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Articles tagged with: Love

The Countdown...

on Thursday, 05 February 2015.

dadmads

Yesterday lunchtime the girl's decided they wanted to have a 'carpet picnic' for their lunch.   They had been so good when I had taken them out shopping earlier that morning and as a treat they wanted to get the picnic blanket out and have their lunch on the floor of the living room.  So that's exactly what we did- it's one of their favourite things to do.  After lunch, I was messing about with Mads.  She was being cheeky, so I was play fighting with her on the floor, tickling her and pretending to nibble on her little bottom and ears.  I buried my face in her long curly hair, and she was squealing and giggling in delight.  Then without being a tad dramatic, all of a sudden I felt this huge pang of emotion that nearly took my breath away.

I felt tears prick at the back of my eyes and I had to blink a few times to stop them from freely falling down my face.  Mads was none the wiser, still laughing, joking and jumping on me, and smothering me in 'Mummy cuddles and kisses'.  She was climbing on my back, wrapping her little arms around my neck, while whispering in my ear 'I love you Mama- forever and ever.'  But my heart was still beating that little bit faster and it took me a few seconds to actually pin point why.

We are on the countdown.

Like with any countdown, when you want it speed up and come quickly, say for a holiday or a special occasion, time seems to go so slowly and drags on and on.  But for a slightly less appealing countdown, it seems to whizz past and before you know it the time has arrived.  And that's whats happening now.

The countdown to school.

In many ways Christmas Eve 2010 feels like yesterday.  The day I first held that slightly wrinkly, gunky little person in my arms.  Her little black eyes stared deeply into mine, blink blink blinking as she adjusted to her new surroundings.  In that instant life as we knew it changed.  Everything I thought I knew about myself before changed when I became a mother.  This tiny creature arrived in our world and completely turned it upside down.  Although it feels like she's always been here, I can still feel the enormous range of emotions that came with seeing my eldest daughter for the first time.   

In those four years there have been long days.  Many of those.  Days where I paced around the kitchen, waiting to catch a glimpse of Mr E arriving up the driveway, ready to hand him a screaming baby or a defiant toddler, just so I could have a tiny break.  Days where I was so tired that I would just want to cry over the smallest thing.  Where I did cry over the smallest thing.  In those four years there have been tough times.  Many of those.  Times where it all got a little bit too much.  Sleepless nights, challenging behaviour, strained relationships.  Days where it felt like it was never going to end.  Days where the responsiblities of being a parent became almost overwhelming. 

For two years it was just me and her.  Two years of getting to know each other inside and out.  Fun times, sad times, tricky times, but most of all happy times.  Contentment and love.  During the week we were a pair while my husband was at work.  A duo.  A double act.  We learnt from each other.  She taught me that the simplest things are the most important.  She made me a better person- less selifsh.  More considerate.  She made me a mother.  Then in February 2013 our second daughter arrived.  I fell in love with her in an instant, but I also fell even more in love with my big girl.  The way in which she accepted her new baby sister without so much of a doubt, into our little club.  Our twosome became a threesome.  We became a team.  

And that's the way it is now.  We have our own little routine, our own little structure.  Mads has Nutella sandwiches for lunch, LL has peanut butter.  Mads likes to sit on the left hand side of the sofa when we watch television, LL sits on the right.  Mads is always Harry when we put on One Direction shows, LL is always Zayn.  That's just the way it is.  Yes we still have those tough days, or long days, but for the most part we love our days together.  And I am just not ready for them to stop.  I'm not ready for this period of our lives to be over.

In just a few short months, my big girl will be going to school.  The application form has already been submitted, we wait with intrepidation hoping that we have got into the school that we want for her.  Those days of constant nappy changes, those morning's sitting breastfeeding in a cafe gossiping to friends while eating the largest slice of chocolate cake, those times spent batch cooking copious amounts of pureed carrot and sweed ready to put into the freezer- they seem to have passed us by in a blur.  When did they stop?  And a bit later, those days where I begrudged paying an extortionate £20 to go to soft play, while she no doubt picked up every germ under the sun and all I got to show for it was a slightly soggy panini and a bowl of greasy fries- I wish more than anything I could rewind them all again.  

If I could, I would cherish every single second of the replays.  I would hold her in my arms for a little longer after her milk, breathing in her sweet baby smell and resting my chin on her soft dowdy hair, rather than putting her straight in her cot.  I used to like stroking the fontanelle spot on her head ever so gently, it felt as soft as silk.  I would play tea parties for that little bit longer, enjoying my seventeenth cup of tea and umpteenth wooden digestive biscuit, rather than going to clean up the kitchen.  I would soak in every single cuddle, every single morning 'just the three of us', I would be more present rather than being on my phone or checking my emails.  I'd read one more story.  And then I'd read another one.  I'd stay in our PJ's and let her watch one more episode of Peppa Pig.  I'd never stop cuddling her.

