Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Lang May Yer Lum Reek!

Every year, the same old story: New year, New Start.

Does it ever work?

I don't know.

I'm not sure I could even tell you what I resolved to change last year.

What I do know, is that I am significantly happier and I have taken more control of my life and I am very, very grateful for that.

We have accomplished a lot, and that's all you can ask.  Life is short and you should try and pack in as much as you possibly can with the time you have. Not to sound morbid or anything, but you never know when your time might come to an end.  There have been plenty examples of that this year.

So, what's the point of resolutions?

I think you have to see them as more of a self-assessment.

There's not much real point in saying you are going to do this, or you are going to do that - chances are it's not going to happen, and you are going to feel a lot less happy for it.

It's much better to assess what's already going on and try to take note - you might not follow up on any of it, but just a simple reflection is sometimes all you need to kick-start something awesome.

So here's my, well, not resolutions, but self-reflections.  I'm not promising to change, I'm not going to become super-human overnight.  But here's a note to myself.  A recognition of things I might not be all too happy with and an acknowledgement that there might be a better way to do things.



1. Try to see the positives instead of the negatives.


I am your classic glass-half-empty kind of gal.  It's a terrible affliction and more often than not leads to a lot more stress and strain than anything else in my life.  Nobody is harsher on me than I am.

I'm realising more and more with age that actually, in the grand scheme of things, what I do doesn't really matter.  I'm getting a lot more into the train of thought that I should do what makes me happy and I have stopped worrying about any so called 'consequences', which are, more often than not, completely dramatic and made up.

Trying to look at the light instead of the dark is easier said than done, especially if I'm feeling tired or stressed and overwhelmed, but one thing I have learned (especially through living with these crazy children) is that there's always something to laugh at and that we are in fact very lucky indeed.

2.  Eat better


I've tried a lot of new things this year, and it's been a real eye-opener for this fussy vegetarian.  I have a really funny palate and am completely adverse to some textures, so trying new things (and enjoying them) is always amazing to me.

Later nights and a smaller kitchen have led to me taking the easy route - pizza, snacks instead of meals, filling up on crisps.  I've never really eaten like that before.  I love to eat fresh and healthy, so I suppose I should make more of an effort to get back on track with this.  I suppose time has just become such a huge factor in this. Must try harder!

3. Stop worrying (so much) about the kids.




Okay, so this is never really going to happen, but what I can do is give them the benefit of the doubt more.  I can stop panicking that they are going to fall off walls, I can stop worrying so much about the impact moving house and school will have on them, and I can stop stressing about how they are going to cope with a new baby in the house.

I have two, very balanced, very happy wee guys who take most things in their stride, and as long as we continue giving them a solid base to work from, everything will be just grand!


4.  Stay open to new things (but know when enough is enough)


I'm quite good at this.  I love changing things up and trying new stuff.  I think I have to try and let go of my inner fear when it comes to some things though.  It's really tough to say yes to stuff when you are already pushed for time, etc. but one thing I have learned is that I should also learn when enough is enough. No point in ruining a great experience by getting too tired and stressed.

5. Take time to re-investigate what you love



I love gaming.  So I'm going to do more of that.  I need to read more books.  I NEED to use my sewing machine.

But I am ALWAYS making excuses.

No time, no energy, not enough fabric, too messy, too silly, too time-consuming, no good books.

Enough with the excuses!  I will be knitting, crocheting, reading, sewing, crafting and so much more this year, because that is what I love to do. And I miss it.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for reading this year and sharing this wee blogging journey with me.  It's made me laugh, been so good for reflecting and helped me close a few doors too.  It's also opened a lot of doors and I've made some lovely new friends to boot.

I'm really enjoying getting words down on page and sharing with you all.  It's something that's just for me, and I kinda need that.
I'm really looking forward to the new adventures 2015 will bring.



Slangevar!

Lang May Yer Lum Reek!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

See you, Jimmy

We've all seen or heard of Elf on the Shelf? Right?

It's a pretty cutesy and magical thing to do with your kids.  Part of the lure of Christmas time for me is the crazy imaginative stuff that goes with it.

Santa's watching?  Best behaviour monitor ever.  You should see my youngest get a grip and behave himself when I mention those two very magical words; 'Santa's watching.'

I have had amazing shows of kindness, empathy and love from these kids because of Christmas - they make cards for Santa 'because Santa never gets any cards, mummy, and that's not fair!', they have thought very carefully about what people would like for Christmas, and they have also had a thought for other children who might not have so much, making sure we donate to foodbanks and baby banks.

I also love the challenge of creating magic for them - it goes from the mystery of what's behind the advent calendar door, to visiting Santa in his grotto, to helping them make special decorations for the tree which become keepsakes.  I really, really love it.

