits they used to wear, long after we have given all the old clothes away.

But more than that, I love that by taking a photo of them in the same place each time, I am getting to see how much they are growing and changing.  They are growing at such a drastic rate and I can't quite believe how different they are from even less than a year ago.  I also love capturing funny things they bring out the house with them- they generally always have to bring a toy or some other random little object from home with them when we go out.  Plus of course, I love it when I take a photo of them interacting together or smiling happily.  

It's a strange little tradition to have started, but it's definitely become an every day part of our lives.  Mads and LL leave our front door and straight away walk towards our garage, even when it's a nursery day and we are in a hurry, or I wasn't actually planning on taking a photo of them.  I love that we will have them all to look back on in many years to come. 

against the garage door

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #15 'The Day A Cycle Helmet Made Me Cry.'

on Sunday, 12 April 2015.

As I write this, my heart is beating a little quicker than normal, and my eyelashes are still wet with tears.  Mr E is downstairs preparing a risotto for us all to have for dinner, I am sat in our office supposedly working, and I have two little girls chattering together in the top bunk of their bunk bed, oblivious to the way they have made us feel this afternoon.  

It's late Friday afternoon and a couple of hours earlier Mads happened to spot some of the older children on our street playing out on their bikes.  She has always had a curious fascination with the two little girls who live next to us, as younger children often do with bigger kids, but bar a shy wave or hello if we happen to cross paths outside our front door, that has been it.  I don't know why but this afternoon she asked to go and play on her bike outside with them, and two other older boys who live across the road from us too.  She has never asked us before and being that she has only just turned four we said that she could, but that she couldn't go outside without us being there.

So we duly popped her little cycle helmet on, got out her bike and scooter, and Mr E pottered around our front garden pretending to weed, all the while watching her.  I was supposed to be working, but I stood at the window and I got the strangest feeling in the pit of my stomach.  A feeling of absolute pride watching her out there interacting with children a good few years older than her, a feeling of nostalgia remembering doing that very thing myself when I was a little girl, a feeling of nerves about the fact that she still isn't completely wise to dangers of cars or roads, but mainly a feeling of sadness about just how fast she is growing up.  My eyes filled with tears and I stood there blinking them away.

I watched Mr E lean down and talk to them all and I heard Mads say 'I am playing with the big boys and girls Daddy' while she was stood next to them.  At four, she is completely innocent, she isn't yet at that stage where she was embarrassed that her Daddy was outside watching her.  She said again excitedly 'I am playing with our neighbours' and they all chatted to Mr E while I watched on at the window.  After a while I went outside myself and sat on the doorstep with LL on my lap.   Watching our little girl riding up and down the street, with the retro ribbons on her handlebars very much the same as I had as a child, and her little helmet wobbling unsteadily on her head made me get butterflies in my tummy.  She had the biggest, most innocent smile on her face and above all she just looked so proud of herself.  Her cheeks were flushed red with excitement and she cycled along on the pavement while they all cycled on the road, as we told her she needed to keep on the path.  None of the other children had a cycle helmet on, to be fair we live in a cul-de-sac and although traffic can whizz round the corner, it's not really like you need to wear a helmet.  But Mads, our little girl, she always wears that blue and pink helmet- she's so very proud of it.  And now that helmet made her appear so little and small compared to her peers.    

After an hour or so, we told her it was time to come in, and she started to cry.  Big, fat tears rolled down her face and her bottom lip trembled as she told us she didn't want to. She did it in front of her new found friends, she doesn't yet have that filter that makes her realise that there are some things you don't do in public, melt downs over nothing being one of them.  She was so desperate to stay out but eventually we got her inside.  We stood in the kitchen and all of a sudden LL came up to her with her favourite toy 'Baa' and held it out for her to cuddle.  She said 'Here are Mads', she knew her big sister was sad and she wanted to make her feel better.

I don't know what came over me but I just burst into tears.  The feeling of experiencing this first milestone, combined with the tenderness in which LL gave Mads her toy, reduced me to sniffling like a baby.  I hugged Mr E and said to him 'I bet you think I am so silly', fully expecting him to proclaim that yes I was indeed a complete crazy person. But to my surprise he said 'I feel entirely the same away- I am not ready for this just yet.'  Indeed, now I am writing this some time later after they have both gone to sleep, Mr E and I have been chatting about it, and I am surprised just how much this small thing has got to him.  He says he feels very emotional about it all- about the prospect of learning to give her that little bit of freedom, of the worry, about the fact that his little girl is growing up so quickly.  

