The Ordinary Moments #6 – Back to the Routine

The Ordinary Moments #6 – Back to the Routine

dontcallmstepmummy,

Well, the house is messy, the kitchen is a state, James is unwell, I’ve got headaches (detoxing at the moment), dance runs, school runs, working from home, bank balance pretty much zero, we must be back to normal *chuckles.*  It is so crazy sometimes running around after 5 people (I’m including James as until he can drive and with all his recent interviews etc. I’m his chauffeur), I don’t feel like my life is my own.  I don’t say that in a negative way though, I absolutely love my family and would do anything for them, and at the moment the housework isn’t getting me down (yet), if it starts to get more on top of me we’ll see.  Once these detoxing headaches disappear I’m sure I’ll be back with a vengeance.

This upcoming week is so manic, tomorrow we’re up early to take Shayla to her first day at school, I know many of you have school runs, but mine involves the motorway as the girls go to school near their Mum’s home so it makes it a little bit more stressful with all the traffic, and takes a lot longer than when I’ll start walking Judah and Eden to school around the corner.  James has various appointments in the day, Judah has his first baby ballet class, and then I am teaching in the evening followed by attending a fundraising women’s event at church, a car treasure hunt ‘Valley Vroom.’  It’s to raise money for ‘Vision Rescue‘ that helps radically change slum communities in India.

valley vroom

Tuesday is a normal day as far as I’m aware, aside from the fact that there is a meet the teacher day at the school for parents, and a parent association meeting at the school before that, then Isis has a coaching class for her tap exam.  I used to be involved with the PTA at the school before I got pregnant with Eden, but it just became impractical for me to attend as I was just so unwell.  Sometimes I struggle to know where to draw the line with attending everything, it’s hard when there’s four of them.  We have a meeting at church then in the evening for all those who call our church ‘home’.  These tend to be quarterly so not too frequent and really set the direction of where we are heading as a community trying to make a difference.

Wednesday is another meet the teacher day for Key Stage 2 so that will be for Isis, and then I am teaching again, she also has a coaching class for her modern exam that evening, still haven’t worked out how I’m going to juggle my lessons and taking her to that one yet, hmm… will have to see what I can rejig.  Then I have creative night at church, where all the creatives (muso’s, techies, artistic) people gather every other week to learn new songs and practice our skill set.  I love these evenings, I have taken a step back from singing on the platform at the moment just whilst life is hectic but still intend to attend Creative nights, we’ll see how we go.

Thursday I’m teaching, collecting the girls from school, running an after school singing club, then James and I are out for the evening whilst my amazing sister babysits. We’re attending a marriage course which the church are running for all married people who would like to do it, from newlyweds to 30+ years wed there will be a variety there.  I am looking forward to gleaning some wisdom (the course was oversubscribed so we are blessed to have a place).

Friday I am up early as I am doing the hair and make-up of various bridesmaids and a beautiful bride and then we are attending her lovely wedding, so excited.  They’ve invited us as a whole family which is so kind when there are so many of us, so I am very appreciative and looking forward to it as it will be at beautiful Salmesbury Hall.

Saturday after a late night at the wedding will be the early morning dance run again and then Sunday church.  Somewhere in the midst of all that I want to capture some amazing moments with my husband and my children.  I really love the shot above of them messing at the piano, I also have some funny videos of Judah singing away and bashing on the piano.  As he’s two though, they really are songs only a mother could love, although he shows real promise so I will spare you from feeling obliged to watch and restrain from posting them *winks*.

I just love having them all around me, I am grateful for blogging shifting my perspective and also laying down some of my passions (singing on the platform) to remember that at the moment I need to just focus on home, my relationship with my hubby and my relationship with our children.  I thought I would resent laying stuff down but it just made me enjoy what I’m doing with them all the more, as I’m less stressed and trying to juggle that little bit less.

