Travelling Towards Change…

Standard

I have done MANY hours of travelling about in the last month. It’s meant a lot of time away from my girls, and a friend on Facebook messaged to ask if everything is ok, as I seemed to be ‘away from my family much more than is appropriate’. They were well meaning. I haven’t been posting details of what my trips are for (mainly because it’s primarily just a series of meetings or interviews which is boring!), I have however posted pictures of the highlights. They genuinely wanted to know if maybe everything wasn’t ok at home, assuming perhaps that I’ve just been off and about on a lot of jollies, ditching my family and heading off for fun.
And admittedly within the last few weeks, I’ve posted a picture of me climbing Ben Nevis, having a bloody good night out in Glasgow for a friends birthday that happily coincided with a meeting I had up there. I’ve posted pictures of Dover Castle, and the Harry Potter bridge. Without a doubt, the recent travels have not been without their highlights.

What I didn’t post was the 36 hour travelling with no sleep tears breakdown in a train toilet, the guilt I felt from being away from my children and husband. My grief from not being with them. The loneliness of ANOTHER train journey away from home. Opportunities I went for only to receive a rejection before arriving home because the journey home was so long. Sitting in a coffee shop and having to call a friend to come and get me because I was so tired and emotional I didn’t trust myself to move. For every lovely meal of tapas with my hosts, there are at least three sad looking service station sandwiches. For every fancy cocktail, there’s been two cans of red bull to try and keep awake.

As a family we have decided that I am going to pursue a slightly different career path. The quality of life my former role was providing came at a price that wasn’t ok for our children. We knew this would mean a period of me going to chase down other possibilities, other options. Which meant we knew this would mean quite a bit of time apart. As the summertime is a slightly quieter time for my husband, it was the perfect time for me to go for it, find something that can provide for my family and keep the spark in my eyes, the passion in my belly for what I’m working on. Contrary to some belief, achieving your ‘dream life’ is constant hard work, compromise and sacrifice. Three things that we are keen to prove to our children are more than worth it to love what you do and how you live. 

So yes, I am I suppose, away from my children for a short while, longer than is deemed appropriate. Luckily, as we co-parent, they have not been at all bereft of primary parental care and love. They have also been bombarded with photos, videos and momento’s from a mummy who is missing them. From a Mummy who is doing all of this FOR them. And for the life they deserve, rich in adventure, happiness, passion and love.

And the low points have been eased by videos from home, messages of support, love and courage from my husband. And importantly, significantly eased by people who are family to us. Friends, old, new and renewed who when I’ve wanted to cry or feel alone have hugged me, made me smile, and reminded me how important the people in our life are. Especially lucky we are to have Glaswegian comrades in a particular tough/emotionally charged 48 hours. 

In answer to the FB message, I replied to say ‘everything is very good thank you, thank you for the concern, our lives are exploring different paths for a short time, but we’re doing so very much together. If you’d like to go for a coffee, I’ll happily explain in more detail.’ In hindsight I wish I hadn’t used the word ‘explain’, I certainly don’t have to explain my life decisions to someone who isn’t my husband or children! At the same time, it is her way of looking out for me, with a rather old fashioned view of how the world should work. After all, I absolutely adore the people who have been looking out for me and supporting us as a family. We are excited for where life may lead us, and what we may all achieve over the next few years. The hard work, the sacrifice and the compromises are ALWAYS worth it. The reunion cuddles and precious quality time together ALWAYS sweet enough to make up for the sourness of absence. 

I hope the travelling hours will decrease quite soon, or at the very least the solo nature of the travelling. But if it was for the best for my family, I would happily orbit the moon.

Motivational Mini Figure…

Standard

I’ve been quite overwhelmed recently. Because of how things have come together, neither my husband or I are getting any time off in May; my workload has had to be temporarily much higher than normal & we have 2 kids under 3. 

This morning, by the time I’d had 3 cups of coffee, 9 different people needed things from me in a way that left me feeling extremely drained emotionally & intellectually. I was at an ‘hmmm, no not sure about today’ kind of place. 