But hindsight is a wonderful thing.  This way I am feeling right now, it won't last forever.   It will come back, in periods, throughout their lives, that I am sure of.  The way it hurts a little bit loving them.  The way each new milestone and moment seem so bittersweet.  But no doubt next week or the week after that, I will get impatient again.  I will get tired of the same question over and over- I don't know why Tree Fu Tom and Mike the Knight aren't friends who hang out together.  Yes you can have lemon juice with two drops.  Yes two drops.  I don't know why the worm we saw on the road by the garden centre two weeks ago isn't wanting to be in the soil with his other worm family.  I'll inevitably get a little frustrated when she takes ten minutes to get into her car seat even though we are in a hurry.  I'll have days where I breathe a sigh of relief when they are in bed and I can sit on the sofa and just switch off.  

But in the back of my mind, I am all too aware we are in the countdown.

All too soon September will come and my little girl will be at school.  Five out of seven days of the week she will be with her teachers and her new friends.  They will see the way she scrunches up her nose when she yawns.  Or the way that she likes to play with her ear when she's nervous or in need of a comfort.  The way her little fingers go in her mouth and she sucks them when she's unsure of herself.  They'll experience the pleasure of my biggest girl- the little quirks and traits that make her who she is, the good and the not so good.  It's not that I am sad that she is going to be away from me, she goes to nursery three long mornings a week already while I work.  It's more that this period of our lives is soon going to be over.  It's a line under the baby days, the toddler days and the days of just being together.  That we will never be able to get it back.

I'm a little sad she won't be here every day with me, but I am excited to see her begin the next part of her journey.  I'll be there waiting to see the artwork she pulls from her bag, to hear her excitedly chat about what her and her friends did that day, or what she learnt in English class.  I'll be the one cheering the loudest at Sports Day.  I'll be there standing with all the other parents at the school gate, waiting to see her run out with her long curls blowing behind her and her cheeks flushed red with happiness.  She'll grow, she'll soar and she'll become the person she was meant to be.  She'll lose a little bit of that pure innocence that comes with being at home with her Mummy, that little bit of innocence that comes with being little, but she'll be full of potential and promise.  Whatever happens, she will continue to make me the proudest Mama alive, just as she has done since the day she arrived in the world on the 24th December 2010.  

I knew that this day was coming, way back when she was tiny, and school just seemed like a far off dream.  Something I didn't have to think about for a while.  But now the countdown is on.

Growing up hurts a little, I know that all too well.  I'm a little bit sad and feeling a little emotional about it all.  But why we may all too soon be finishing this chapter of our lives, deep down I know this is just the beginning of my little girl's story.  And I'm excited to see just what that story may be.

dadmads1

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #20 'My Grandparents'

on Sunday, 18 May 2014.

I have mentioned on previous posts all about my Nana and Grandpa- they live on the border of Wales and we don't get to see them very often, so when we visit them or they come down here it is often a very special family day.  However I don't often mention my other set of Grandparents, my Mum's parents.

My Grandma and Grandpa are without a shadow of a doubt, the most wonderful people I know.  They live within half an hour of us, on a beautiful farm and so many of my childhood memories are from adventures on their farm.  My Grandpa was a very successful farmer and I would spend summers riding with him on the tractors, or climbing and sliding in the massive wheat piles that were stored in the barn.  Or we would race up and down the road on my Uncle's quad bike, ride horses in the paddock that they rented out to a local riding school or make cake after cake with my Grandma.

Nearly every single Christmas Day of my life I have spent with them, bar if they were ever away or the twice I have been away, once in hospital having Mads and the other on my honeymoon.  My Grandparents are seasoned travellers, going all over the world a few times a year.  Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, India...there isn't a country they haven't been to or that isn't next on their list.  I definitely think that is where I get my travelling spirit from. 

Ever since I was at university and a supposedly 'poor' student (hello student loan to buy endless amounts of clothes from Topshop, more like rich!) my Grandma has been making me what she calls 'Red Cross Parcels' - just random bits and bobs that she would give to me every time she saw me in the holidays.  Just the essentials, like pasta, tomato ketchup, biscuits, washing up liquid and toilet roll.  That kind of thing.  However it became a tradition and to this day she still does it, whenever we go up to see her she will hand us two or three bags of bits and bobs.  It's progressed to chocolate and naughty treats for the girls too, as well as wipes and nappies.  Since my girls have been born we have only rarely had to buy a pack of nappies- if I think about how much that has saved us it blows my mind a little.  I love this little tradition, it is so sweet and caring.

But they also support me in everything I do and now they support Mr E and our girls too.  Mads and LL adore Great Grandma and Grandpa and we go there for dinner at least every other week.  Mads loves getting the box of old toys out and going to feed the 'big fish' they have in their pond.  And I love a good old home cooked meal, why is it that Grandma's make the best roast dinners? 