Here are the children together reading, the house is a mess, I’m sorry, we also used a similar photo for our Silent Sunday post this week.

dontcallmestepmummy, children reading 034

I am just so grateful to be able to catch as many lovely moments with them in the madness of routine as I can.  I just love watching their interactions together and this week I have really treasured the cuddles with each of them.  Here’s a couple of snaps of Judah and I messing doing our selfies (I’d not long fed Eden so please excuse the item in the background, was unsure whether to mention or not, mental note, need to get photoshop soon).

image image

So, I guess this is our beautiful ordinary at the moment.  Looking forward, and a little apprehensive to how it will all change once James starts his new job but I tell you this much, it is always an adventure *winks*.
//
The_Ordinary_Moments.PNG

Siblings in September

Siblings in September

18 days of summer 5
our minions

It has been such a lovely month having time with the children all together.  20 days we had them all together for in the end, and it was amazing.  They really bonded so well, Judah has struggled a bit since but it won’t be long until the girls are back again.  There still were not many times that I was able to get the camera out and try and capture them all together though.

Eden is now crawling every chance that she gets, she wriggles off in the hopes for food she can scavenge usually.  Judah will never really look at the camera, but the girls bless them, the girls are always ready to pose.  So, we just need to spend more time making sure that we take Eden out of the pram and try to capture moments where all four of them can be in front of the camera.  I’m sure taking part in this project will feel easier when they’re all that little bit older and I can tell them where to stand (and stay) if they want to get some chocolate *chuckles.*

So this picture above, the first one I took of the four of them at the start of our 18 Days (that turned into 20) of Summer remains my favourite for the Siblings shoot this month.  I love how all of their clothes kind of match, even though it was completely unplanned.  I had just collected the girls from their Mums so they were wearing the clothes they had gone back in the Sunday before.  I love how they are all relaxed and giggling happy.  It marks the start of a beautiful season for us all.
//
I look forward to many more beautiful photos of our precious minions as this monthly Siblings project unfolds.

dear beautiful

18 Days of Summer #13

18 Days of Summer #13

my family

Today we began our day safely in Worthing.  Judah had me up at 5am so it was another early start.  James’ parents had bought croissants and pain au chocolat in for breakfast so the children enjoyed their fill.  The girls wanted to read the blog to catch up, so they sat together and Isis read it out to Judah (who’s interest wavered much) and Shayla, they were very cute.

007

We decided to just go and see what we could find to do in and around Worthing.  I did the girls hair as usual, their choices today …

diagonal loop braid
diagonal loop braid

and Isis had …

half-loop tieback
half-loop tieback

Isis’ half-loop tieback would be a great ‘back2school’ hairstyle if I’d done it a bit tighter to her head.  I had done it loose as I thought it looked pretty sitting where it did, but it meant that stray hairs kept working their way above the braid all day just making it look messy.  This began when the children were terrorising James when we were trying to get ready.

cute Dad's hairstyles
cute Dad’s hairstyles

We were going to head for lunch when our plans were thwarted by Eden’s need to have a nap, so James made us all lunch.  I had an omelette (trying to eat healthier) and the rest ate bacon and egg sandwiches.  Once Eden was up and had eaten her lunch (an Ella’s Kitchen pouch) we headed into Worthing.  As soon as we started wandering into town, we stumbled upon a mobile sandpit.  It was in the middle of the town and had a stage set up and music playing.  Buckets and spades were in the sand and the girls immediately wanted to go play.  Judah had fallen asleep in the Bugaboo Donkey by now, Eden was still wide awake, so I took her to join in too.  NB. I had to keep Eden’s pacifier in so she wouldn’t eat the sand.