Today I’m having an online discussion with students about a documentary so that’s therefore been playing over a few times on the TV in the kitchen while I respond to their questions and debate points, whilst also washing up and cooking. While doing this, I idly grabbed a Kinder Egg. I’m not a big fan of them so I gave the chocolate to the girls and I opened up the toy, and there was the pictured little badass. Reading the leaflet there’s 8 potential superhero lady figures, but only one is brunette and wearing purple. In some ways it reminded me of my blogs profile picture. It felt like a sign, like a little ‘you got this’. She’s now on the window sill & I’ve had an extra boost of energy from the superhero within. Because like a lot of people I know, sometimes, the biggest boost you can get is from within. So I’d like to extend a bit of this Kinder Egg delivered kickassery to you all. We all feel overwhelmed sometimes, we all have lists to get done we think we’re never going to get to the end of. And sometimes we all need an extra boost to keep our heads up & keep going with a smile. Love to you all, and remember, we all have 100% record of getting through the tough days, you’ve got this.

Protecting my Path…

Standard

 

I’m raising a white flag. I give up.

 

Let me explain!

 

My husband and I were married and expecting a child within the first five months of our relationship. We had known each other aged 5, but the reaquaintence and subsequent whirlwind romance certainly wasn’t long winded. On our first official date, my husband told me he was going to marry me, we were the kind of couple that had previously made me sick. We’d found our kindred spirits within each other, my heart had discovered its counterpart, the lifetime scars in our souls fit like a jigsaw puzzle. Trust me when I say there is no way I can describe the way we got together without making you sick..! Ahh the gloriously idyllic Summer of 2013!

 

Outside of our hideously romantic bubble, people were no doubt assuming that our surprise pregnancy was the catalyst to getting hitched, and the crueller of them were maybe even taking bets on how long we might last before our film-esque view of life bubble was burst. Even though I’m pretty much sure that no-one really cared, I felt like I needed to prove that even though it wasn’t a planned pregnancy, I would be a good Mother, a good Wife, a grown up enough grown up to be doing these roles.

 

It made me quite defensive, literally for three years. My pregnancy hormones made me feel like a violently protective Mama bear, of my babies and my marriage. I was constantly on guard on survival mode, on the look out for some slur or some passive aggressive slight on my ability to be a Mum. After all, I my mid twenties, I was told I would be unlikely to be able to conceive and safely carry children on my own so I already felt like a fraud.

 

We’ve been planning a wedding for the last few years and have recently booked it. I was asked why we were doing it again and my answer was simple; I spent most of our ‘legal’ wedding day throwing up (morning sickness was not kind to me in my first pregnancy!), I don’t remember much of it at all (epilepsy was also not kind to me during either pregnancy!) and at that point, although we were certain of spending forever together, we hadn’t yet built a life together. Three years later? I can spend a day without throwing up (what an achievement!), I can remember my day to day (mostly!) and we have a wonderful life together. Our family is complete with our two little girls, and we have built a business together, a home together, a life together. Most of which wasn’t around when we became man and wife.

 

Soon after Holly turned 1, I could almost feel the pregnancy hormones physically leaving. My babies are safe and well, we got through the pregnancies, we’ve stumbled our way through learning how to be parents (I mean…we’re winging it, but it turns out that’s the big secret!) and things are now established enough that I feel like I can relax my shoulders. I don’t need to be 100% on my guard.

 

And it’s a lovely feeling. Over the last few weeks, I’ve really chilled out, like I’ve been playing roles that I didn’t think anyone thought I belonged in, and I’ve only just realised that not only are they definitely my roles, but the only approval I need is my own.

 

I think we all feel that there are roles in life that we’re not good enough for, or qualified enough for, or that we deserve them. And for some reason, in this celebrity obsessed, reality TV led society, everyone’s personal choices are suddenly up for public discussion. Cheryl Cole recently had a baby and almost every weekly celebrity magazine had her on the cover with different angles as their ‘story’, talking about whether her relationship was strong enough, whether the age difference was appropriate, bring up clips of their first meeting to be commented on. And that kind of societal thinking spills no ‘real life’. In reality, their first child is nobodies business but Cheryl and Liam’s, their first meeting, their ages (as long as legal and consensual), and whether she has help, doesn’t have help, breastfeeds, or frankly, even if she bathes in unicorn tears and Horlicks for the health of her baby. IT’S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! Likewise, when I was worrying that people would think we were rushing things, whether we should have/shouldn’t have get married when we did, whether we’re raising our kids right. I care about the opinion of my husbands and my own. I will happily listen to well meaning friends and family because I’m certainly not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers. But if they disagree with what I’m doing, but it’s what I believe in, I’m going to follow my own path with my head held high. And if I fall flat on my face, so be it, at least I stayed true to what I thought was best. And if anyone laughs at my fall, they are presumably a) perfect themselves and b) a bit of a dick. And that’s more their problem than mine!