I know that it's probably a little pathetic to get so worked up about her playing outside on the street where we live, but I was just filled with so many emotions.  I still am to be honest.  There's no parenting rule book for this kind of thing and it just took us by suprise a little.  I'm so nervous about all the stages yet to come- teaching her that the world isn't always a lovely place, that there are people that could hurt her.  That not everyone is as kind and as beautiful inside as she is.  I am so sad about her losing that innocence, that pure child like innocence- the way she is proud of her Daddy stood there watching her, the way that she ran to me and hugged me because she was just so damn excited to be playing with the 'big boys and girls'.  

Until now, all our playdates and all her friendships have been closely monitored by us.  The little friends that she has made are mainly due to me being friends with their Mum's- they are chums of circumstance more than anything else.  It sounds ridiculous, but I also worry who she will become friends with at school when we are not there to influence it.  No mother wants their children to be friends with 'those kind of children' or worse still, have your child be the one that other parents are wary of.  The other day we were in the park and I was watching a group of three girls- they must have been about 11 or 12 and they looked so grown up.  They were wearing clothes that I would even wear, or perhaps a couple of years ago I would, their hair was styled in top knots and I am pretty sure they were wearing makeup.  They were playing on a roundabout and it struck me how they were so on the cusp of leaving childhood behind- they looked like teenagers and I overheard them on a couple of occasions about boys, but at the same time they were giggling loudly and freely as they held hands and tried to keep their balance.  That innocence of childhood and that beauty of childhood seems to be getting lost much earlier than when I was younger, I dread to think what it will be like in another ten years.

I'm not ready to let her go and while I know, yes she wil always be my baby, I am going to have let her go and become the little girl she was meant to be without me at her side constantly.  September brings her first year at school and a whole new set of milestones.  She's completely ready, but I am not.  I don't want this stage to be over.  I am not ready to leave these days behind.  I know that there's a lot of excitement to come but that doesn't mean I don't feel painfully sentimental about the fact that my little girl is growing up so quickly.  Bizarrely just this afternoon I bumped into the midwife that was there throughout my pregnancy with Mads.  It seemed like yesterday that I last saw her.  She will have seen countless babies born since then, each special and the most amazing gift to their parents.  Each and every one brand new and ready to start their story.

Leaving the hospital for the first time, the first mouthful of food, and the first steps are just different parts of their story.  The story of their childhood.  As is the first time they proudly forget their shyness and play outside on their street with their new found friends.  I did that, way back in the first few chapters of my own.  It's nothing out of the ordinary, it's just another ordinary milestone and moment ticked off the list, something that will happen on many, many occasions...

It's just another ordinary moment that as a parent feels so very bittersweet.  But to a little girl who has talked of nothing but playing out with her new friends, 'the big children' since she came in, to a little girl who has gone to bed with a bit of a spring in her step and a new found air of confidence and above all to a little girl who is feeling so proud and that little bit more grown up than she did when she went to bed the day before- well to her it's the most exciting of moments indeed.

playing outside for the first time

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #11 'A Topsy Turvy Week.'

on Sunday, 15 March 2015.

It's been one of those weeks here where it's all just been a little bit all over the place- a little topsy turvy.  After a busy weekend last weekend, we moved and cleared all the furniture out of Mads and LL's new rooms on Sunday evening to get it ready for our decorator to come and paint on the Monday.  He painted both rooms for us, including painting our new office space a colour which I decided I didn't like. (so he had to come back the following the day to repaint over it- Mr E wasn't impressed!)  

Once the painting was done 'Operation New Girls Room and New Office Space' officially commenced.  Mr E has spent almost every evening this week building countless flat packed furniture, including wardrobes, chests of drawers and of course a new bunk bed.  It's been a long week, and quite a tiring one too- I am not particularly good when the house is a mess and we have been wading under so much stuff- no room is safe from all the debris while we sort it out.  