Elf on the Shelf has crept up in my newsfeed gradually every year, starting as a novelty thing one friend brought back from America one year, and now, suddenly, everyone is at it, my newsfeed filled with everyone's really funny and cheerful Elf on the Shelf antics.

It's the kind of thing that really grips me; the idea of making something every night for my kids to find in the morning.  The perfect mix of magic and naughtiness.  When I was wee, I sincerely believed that my toys had feelings and came alive at night, and I know my kids share the same healthy imagination, so I would have loved to have done it this year.

But yet again, it was just another thing that fell by the wayside as we budgeted for Christmas - an Elf on the Shelf, although awesome is a pricey piece of equipment.  I just couldn't justify that amount of money for a Christmas decoration, albeit a really cool memory-making one.

Turns out though, you don't need a real Elf on the Shelf to freak your kids out.  When your imagination is as wild as my boys', you can pretty much get away with magic thoughts alone.

And we have.

Introducing, Jimmy.

You can't see Jimmy.  He only comes when everyone is in bed, and he is really, really naughty.  Very silly indeed.  He plays tricks on everyone in the middle of the night.  He doesn't come every night either, only on the nights where me or Dave actually remember to do something silly.  So far, Jimmy has done various naughty things.

He wrapped toilet roll around the television.

He put pants on the Christmas tree (this one in particular got a lot of laughs).

He made the Lego alarm clocks hang by their bums from the top of the television (can you see where my children's focus is first thing in the morning?)

He left a crazy mess on the table.

He took apart Ethan's carefully constructed Mr Potato Heads.

He also gets blamed when things go wrong, which is actually working wonders for Ethan and his crazy tantrums.

For example, Ethan, at the moment, has a thing about wearing gloves when we go out.  Nobody else bothers, but he is very insistent.  The trouble is, he never takes them both off together or leaves them both in the same place, so more often than not, one always goes astray, which leads to all kinds of morning stresses and dilemmas.


Don't mess with the glubs!

The other morning, he found both of his mickey mouse mittens.  Brilliant - no drama!

How wrong I was.

They were a glove from each of the two sets we own; both were left handers.

Bugger!

'Mummy!  My glubs!  My glubs are not working!'

'Aw Ethan, you've got two the same, honey!'

And then, magically, without me doing a thing...

'Mummy, it must be Jimmy that did it!  Jimmy swapped my glubs! Jimmy!!!'

I still can't find that dratted other glove, but Ethan is very happy to turn the other upside down and wear them anyway, because Jimmy did it.

(I bought him new glubs for Christmas, don't worry!)

Tantrum avoided!

I might have taken the whole thing too far though, when I downloaded an app on my phone called Santa Spy Cam.  It lets you use the camera on your phone to superimpose animations of elves doing silly things, so it looks like they are in your house.  I made a few up; one of Jimmy peeking out of my wardrobe and going back in, one of Jimmy driving his car along the unit and disappearing into the TV, one of Jimmy dancing on my bed with my knees on it.  It looked really good.

The boys were quite amused, but admittedly, a lot more freaked out than I thought they would be.

Thomas refused to go through to the other room to get dressed without accompaniment.

Ethan kept asking if he would be going into his room, like he'd gone into mine.

It all ended with a phone call to Santa, to see what Jimmy was up to and if Santa would have a wee word with Jimmy - it's not good to drive cars in the house apparently, and especially not into TVs.  He shouldn't bounce on the bed either.

Making Jimmy a 'reality' was one step too far, apparently.

Jimmy has got them some gifts as a thanks for having him.  He might do something a bit daft tonight as a last hurrah before Christmas Eve.

The power of imagination is a wonderful thing.

And we didn't need an Elf on the Shelf to do it!






Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas is coming!

I messaged my sister in law last night to see how she was getting on with her wee ones in the run up to Christmas.  She has a brand new baby boy and it's been a really busy time - I think she must be some kind of superwoman for getting everything together for Christmas and also looking after two kids aged two and under.  I remember quite well what it was like for us a few years ago - and Ethan's birthday was in October, which meant I had phenomenally more time to get my shit together (and I sincerely did not)!

This year I feel really overwhelmed - due to losing approximately 9 weeks of my life to morning sickness and the wonderful early stages of pregnancy, I feel like I woke up about a week ago to a nightmare-ish scenario of loads to do, lots to sort out and virtually no time left at all to do it.

Panic stations!

Ho Ho Ho!
Hence there has been a lot of panicked buying, planning and hasty wrapping going on. I feel like we have missed so much this year - usually I do all sorts of crafts and fun stuff with the kids, but this year we just haven't had the energy nor the time.  Still, we have done the fundamentals; we took the kids to see Santa at our usual venue and we still went to the cinema to see our annual festive film (which this year was Paddington - very nice indeed) which I think I enjoy more than anything.  I love making memories.