031
Shayla showing off her sandcastle
I love sunny Worthing
I love how paunchy she looks here, it’s all coat *wink*

025 040 042 047

Dave Benson Phillips do you remember him?  The CBBC Presenter of ‘Get Your Own Back’ where a child gets to dunk a teacher or an adult who has wronged them in gunge.  He was singing children’s songs and party dance numbers.  The girls were far too interested in making sandcastles as it was one of the things on their bucket list we hadn’t managed to do yet, but I know if Judah hadn’t been asleep, he would’ve been dancing along.

After a while, I noticed it was going to start raining, again *tuts*, so we decided to head somewhere warm for a hot beverage.  We headed to the little restaurant on the Pier.  it was lovely, very buggy friendly, even with my double beast, I had no problems inside or out with maneuverability.  We didn’t quite make it to the Pier without them pulling funny faces in the face boards around the side of the sandpit.

062 063 065

We all enjoyed hot chocolates with marshmallows, whipped cream and a flake apart from Alan (James’ Dad) who had a Baileys Coffee, think I would’ve joined him if I wasn’t still breastfeeding Eden.  Judah was still asleep and Eden had a bit of a crawl around the table and then the floor, it still looks so odd as she is so small.

Here are some snaps we got from our trip to the restaurant on the Pier ‘The Denton‘ as it is called.

103
rocking my Prada
100
hmm… why didn’t you get me a coffee Daddy?
091
Close-up
080
‘I love my Daddy’
076
bored in the buggy
072
being cheeky
067
I want to get this made into a canvas for Alan
094
doing a ‘Britney’, not a fan of the mamarazzi
077
poor Judah was still asleep

When we got back to the house, Alan made us a lovely homemade staple… ‘sausage, mash and onion gravy’ it was so yum.  You know when you just fancy something simple and tasty.  It really hit the spot, also, he dragged another table through and made it very cute for us all to eat in one sitting.  Judah and Shayla looked especially cute on their table.

hmm... food
hmm… food

After dinner the children put on a performance for us, of the dreaded Ice film, yes, the dreaded F* word….. *whispers* Frozen.  My favourite part was they had dressed James up as a reindeer with antlers on his head made from a coathanger and a belt in his mouth as the bridle.  Shayla riding in on his back was hilarious.  Children can be so creative sometimes, I think they get their overactive imaginations from their Father haha.  Here are some pics of the grand finale and their audience.

113 124 129 141It was such a late night for them all.  I loved seeing them so happy, but by the time James and I got to bed we were absolutely exhausted.  I have to drive to London tomorrow to drop off my Bugaboo Donkey with my wonderful friend Charlotte who sells them, and pick up a Cameleon with a buggy board for my monkey prince instead.  I am really looking forward to hanging out with her, but not to the drive.  Also very excited to see my pint-sized princesses new chariot, I’ve gone really girlie as now Judah won’t be sharing it with her (aside from his manly buggy board) I can.

Anyone else have to watch constant shows and performances of the dreaded ice film, or just made up performances in general or is it just our fame hungry minions?
//

18 Days of Summer #12

18 Days of Summer #12

099

 Today was a very long day, as the alarm was set for 3:30am.  Today we were travelling down to Worthing, West Sussex.  This is a 6 hour drive if you drive straight down with no stops and there’s no traffic.  I had all the children with me and James was travelling down on the National Express (hmm… wonder who had the better deal?).
After everyone was ready, and I’d finished sorting boosters, isofix’s, seatbelts it was just before 5.  I had been throwing up all morning, don’t know if that was because it was early or the anxiety, but it was horrible.  Anyway, we were on our way.
The first part of the journey was great, I drove the first 3 and a half hours straight.  We listened to music, I had to sing along to some upbeat Beyonce to keep myself awake.  The children did some dancing to their church favourites, the babies mostly slept.  Shayla was fantastic, giving Eden her bottle, feeding her a banana and putting her pacifier back in when she wanted it.  She was being an amazing big sister as she was stuck in the middle between the two babies.
We finally stopped at Beaconsfield services as it was getting close to 9 o’clock and we were just outside of London.  I could see traffic was going to become a problem so I cheered at the sight of a Starbucks.  It was quite funny actually, I cheered, ‘yay, a Starbucks for Mummy, woohoo!’ and Judah exclaimed ‘yay, ‘Donalds for Judah, woohoo!’  The girls were in hysterics.
breakfast 1
Isis enjoying her pancakes
breakfast 2
Shayla had a sausage and egg snack wrap

breakfast 3

breakfast 4
Judah also had pancakes (minus the syrup *wink*)
breakfast 5
breastfeeding tip when travelling with 4 children, 1 that may run off (pack a bottle)