LL has been sleeping in a travel cot all week in her old room and Mads has been sleeping in our bed- while I have relished the week of cuddles, she also isn't a particularly attractive bed partner- she kicks, snorts, plays with your ear constantly, and throws the cover off in the middle of the night.  She also has been getting up earlier in the morning's, presumably because she is in the middle of us two. As such I have been a little tired and grumpy, we all have actually.

But the end is in sight and we are so excited.  Yesterday we spent the whole day putting things up, sorting things out and generally trying to get the house back to some sort of order.  Unfortunately LL is a little under the weather which is a shame because Saturday was going to be the first day we put them in the room together- however we have vetoed this idea due to her not being well, but Mads has her first night in the top bunk which she is incredibly excited about.

The photo below is from Wednesday morning when they awoke to discover that the bunk bed fairy had made the bed up for them overnight.  They were so excited, and so far we have been up and down the ladder so many times that I have lost count.  I am a little nervous about them sharing a room- mainly as they are such good sleepers and also because LL hasn't slept in a bed before, but hopefully in a few days time I will be wondering why I was so worried.  Although I have a feeling there's going to be some settling in issues along the way!  Either way I hope sharing a room will bring my sisters even closer than they were before.  

newbunkbeds

 

A Post About Nothing In Particular.

on Wednesday, 04 March 2015.

Do you know sometimes when you have lots of rambling thoughts and things to say, but they don't quite warrant enough space for a post solely on their own?  That's sort of how I am feeling.  In fact that's kind of how my whole mind is feeling at the moment- it's jumbled up, full of random thoughts and I don't seem to be able to focus on anything in particular depth.  

As a family we are about to embark on some seriously exciting and scary changes.  On Friday morning my husband handed his notice in to his work.  He is our main breadwinner and the one secure salary that we have, but as of eight weeks time when his notice period finishes, he will be joining me in the world of working for yourself.  He has worked on freelance projects in his spare time on and off for a long time, but an unexpected opportunity came up for him to have a six month contract to do some work with a company and after much discussion we decided that it was too good to pass up.  It means that he has a certain amount of stability for six months and it gives him time to build a name for himself, before he is very much on his own and it is up to him to find new clients.  We are actually starting a business together- our skills very much go hand in hand, he is a designer, I work in online marketing, and so it makes sense to combine the two.  I have my freelance life already so that won't change, but I will become a partner in his new company too- it's all very official and exciting, but incredibly scary too.  

I am so excited for him and I am excited for our family.  It isn't something we have entered in to lightly, after all we have two small children and a mortgage to pay.  But if he didn't do it now he would have always been wondering 'what if?'  I know myself, on even a small level, how hard the freelance lifestyle can be sometimes.  Some months I worry about money non stop and some months I have lots coming in- it's certainly unstable at times.  But he is very ambitious and he has his head switched on so I know he will be ok.  It feels like the right step, albeit a slightly daunting one.  

We have decided for six months or so that he will work from home, so it means that it is even more necessary to get our new study done now.  Then after that he may look into getting a little office somewhere.  It is going to take a while to adjust to him being at home, I do rely on him a lot when he is here, so I know that I am going to have to bite my tongue and not ask him to help me with things when he should be working.  The girls and I are out and about most mornings on the days they aren't at nursery anyway, and then on the days when they are we can sit and work together.  I am looking forward to having him home with me, but it's going to take a little getting used to.

IMG 0929

Unrelated photo, but I just love this one of myself and my big girl.

 

Aside from that exciting and rather life changing news, I have been thinking a lot recently about the fact that I don't ever really switch off.  I don't just mean from my 'online life', I mean from life in general.  My brain seems to whirl constantly with thoughts, ideas and just general things, and I never seem to be able to relax anymore.  Even when I am supposed to be relaxing, say for example in the evenings when I am not doing blog stuff, I am looking at my phone- I even take it in the bath.  It is such a stimulus and I have been thinking a lot lately that I need to get a better balance.  The other evening Mr E and I watched a film called 'Disconnect'- it's a drama/thriller all about life online (I definitely recommend watching it, it gave me chills), and that also really made us both think about the way in which social media especially has crept into our lives- how we will occasionally absentmindedly check our phones when we are sat having dinner- what a bad example to set to our girls.  I am by no means terrible or the worst out there, but I do flick and waste a lot of time on social media (especially you instagram!) when I am not even actually responding or commenting on anything.  It's so hard when your work and hobby are all part of being online, but I don't think that what I am doing is all that healthy.