 

So as I’ve let go of the pregnancy hormones, I’ve also let go of the tension I was carrying around like a hunchback. I’m REALLY excited to continue organising our wedding day, a day we’re hosting to celebrate our life together with a humanist blessing to more accurately represent our life views. (In the same way that we’re not religious, we also don’t really value the old legality of a non religious wedding so the government necessities weren’t really very us).

 

And some people will think it’s overly theatrical, some people will wonder why we’re bothering as we’re already technically married. And that’s fine, my advice would be for them to have a less dramatic day if they choose to get married, and to only do it once if that’s what works for them. I can’t stop them thinking we’re doing things wrong, so I’m finally letting go of the defensiveness I felt!

 

I AM a Mother, I AM a Wife, I’m not necessarily any good at either role..! But I’m doing them to the best of my ability, and that’s all I can ask of myself and of anyone else. The political scene has also brought about a slightly more hostile community feel. All of a sudden, with such big changes happening and the country so divided, neighbours are suddenly turning on each other based on the colour of the poster in their windows. Family meals are exploding into dispute because of passionate thoughts from all sides. Politically, it’s been much longer than just a Winter of discontent, and never before has it been more openly discussed, which is a double edged sword, especially when the recent local elections were so poorly attended. ANYWAY, my point is, I surrender. So with my white flags, I also hold aloft my personal flags, this is who I am, what I believe, but that doesn’t put me at odds with anyone who feels differently. I personally feel like a lot of us could do with an unclenching, to respect each others life choices and views. Gone are the days where there were two streets to choose between when setting up home, the days where you went into a profession based on what you were born into, and the days gone by when your parents and circumstances dictated your life. We now have literally millions of options for all things. And so it’s understandable that we all also now have millions of variables when it comes to the opinions we hold and the beliefs we live by and nurture. But it’s ok to be different, it’s how all those different roles get filled! And what other people think about your choices are none of your business and therefore nothing to spend time worrying about.

 

I have always been the kind of person to walk my own path, since being young. Even at primary school I insisted on being allowed to play football and was then the first girl to do so, but somewhere in my twenties I lost the confidence in doing so, I started trying to fit in. and so when I started back on my own path, I forgot to do so with my head held high, I somehow did so but felt like I needed to justify my every move.

It’s not lent, but I’m giving up on it. I’m tuning in instead to the feisty little girl who was told that football was for boys and decided that she was bloody well going to be allowed to play! SHE didn’t care if anyone thought it wasn’t becoming of a girl to run round on a football field, SHE didn’t get if anyone was talking about her being different or wrong, SHE just looked at what she wanted to do, what her heart told her to do and she went from it. My apologies to that little girl, she would’ve have been very disappointed in me over the last few years, and I now have two little mini me’s watching how I behave and how I judge myself and others, and that’s motivation enough for me!

 

   

 

Reluctantly Resting…

Standard

I am now infertile. This is a very strange thing to say. It’s necessary, that is to say medically necessary. It would be too dangerous on my kidneys, and to be honest if the epilepsy was as bad as in my second pregnancy, that alone is enough to decide without the GP insisting on it. I had a total of three recommendations from various departments that I get permanent baby making privileges removed, I tried not to take it too personally..! My husband could have had the male equivalent, and offered to. But do you know what. For me it was important to take charge of this myself. I can’t have anymore children without endangering them or myself so it was important to me to take ownership of the necessary steps. I also had two rather painful cysts that needed to be removed so it was a case of ‘whilst you’re down there’..! 