Like when we went over there one night last week.  LL was rather enjoying her rather large bowl of Vienetta (hello 80's does anyone else remember Vienetta back in the day?!) and Mads was sitting on Grandma's knee reading a story...

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And even those are exceptionally ordinary moments for us, they are actually pretty extraordinary.  I feel privileged that my daughters get a chance to get to know their Great Grandparents and I get to make memory after memory with two people who I adore more than anything.  And who I feel so lucky to have in my life.

Because these ordinary moments won't last forever.  Nothing does.  

And so I treasure each and every single one of them.

 

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Bridesmaid Duties, Dress Meltdowns and A Weekend in the Peak District...

on Tuesday, 06 May 2014.

Last Friday one of my closest friends got married and I had the honour of being her bridesmaid.  We have been discussing plans back and forth for so long that I still can't believe it has been and gone now. The wedding was held in the most idyllic boutique hotel in the Peak District and we headed up there on Thursday lunchtime ready for a weekend of wedding fun.

The bride looked beautiful, the location was perfect and the wedding was truly great.  It was laid back, relaxed but lots of fun at the same time and I could tell that everyone was really enjoying themselves.  With two small children to look after, the weekend wasn't exactly stress free for us, but we enjoyed ourselves and our few days of family time as well.

The girls behaved really well considering it was a long day, although the morning of the wedding started with Mads having a huge meltdown over the fact she didn't want to wear her dress.  After much bribery and persuasion the dress went on but not without many tense words from Mr E.  It is hard on children to be little angels when their routines are so disrupted, as well as being constantly told to quieten down during the service or while the speeches were on, but Mads and LL were lovely for the most part all day.  It was tiring and a little stressful for us though and it's certainly made me wonder whether we will take them to any weddings in the future as I just didn't feel like we could relax.  Poor Mr E went to bed with the girls at 9pm as they couldn't last a minute longer, but I got to stay up and have a few drinks which was nice of him.

I didn't manage to take a huge number of photos as I was busy with bridesmaid duties, and I didn't take a single one in the church obviously, but here are a few snaps from my phone and my big camera...

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Starting the day off with a glass of bubbly.

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All ready to leave for the church.

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Looking very cute in her dress, even if trying to get it on her proceeded to cause an epic meltdown.

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Vintage records playing outside.

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The latest thing she does is to point at everything.

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Matching pretty dresses.

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Endulging in a cake pop or two.

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The colour scheme was blush pinks, creams and greens and it looked beautiful.

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My pretty bouquet- was such gorgeous pink colours.

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Chatting to the other guests.

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Loved this idea, and the desserts were absolutely amazing.  Someone made this Rocky Road which was seriously the best thing I have ever eaten.  Even four slices later!

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Can't beat a cupcake.

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Just some of the desserts family and friends made.

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Doing the bridesmaid thing.

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Mr E did such a good job of looking after the girls all day.

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One of my best uni friends and his plus one who dutifully had to play outside with Mads constantly.

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My clever friend made these cake toppers herself out of wooden pegs.

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Having a chat to the beautiful bride.

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Gorgeous curls.

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Photo booth fun with bestest uni friends.

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My slightly loony family.

 

*****

I was so thrilled to find out my little blog has been shortlisted in the family category at the Brit Mums 'Brilliance in Blogging' BIB awards this year.  People now vote for who they want in the finals.  If you like my little blog and tales of family life, then do consider voting for me.  Just click below!  Thank you so much! 


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{The Ordinary Moments 14} #16 'Aaaaaaah.'

on Sunday, 20 April 2014.

cuddlyLLApril14

At fourteen months LL has such a happy and carefree personality and in turn she brightens our days.  She still seems so little to me- most probably this is second child syndrome, whereas Mads seemed quite grown up at this age LL really does still feel like a baby.

She has the widest and happiest smile which spreads across her whole face and she gets excited by the silliest things.  She is also incredibly affectionate, her favourite thing to do is cuddle.  Whether that's Mummy or Daddy, Grandma or a cuddly toy, if you give her something soft she will wrap her arms around it so tight and squeeze it while letting out a long sounding 'aaaaaah' noise.  

She buries her face into your shoulder or into a toy and almost nuzzles to try and get comfy.  She will cuddle me for ages and I must admit to relishing every single one.  I love to bury my face into her silky soft hair, Mr E and I have always thought that for some strange reason her hair always smells a little like popcorn.  If you hold your hands out to her she will crawl as quick as she can across the room smiling and giggling and will hold out her arms so you pick her up and hug her tight.  

For some reason she prefers cuddling Mads toys to her own and Mads is so kind to her especially in respects to her favourite friend Pongo the dog.  I took this photo of LL snuggling in close to Woody the lamb with a huge smile on her face.  She really does have the most infectious personality and you can't help but smile when you are around her.   It's a joy to see her growing and becoming her own little person.

I feel very privileged to be the one who this little girl loves to cuddle the most.  What is about a cuddle from one of your children that makes even the stressful of days seem that little bit better?

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