I have decided to make little changes just to try and help me switch off more than I do at the moment.  The biggest one is that Mr E and I are going back to our regularly weekly 'date night'. We started this last year and loved it, but slowly we allowed phone's to creep back in- each week it's someone's turn to 'host' it- it might be make a nice dinner, choose a nice film to watch, or plan a little surprise for the other person, but we make one rule- absolutely no technology whatsoever. (bar the TV!)  I turn my phone off and that's it for the evening.  While I probably only go on my laptop maybe once or twice in the week, as I said before I am on my phone far too much, and our date night is our way of spending quality time together rather than just being semi engaged in each other while spending time on our computers or phones.  

My other big thing is that I have been going to bed far too late.  I have decided that I am going to go to bed at a sensible (ish) time each night and make sure I don't look at my phone in bed, I am going to spend at least half an hour each night reading my book and winding down.  Obviously a phone or iPad is a stimulus and I wonder if that's another reason I don't sleep that well.  I used to read a book a week before children and blogging came into my life, and so this is something I am going to make sure I do every night in the hope that it relaxes me a bit more and helps me switch off.  I am pretty good at not really checking my phone at the weekend as that is our family time, bar putting the odd instagram photo on, but I want to try and reinforce this a little more too.

IMG 0933

 

Last weekend I went away on a girly weekend with three of my lovely friends Lucy, Morgana and Jenny.  They are all friends that I made via blogging, but friends that I now consider to be close 'real life' friends as well.  I had such a lovely few days, it was the longest I spent away from the girls, and although I missed them terribly, I really needed it.  It was wonderful to be in the company of such kind, yet also inspiring women, and going away and having a bit of girl time and head space made me realise that I need to switch off more and try different ways of relaxing.  On one of the days we went to a yoga class and while Jenny and Lucy often do yoga, Morgana and I were a little cynical- but I actually really loved it and it did help me relax and unwind.  I am going to start trying to do the odd You Tube yoga session in the evenings to help me unwind before bed.  I do online kettlebell workouts and run in the evening a couple of times a week though too, so it's trying to fit it all in.  

What is it about a girly weekend that's good for the soul though?  I came away feeling really inspired in all manner of different ways- inspired by mine and Mr E's new business due to Morgana and her dreams for her shop Little and Fierce, inspired by Jenny and how organised and driven she is, and inspired by Lucy and her ability to switch off and not let things bother her. (oh and inspired by her amazing Mexican Soup recipe too- who would have ever thought I would be inspired to get in the kitchen!)  We laughed non stop, confided in each other and chatting about deep and meaningful stuff- I feel so lucky to have met them all.

friendships

Last year I was heavily involved in my fitness mission and that has helped me feel like a new person.  But since Christmas and our holiday, old habits have been creeping back in and although I did a bit of exercise, I stopped running.  I found myself getting lethargic and a bit snappy, while also putting on a bit of weight as although I was still eating reasonably healthily, I was letting myself have a lot more sweet treats again.  About three weeks ago I decided that I needed to stop or I would end up going back to my old ways.  I have started running again, even joining a running club.  Yesterday morning I got up at 5am and went for a ten mile run- I must be mad.  It's so easy to get back into the habit though, and now I am back training for five races this year- I am also determined to get some ab muscles for the summer!  Excercise makes me feel so much more confident and eating better makes me feel good too. (I will do a fitness update soon!)  I also had my hair cut the other day, I have had my hair the same for so long now, just varying shades of brown, but this time I had some ombre put in the ends- I have been meaning to do it for about two years- and I am really pleased with it.  There's nothing like a slight change of style to help renew a bit of confidence.

ombre hair

New hair. Stupid pose. Never been any good at selfies. ;) 

 

This post doesn't really have any sort of purpose but it was therapeutic writing it all down and giving a bit of a life update!  I feel so genuinely lucky to have the opportunity to do the work I do, both my freelance work and of course blog things as well, and I really am so happy with our life and my little family.  I just want to make simple changes in order to be a better Mummy, wife and become even happier and more motivated in all aspects of my life.  

 

 

 

 

 

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