So yesterday I got into the familiar gown, with the familiar sexy compression socks, and repeated my details to seven different people (if any identity mistakes have been made, they will have done it on purpose, it’s necessary to cover them but by the time I went into surgery, I’m pretty sure everyone in the hospital knew I was Danielle, date of birthday 5th of the 2nd 1985!). Anyway, after a relaxed hour in the ward, having blood pressure taken, with the anaesthetist coming to take me through the various drugs I’d be under, and the surgeon comprehensively taking me through the process, it felt more like a day spa compared to the two births. Both of which, as emergency csections had much less explaining, and a lot more running down the corridor shouting out bits of information for my husband to sign consent for before sticking me in the back with a needle! I had no idea routine surgery was so calm! I had a student nurse with me which has come to be a good luck charm for my husband and I as we had student midwives with us for both children’s births. It was her first time in theatre and she was more nervous than I was. As the sterilisation was laparoscopic, when she came out, she was a bit disappointed it hadn’t been more gory, and we discussed cool Greys Anatomy cases that she hopes to see some of in her career! I’m going to send a card to wish her good luck for the rest of her career because she (like all the staff there) were brilliant and I think she’ll make a brilliant nurse. One of the theatre assistants was also on a placement, studying medicine at Cardiff, an original Cheltenham boy who hopes to become a surgeon. Was also great and we chatted about TV programmes making exciting sounding professions much less paperwork heavy than they actually are!! Again another excellent addition to our NHS. My surgeon was hilarious, originally a refugee and a privilege to have such a friendly expert on my case. He explained it all clearly, with humour and I couldn’t have felt in safer hands. 

Anyway, gushing about the NHS aside (I know that we’re very lucky in Cheltenham, the strain in other towns and cities makes it much harder for the staff to give as much time and attention as they’d like). I went into surgery at 2pm, and came out at 4pm, with (as the paperwork listed rather hilariously) my reproductive career over.

I’m on stronger epilepsy drugs since the day before yesterday until tomorrow, as sometimes going under general anaesthetic, and going through surgery can make it worse. The outcome of that is I become (as my husband affectionately calls it!) the duchess of Floopstown! So I’ve been a little bit all over the place (I apparently burst into tears last night because my husband’s apprentice said that the afternoon tea he’d had in Oxford with us was one of the best he’d tried, and I was really upset that his fiancée hadn’t been there with us…! The afternoon tea was weeks ago now so who knows why that came up in conversation, but Floopstown is an unpredictable place!). I’ve been teary, giggly, generally not with it most of the time. I called my brother to tell him I was home, and he informed me that, as he was the one who drove me home, he was in fact aware. He also reiterated that he’d had a good day, as I had apparently asked him three or four times on the 5 minute journey home! I insisted on having a ‘tea party’, which basically just consisted of forcing my husband, and his two apprentices to have a cup of tea at 10.30 at night after they’d got back from work, I didn’t finish my tea, but allegedly I was thrilled with having a tea party! 

My point is, I don’t think I have yet dealt properly with my change in status. My family will likely think it is me being dramatic. But I am aware that I feel a little bit bereft, unnecessarily feel less womanly now I have had a procedure that has taken away quite a major function. I didn’t think I could have kids, regular readers will know the plethora of ridiculousness that means it was likely to be difficult to conceive. So I only really started to deal with the fact that I could aged 28. I admit before then I’d been shamefully blasé about protection with regular partners because I didn’t think it could happen, and it never had. But it seems my body just needed the right partner who has, as it turns out magic powers! (I probably shouldn’t make a comment like that publicly really but he’ll I’m still on the stronger drugs!) so my ‘reproductive career’ as it was termed(!) has only really been five years long, and it can at least be said that I made the most of that time!! We have two beautiful children that have completed our family, so I really cannot complain about being made redundant from that particular role. Especially as I count myself extremely lucky to have been able to create two amazing, healthy, happy little girls. That said, I now definitely cannot, and that does make me feel a little sad and I think that’s allowed. I will get over myself very quickly but I will allow myself to mourn the end of that era. 

I also admit to being a bit frustrated at being the sick kid again. Last week, I hosted 16 family members for an Easter roast dinner with no problem at all. In fact, the whole weekend our house was joyously full of family, and I thoroughly enjoyed hosting it all. I am a very happy and proud matriarch of my family and that’s a role I really cherish, looking after people and taking care of things. The pregnancy hormones, almost on cue started to finally be gone just after Holly’s first birthday, which is, I believe the time they do go, and I had just started feeling human again, or woman in control of her own body again I should say! And although it’s still being controlled by medication, the epilepsy hadn’t been an issue. I was really on track to be ‘normal’ as it were (HA! Normals not a word I would usually use, I’m not a fan of being normal or average, I’ve always danced to my own tune, even if it’s a bit of an odd one!). So to be back in bed, with my children not allowed to climb over me, and not being able to scoop them both up and run around with them. Having to rest and rely on other people to cook for me, or help me wash because I can’t stretch up or bend down without my husband’s help, feels like a huge step back. I suddenly feel useless again. My matriarchy is wilting(!) My husband has had to hold my hand and tell me that everything’s going to be ok, I woke him at 2am because the faces in the walls (seriously the stronger epilepsy stuff stops the seizures but it REALLY flips me out!!) were frightening and I needed reassurance that they weren’t real. That’s not quite the strong, ‘head of the family’ role I was enjoying getting on with post a tricky three years! 