It wasn’t fun being in the services with all 4 of them at once.  I had Judah attached to my wrist with his monkey backpack (to learn more about his backpack click here).  My handbag with all electronic valuables I didn’t want to leave in the car over my shoulder, the my pinklining yummy mummy changing bag across my body, carrying the maxi-cosi car seat with the other arm.  Luckily, the two girls walked closely by my side and are well-behaved, otherwise I just wouldn’t have been able to do this.

As I tried to enjoy my coffee, I had downgraded to McDonald’s coffee as trekking them all across to Starbucks wouldn’t have been fun, Judah started to throw himself in the middle of the floor.  Jo Public just walked over him as the hustle and bustle doesn’t stop for a toddler tantrum.  I wasn’t enjoying my coffee for much longer so decided to cut my losses and get everyone back in the car.  Judah was not very happy at this idea, and did the usual struggle to get into the car seat, can’t blame him after the long drive but I still had to get where I was going so in he went.  He proceeded to scream for about half an hour.  I just switched off.  I had to, he set Eden off.  The result was something like this …

 Don’t you wish you were me?  Isis found my backing tracks on Spotify, I use them for my Popular Music pupils, we decided to have a singsong as we got stuck in traffic.  Here’s a couple of vids, the singing isn’t amazing, we were just having fun, but the faces the girls pull, especially Isis made me chuckle.

and the dreaded song from the Ice movie that cannot receive it’s proper title around most children without setting off a reaction.

 Singing kept me chilled and relaxed as I could be.  We never needed to use ‘Turbo’ on the iPad, I was so impressed with their behaviour.  It could’ve been so much worse.  We arrived in Worthing just before lunch time, Grandad sorted them out with some toast and ‘Despicable Me’ on arrival.  I was very grateful to just sit and chill for a while.
chilling in Nanny and Grandad's living room
chilling in Nanny and Grandad’s living room

Nanny arrived not long after to see the children.  She sorted them out with sausage rolls, salad, grapes etc.  They were very happy and well-fed children.

We then decided as the weather had brightened up a little bit to go and have a perusal of the local surroundings.  I needed to go and collect James in about 2 hours time at this point, but he had the double buggy with him.  Nevermind, I wore Eden in my Simply Good Cozy Wrap sling and Judah could walk with his monkey backpack attached…. or could he?  We headed out anyway.

This all went well when Judah was enjoying himself and we were doing the things he wanted to do.  The children had a great time, running through sprinklers, playing at the park.  Below are some of the shots I captured.

061

114 157

164 176

178 191

205 231

245 261

284 289

It all turned when it was time to leave the park and Judah didn’t want to.

judah's refusal

I could tell that it was going to start raining so we were headed for home.  Grandad walked ahead with the two girls and Judah decided he wouldn’t move.  I was probably only about a quarter of a mile from the house, but when you have a baby strapped to you and a 2 year old that won’t walk this is not a good combination.  It started to rain, literally throwing it down, we were drenched, I looked as though I had been fully submerged in water.  Judah was just led in the street refusing to come with me.  I was concerned about how wet Eden was getting, we’ve all got coughs and colds at the moment.  Grandad was long gone with the girls.