The boys popped into my workplace last-minute with Dave to make some lovely crafts with some other families, who all had an amazing time making snowmen out of cotton wool, glittery decorations and playing in the 'snow' foam tray with polar bear figurines.  It was so nice to let them be glittery and gluey and foamy without having to worry about house destruction!

In my panic about whether we have enough sellotape, or if I have forgotten anyone on my card list, I try to remember the stuff we have done.  The boys have been hyped since November - Christmas has been absolutely everywhere.  Our tree has been up since the first of December.  Tom has written his cards for his classmates.



Yes, there are things we would like to be able to do but there is also the fact that the kids don't care!

And I don't mean that they don't care about doing all of the things that make Christmas for us, but what I do mean is that they don't want to hit that saturation point.

None of us do.  There is stuff absolutely everywhere.  Where we live, we could visit a different Santa every day of the week for a month.  We could attend every single Christmas showing, Christmas panto, visit all of the Christmas shops, spend days and days watching a plethora of Christmas films, tv specials and documentaries.  The shops are stuffed to the gunnels with jumpers, antler headbands, santa hats and (of all things) Christmas leggings.  It's crazy.

Yet, I have been constantly reminded this year that it really is the little things.

It's spending time all together instead of stressing out at the shops.

It's watching The Snowman before bedtime.

It's reading Christmas books borrowed from the library.

It's getting excited at a Christmas card through the door.

It's dipping your cookies in your milk because 'That's what Santa does!'

It's dressing up like Santa, beard and hat included, because you are 4 years old and you idolise Santa.


In our wee catch up, my sister in law rounded off with this sentiment, which is something I have found to be very true: 'Christmas with kids is the best!'

You know what?  When you forget about the other rubbish, the magic of the season, especially in the company of little people who are very excited and loving the participation, really is the best.

These guys are really my reason for the season.
Ethan loves to dress as Santa - 'I HAVE to wear my red coat, mummy!'





Friday, 19 December 2014

Gremlins...

It's been a while.

I never meant to stay away for so long, but hey, life is never straightforward and is always happy to throw me a few curveballs.

First of all, Dave was working in a crazy-demanding job which saw our routine with work and kids and childcare and house stuff go completely to pot.  There were simply not enough hours in the day to complete everything.  Needless to say, any spare time was spent catching up with stuff we didn't have time for; piles of washing, dishes, school notes, appointments...life was crazy.

Thankfully he has a new job now and so far  (touch wood), it seems to be a much smoother ride.

There's a lot to be said for work/life balance.

While this was going on, we are also house hunting.  We are hoping to buy our first house in the very near future, so I have been trying to use free minutes perusing house-buying sites, hoping to stumble upon something cheap and cheerful.  Needless to say, it's a terrible time of year for it!

While scouring various domains, my poor wee laptop managed to pick up a few Malware gremlins.  It took a long time to get rid of them - in fact I am still sorting stuff out after having to restore my computer back a few months...grumble.

Add on to this the other pressing gremlin we discovered one day a wee while ago...

They always look very odd in the first photo - although, look!  Tiny wee hand!

Yes, check it out!  Turns out there's a wee guy/gal hiding out inside of me!

I have been feeling horrendous these last couple of months - hence the lack of blog - but I have to say, I am feeling a lot better now, even more so after going to the hospital and actually seeing a real-life baby on the screen! Paranoid-me likes to imagine I was imagining it.

So, I missed a couple of things; my 30th birthday wasn't quite as intense as I'd planned, but the way I was feeling, that was okay by me!  I had a really great meal with my family and had some really lovely gifts given and even delivered!  I certainly feel very loved indeed.

I've had a great time keeping this a secret from real life people too.  Some I told, knowing I'd need support as I felt so rubbish.  Some I told accidentally.  But others, as I have discovered this week when I told them, already knew.  Apparently the bump which I didn't think I had much of gave me away. Ha!

I am going to be huge.

But hey - it's (most definitely) the last time I am going to be doing this and I am determined to enjoy every last second of it.  Pregnancy hasn't been a positive experience for me, but now I am that bit older and wiser, I seem to have a different attitude towards it.  Things are so very different from when we had the boys, it's kind of nice to just not worry quite so much.

We told the boys on the day we got the scan - they were both ecstatic.  Tom really wants a sister.  And you know, sod's law, Ethan really wants a brother. One is going to be sorely disappointed!

So, yeah!

Bear with me - I might not be around so much in the next couple of weeks (although the sickness is fading and I'm getting some of my energy back - hurrah!) but I shall do my very best!