But, as I keep being reminded. It’s temporary. I have only spoken to my husband about it so far because other (well meaning) people tend to say things like yes but it’s not for long/don’t worry about that/it’s alright, and, don’t get me wrong. LOGICALLY, I have a PhD, I KNOW that’s all true. But it’s like after a bereavement or a break up when people tell you you’ll feel better in time, “yes that’s great I’m aware of that but that DOESNT HELP ME RIGHT NOW DOES IT!” I say all this (mostly in jest) because it’s impossible really to know what to say in these situations. I always compare it to someone saying to someone whose hungry “you won’t be hungry later”, either help the person source food or talk about something else! So I KNOW that this will be the shortest stint of being the sick kid. And in two weeks time I’ll be back to feeling stronger and healthier and can get back to swimming and looking after everyone and generally being ‘normal’. But now, today, when I can’t sit up without being in pain, and awaiting biopsy results, and not being able to carry my children, none of that helps how I feel now, today. 

So I’m just going to allow it. Even in the happiest of musicals there’s a moment we can all really embrace the sad sentimental song. It’s ok for there to be downs even when you’re an optimist. And sometimes, excuse my language but sometimes things are a bit shit. And even though you know at your worst that other people are going through worse, it’s ok sometimes not to care about that and just let yourself feel. And that’s what I’m going for a day or so. I’m going to be clingy towards my husband, I’m going to cry, I’m going to play video games and then cry some more or check the notes in my phone because I’ve forgotten what’s going on, and I’m going to nap, and I’m going to ask for a huge dinner and not eat two bites because I feel nauseous and anything else that comes with today!

Everything’s ok and I am ok and most importantly my family is ok. And that’s all that REALLY matters. 

I’m also aware that this particular blog post is a bit jumbled and a bit all over the place but I’m a big believer in keeping this record as real as possible. Only then can it help my kids if and when they decide to become mothers and maybe go through similar things. I’ve got loads of Facebook photo albums that show all the highlight reels. But the backstage pass is just as important.

I’m now infertile, and I’m sad about that today. And I’m in pain, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the cysts won’t be anymore of a problem than having them removed, one had apparently ruptured anyway so was just an empty sack of rubbishness! I’m hugely grateful for all the staff that treated me yesterday and I’m hugely in love with my husband for how amazingly he’s taking care of me. My girls are everything and I look forward to getting back to running around with them. In the meantime I’m back to being jealous of people who get to spend time with them instead of me but hopefully that won’t be as severe as the last pregnancy (I was pretty bitter the last few months, I missed my little Ladey comrade!).

But I’ll be up and about soon, this matriarch has people to take care of and big family events to plan! To everyone in my life, family and friends, I love you and miss you, see you all soon. Ladey will be back! 

Four Explore Magic…

Standard

My husband and I work together, live together and have a lot of mutual hobbies. But because we both work freelance hours, the working part of our lives is often really dominant. And sometimes the lines are blurred, we often get to go out to the theatre, or to stay away for the night due to work; but sometimes we’ll find ourselves, in a really romantic setting…discussing whether we’ve invoiced for last weeks workshop or advertised tomorrow’s session, and we’re constantly planning the courses we run, coming up with ideas etc.

Recently we’ve tried to ensure that we don’t check emails if we’re away for the night, or we try and ignore text messages/FB messages/Twitter notifications. But with many fingers in many different pies between the two of us, it’s almost impossible to avoid it all. We’ve discussed it quite a bit, how do we separate personal and professional life? And how do we ensure we get quality time together as a couple, as a husband and wife?
This week, we answered our own question accidentally. For Holly’s first birthday, we had gone in with my Dad on organising a two day trip to Alton Towers, staying in the hotel for one night in a theme room, with dinner at a fun restaurant where your meals arrive by rollercoaster! 