I wanted to reason with Judah, hoping we could come to an arrangement whereas, he walks home and I give him chocolate, but no, he didn’t want to be reasoned with.  I told him he would lose his Peppa Pig watching privileges and there would be no cake.  This didn’t work either.  To be fair, he’s 2, he was tired and didn’t want to walk.  The problem was, I was exhausted and just couldn’t carry them both.  Unfortunately for me, after strangers were coming up to us to stand with us with their umbrella’s, cafe owners running out to tell me I could come sit in their cafe if I wanted, the reality was I pretty much half carried him, and half dragged him home.  Alternating as I had the energy, it was horrific.  I got in with 2 completely drenched babies, and informed James’ dad that he would have to go and collect James from the train station as I needed to get the children into a warm bath and into some clean clothes.  This is not an experience I ever want to repeat.

Once James was home, I stayed in bed.  I laid in bed, in my nightie, breastfeeding the baby and then just stayed there.  I was completely zapped of energy.  You know that feeling when you’re about to snap and you go one of two ways, I could either… drown all the screaming children in the bath (obviously not an option but can totally understand why people do these horrific things, not that it is ever excusable, I guess that’s why they now make new mum’s watch the shaken baby syndrome videos on the maternity wards) or just switch off entirely for my sanity.  I chose to just switch off, I let the children run riot and I stayed in bed with the baby.  All the other adults looked after the children and I zoned out for the evening.  Eventually, when the children were going to bed I gave them all kisses and cuddles, told them I loved them, checked they’d enjoyed their dinner Grandad made, and said goodnight.

James came to bed later and we watched Bridget Jones : The Edge of Reason that was on television, I say watched it, but I was asleep before they got to Thailand.

I was pleased with all we achieved today, but am grateful that I am not a single parent.  I think all single parents are amazing, I salute you and do not know how you do it.  You astound me, and I am very grateful I have a husband who can take over when I am at the end of my wit.

//

18 Days of Summer #11

18 Days of Summer #11

baby Potter

 Today was the most stressful day I’ve had in a long time.  We had decided last night despite my anxiety that we would travel down to Worthing on Tuesday and allocate today as a rest day for me, so that I would be ready to do the 6 hour drive (not including stops) with 4 children on my own.  I felt happy with our decision, but awoke to a text from my mother-in-law with a different suggestion for us.
After a lot of back and forths, we had come to the conclusion that they didn’t want us to come down, we weren’t welcome for whatever reason (this would be very out of character) and I was getting so stressed out with all the extra thought processing whilst I was supposed to be resting.  We decided we would just forget travelling down altogether.
When we finally spoke to James’ Dad on the phone, we realised they really wanted us to come.  They had set up the whole house ready for our arrival and had even slept on the sofa bed downstairs the night before as they didn’t want to ruin the room they had prepared for us.  The truth was that they really wanted us to come down, but were trying to balance that out and not make us feel pressured as they were aware that I have been having some anxiety issues and whilst James is looking for a job there are financial pressures.  This had resulted in us being so confused with all the alternatives we kept being offered and thinking we weren’t wanted.  Bizarre.
Anyway, that was finally cleared up and we set about preparing to come down.  I have had a dreadful cold, maybe, just hayfever, hard to tell as I can’t take any antihistamines with breastfeeding Eden.
cute boys hairstyles
cute boys hairstyles
'the boo'
‘the boo’

The children enjoyed a relaxed day watching movies and performing shows for us.  The girls decided that as they weren’t have a ‘cute girls hairstyle’ today, they would give Judah a ‘cute boys hairstyle.’  So funny, he loved it and kept it in all day.  James and I called it ‘the boo’ as that’s what he reminded us of, from Monsters Inc.

The rest of the evening was spent packing, so hardly an action packed day of fun for the children, but they still had a lovely day.  Sometimes, I feel so much pressure to make every day exciting for them.  I guess that’s what us mum’s do in the Summer Holidays, but especially for the girls as in the future we would aim to go away somewhere with them, like the year we went to Butlins.  When you go away there’s always entertainment for them, so you don’t have to think, or feel guilty because they’re entertained.  It doesn’t do them any hard to have a relaxed day every once in a while.

shayla's attempt at packing, how many princess dresses does a girl need?
shayla’s attempt at packing, how many princess dresses does a girl need?