We to and fro’d on whether to do it, because, our last experience of staying in a hotel with both kids was…tough to say the least!! Neither would go to bed, both kept waking the other up, and my husband and I had to sit in the dark from 7pm…fun fun fun! With one aged 1, and one nearly 3, it had been a while since we’d taken them both away because…it’s a really tiring nightmare! BUT, it’s our last 1st birthday for our children, and we wanted to treat them both to something special so we packed up the car and we held our breath and went for it! 

And it was, the, most, perfect, magical two days we’ve both ever had. A couple of realisations very early on. 

1. The girls are that little bit older now, and both can move about without having to be carried which means we’re out of that really dependant baby stage.

2. The girls are at an age where they’ve started ‘playing’ with each other.

3. Scarlett’s now tall enough to go on all of the toddler rides and with it being Holly’s first time at anywhere like this, she was just filled with delight watching it all, especially loving watching her big sister on things. So there was SO much we could do with them in the park.

4. Their sleep routines are steady enough now that a one off night as a special treat doesn’t disrupt the next few days, and we were therefore able to just play all together in the room, especially as there was a giant polar bear in it..! And then come about 9pm, they easily settled down and we were able to chat quietly before dropping off quite early ourselves thanks to a super active day!

But the main two things we realised, were that, we prioritise supporting our family. So there’s a guilt to ignoring messages or emails or any work related things, even when we’re having quality time together. HOWEVER, our girls are the bigger priority. So when we were with them these couple of days, we ignored work things because they deserve that, and we didn’t feel guilty because THEY are more important. We don’t see ourselves as important enough to ignore work for, but they definitely are! The other main thing is that quality time as a team of four is going into a really magical stage. Both girls are getting to the age where excitement levels are off the chart and seeing their eyes light up, or watching them laugh at a giant puppet, or when they turned around to smile at us to share how excited they are…? OUR.HEARTS.KEPT.BURSTING!!  

We’ve been so busy trying to work out some intellectual reason on how to perfectly balance the various aspects of our lives, we didn’t just see what was right under our noses! Our beautiful children and our family of four.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re not a nightmare sometimes…! Or that it went perfectly smoothly! We had a 1am wake up thanks to Holly who was obviously a bit unsettled with the new surrounding perhaps, and it was 3am before we got back to sleep as it’s much more difficult to settle a baby when you’re trying not to wake her toddler sibling, as well as being ultra aware of other hotel guests! We were extremely lucky with their behaviour, this week we had fantastically behaved children (that is just luck of the drawer, it can so easily go the other way!). But when we left the park today, we still had a mini tears breakdown from Scarlett who wasn’t keen on the idea of going home! We felt the same, but it’s not quite as socially acceptable for us to cry..! And it really didn’t last too long so I almost feel guilty mentioning it, because Scarlett can REALLY tantrum when she puts her mind to it..! 

We’re now back home, and we’re EXHAUSTED, but we somehow feel refreshed..! 

Being the dramatic pair that we are, on the way home, we started getting emotional about what an exciting time of our family life we were going into. We’ve officially passed newborn baby stage, and now we have two little, magical, ridiculous and hilarious children, who for now are also excited to spend time with us! This stage will pass on the blink of an eye, so it’s DEFINITELY worth prioritising.

Not all our ‘Four Explore’ holidays will go as well as this one did, we know that. We’ve had enough experience to know how lucky we were with this one, but the moments that made us well up with happiness, pride and joy, are well worth the days that don’t go our way (mostly..I mean who am I kidding, it can be a bloody battlefield some days!). But as we flop down into bed tonight, tiredly giddy from the glow of a fab two days, we’ll toast (a cup of herbal tea…seriously we’re really tired!) to some more magical memories that will follow! 

Bye Bye Baby Days…

Standard

 

Jet lag lasts a couple of days usually if you’ve crossed 3-5 time zones. So, in theory, by the 10th March, I definitely should have been back to ‘normal’. However, I am only just getting round to doing normal tasks, in which I mean catching up on emails, getting round to replying to messages I’m behind with. Life remained chaos when I was away and consequently it’s taking me ages to get back on top of it all (HA! As if I’m ever ‘on top of it’, it’s taking me ages to feel like I’m only six feet under it rather than 12..!). So I have written blog posts on the fly but they have remained a lonely word document waiting to be finished and published.