The Princess‘ made me laugh so much with her idea of packing.  I told her it would be cold and this is what she packed in her trunky.  I guess a princess can never be underprepared for potential royal engagements.

I downloaded ‘Turbo’ onto the iPad incase the children were bored in the car.  I’ve not seen it, so hoping to get chance myself at some point.  Ignoring my anxiety, I was prepared to travel the next day.

James and I got to bed very late and I set my alarm for 3:30am tomorrow.  This didn’t leave much time.  Not the best of days, but hey, this is a realistic account of our blended family life.

*pictures displayed are just random photographs I captured today, as opposed to details of what we were up to.  Apologies for a boring blog day.

//

Date Night #1

Date Night #1

James and I tried to go out on a date night half way through last month.  Our friends willingly stepped up and offered to babysit all four of them for us.  When they first mentioned it I literally had to hold back the tears as I just never saw this happening for us.  I figured when James has a job and we can afford, we can maybe pay someone we find who goes through extensive referencing (I’m a little OTT, although think you can never be too careful) and then we can maybe be strategic about date night.  To have friends we know, love and trust offer to watch them for us.  A lovely childless (at the moment) couple want to give up their Saturday night to sit in our living room and put our children to bed?  I was extremely overwhelmed.

date night 1
Isis didn’t wait until we’d left to show her true colours haha
Date night 2
Andy looks scared – not really he was awesome
date night 3
Chrissie invaded by the babies

They joined us for food, James cooked us all a roast pork dinner.  Bless him, and then after I’d washed the dishes and pottered around (a lot), I was anxious to leave and just kept finding things to do, they practically ushered us out of the house (well a toss up between that and James virtually dragging me).  We were very, very short of money at the time (well, we are in general at the moment) and the bit of money we had in the bank we needed for petrol.  So, we just set off without a real plan (date night FAIL).

058 083 063

James just kept taking photographs whilst I was driving, I was trying to find a place I used to go walking as a child, it’s about 25 mins drive from our home.  I missed the turning and we then ended up hopping on the motorway back home *oops*.  We parked up and went to the pub at the end of our street, so funny.  Figured it would be useful to know if it was any good or not though, right?? right?? work with me here people trying to make excuses for my epic fail.

Date night fail no. 2 from me.  The pub at the end of the street was strange, I’m so not used to that environment on a Saturday night anymore, it seemed unreal.  Reminded me of when I started out gigging in the corner of places like it…. singing my shoulda woulda coulda’s for some money.  I think I much prefer a nice wine bar.  The food that was being served looked great though and I thought we’ll come back here one lunch/dinner time with the children.  The next fail was that James brought into conversation something that had been stressing us both out, and I answered him.  Wasn’t good, I was struggling with anxiety at the time and we were supposed to be escaping all that for quality time.  It ended up with my running back and forwards to the loo and realising that I would just rather snuggle up at home.  We then returned home.

We returned back a grand 1 hour and 20 minutes after we left the house to find all the children asleep in bed and Andy and Chrissie watching ‘Hook’ relaxing on the sofa.  They were legends and are definitely booked in for next time (they’ve given us a date in October due to their holidays, well worth waiting for).  They borrowed ‘Hook’ and we went to snuggle upstairs.

Things we have learned from Date Night #1 :

a) plan – know what we’re going to do before we do it

b) save – set aside the money earlier in the month so we’re prepared for what we’ve planned

c) don’t discuss stressful things – date night is supposed to be about quality time.  Although I was pleased with the outcome of our conversation, it could’ve been discussed another time.

I’m looking forward to doing  trying to do things properly next time.

//