 

Consequently, some of these entries will seem a bit higgildy piggildy as I go back and finish off, but for today, the big news is that my baby is one year old! Baby Holly turned one on the 19th last Sunday, as both kids had been quite poorly swapping bugs back and forth from each other (including a rather gunky conjunctivitis!) we’d gone back and forth on riking booking an event and inviting lots of people only to potentially have to cancel. In the end we decided to go for a meal with immediate family before some more family and some of the girls guideparents popped in throughout the afternoon to see us! We also plan to take both girls to Legoland as we did with Scarlett near her 1st birthday for a birthday day trip when both girls are feeling back to best!

 

We now officially don’t have a baby in the household! Our youngest is fast becoming a toddler. Our eldest starts school next year, in no time at all, we seem to have gone from a young unmarried couple having an “oh my goodness in nine months time we’re going to have a tiny baby,” to a slightly older now married couple having an, “look at our two beautiful little girls both turning into actual little people” (usually followed with… “ok whose turn is it to stop Holly pulling her sisters hair in the buggy..?”

 

It’s made us both very nostalgic, even slightly so for the difficult times! Obviously not the traumatic side of those moments, but we’ve looked back on the long late night drives when I couldn’t sleep (or needed a late night McDonalds milkshake in the case of Scarlett’s pregnancy, or a McDonalds Apple Pie during Holly’s!) and we’d chat endlessly about what it might be like to be parents, what we wanted for them, for us etc etc.. Sitting in the hospital watching little grey blobs dance about on ultrasound machines, the two occasions we found out we were expecting girls. For me really distinctly, despite the fact that both births are blurs because of the epilepsy medication and they were both emergency csections. HOWEVER, I really distinctly remember on both occasions staring into my husbands eyes. Knowing that everything was going to be alright because we were there together, and I was looking into his eyes the first time I heard both my daughters first cry. That’s a memory I will never forget.

 

My girls have changed my life. In so many ways, I get even less sleep now, I get peed on much more than I used to and I have more people grabbing onto my hair/clothes/face than I ever used to! But I’m also more motivated, I have more drive, and my days are even more mental than they were before but kind of brilliant. 

 

In my first ever blog post I mentioned wanting to walk the Great Wall of China with my child but that I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d realise was a bit idealistic after having children. But nearly three years in, having travelled quite a bit with both of them (there’s definitely ways of doing it and ways of DEFINITELY not doing it!), I feel like it’s doable, one day. And so I really hope that one day, both girls in hand I’ll still make that ridiculous idealistic milestone that I somehow set myself!

 

Pathetic pride…

Standard

I am NOT a housewife. That is to say, that I am TERRIBLE at doing housewifey things, I don’t know how to keep on top of house maintenance. I’ve got a PhD for christs sake, so put me at a crime scene and I will really quickly give you the time of death, as well as provide a detailed report on what has happened. But ask me to keep on top of hoovering/various types of cleaning (past washing up), or ask me what type of cleaning agent is used on what and I will stare at you because I don’t know, and who talks about stuff like that? (Yes it’s weirder to talk about anthropology over the dinner table, fine.) 

HOWEVER. Over the last 24 hours my toddler had been rather violently sick a few times in a few places at home, and if there’s one thing I CAN do, it’s ANYTHING needed to keep my girls safe and well. So today I wiped, and swept, and mopped and scrubbed to try and make the place as germ free as possible. Baby Holly it seems (fingers crossed), just has tummy troubles relating to teething so we’re hoping she won’t catch the nasty vomiting part. 

I will never win any awards for a tidy, spotless house and I will be an eternal and constant disappointment to my parents on that front. BUT today I got the place shining for my daughters, and although this is a pointlessly long post about something most home runners most likely do all the time, I’m a bit bloody proud. (Oh also, housewives and househusbands, you are my HEROES, please teach me all you know). I couldn’t take away how rotten both children were feeling, and that’s horrible, but I was able to sleep on the floor next to Scarlett last night so she didn’t have to wake up and be sick on her own at any point. I have endless cuddles for both of them as they’re both feeling clingy, a bit subdued and generally not quite their bubbly selves. And to protect them, my floor gleamed today.