{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #23 – 4 Years On

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #23 – 4 Years On

We’ve just closed the door on the Grandparents (James’ parents) as they go off to their local hotel for the evening after a lovely weekend all enjoying each other’s company.  Nothing particularly planned so we hung out at the park for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon and today we showed them the local woodlands that we always like to walk around.  As I looked around downstairs and checked the doors were locked and turned off the lights, I felt a twinge in my heart as the house felt empty and so quiet (the babies were just being settled in bed by James upstairs).

I walked up the stairs and glanced at the girls bedroom, the door was open and there are a few clothes on the floor as they just got changed to go back to their Mum’s home and I realised why my heart aches.  I miss them.  Desperately I miss them. My home doesn’t feel complete when they’re not here.

It’s so strange because these two little girls who have woven themselves deep into my heart must now have pierced through to the deepest layer.  I wrote recently about how I ‘feel’ again.  I am on anti-depressants just 10mg a day which is a very low dose according to the GP but it seems to work for me.  I am so much more balanced now.  I was worried when I reluctantly agreed to take them that they would make me numb to my emotions.  As my heart is finally healing after years of abuse and hurt, they seem to have done the opposite.  I ‘feel’ so much more.  I am not numb at all, in fact I’m laughing again, really laughing, I am getting goosebumps when I listen to singers I love, I’m crying when I read something moving.  I’m me again, and I’m definitely not numb.

The only problem with this seems to be that what used to feel normal (the girls going home to their Mum’s each week) now feels heart wrenching.  It’s been 4 years since these princesses came into my life and their names are now so deeply engraved on my heart, I’m weeping that they’ve gone home.  Of course this isn’t the sort of situation where they go home to an evil household and we should be fighting for full custody because I love them so much.  No, that is not the case at all.  The girls are deeply loved at both homes and they need their Mum and Kerry (Mum’s wife) in their lives as much as they need us.  This is something that I just need to adjust to as this is our normal life.  This is the way it is as a blended family.  I’m just so sad this evening because 4 years on, I just don’t feel complete without them here.  We are half a family.  We don’t see ourselves as a separate unit when the girls aren’t here, we see ourselves as one big family and we just don’t always get to be together because we share the girls with another happy family.  This has always been the aim as I made the active choice to love and treat the girls as my own all this time, it is now 100% a complete reality.  I would sometimes wonder if this was really true, but tonight has shown me although I did not birth them, I love and see these girls completely as my own.

We’re so fortunate that we have the girls as much as we do.  The girls pretty much have shared parenting.  We have them less at the moment as now James has the car for work and we live so far away, it’s not practical for me to do the school run with two toddlers, (it would be 2 buses and an hour each way Thursdays and Fridays), but as soon as we have a second car we will have the girls Thursday to Sunday again.  When it’s a Bank Holiday we usually get to keep them longer, in the holidays we will have them for 2 weeks straight which will be lovely.  I can’t wait.  We get to share Easter and Christmas and all family special occasions with them, they’re always here, they’re never excluded from any important events.  We’re really lucky that this pretty much shared parenting works so well for us all and that their Mum allows us to have so much time without having to go through messy court cases.  We’ve arrived at a really balanced happy place where whatever we can manage is what we do.

It took a lot of trial and error to arrive where we are.  It has been a long journey of swapping days, seeing how the girls responded, Isis being happy, Shayla being unhappy and vice versa, but we are now where everyone seems truly happy.  I feel so blessed to live this life.  It certainly did not always feel this way.  There have been times that I have felt it is too hard.  Trying to get two parents to agree on some decisions can be difficult for most families, we have moments where all four of us are at luggerheads., there’s no doubting that it is hard.  There are things I could share but they don’t belong on our special place, this blog is for us all and the girls read it regularly when they are at their Mummy’s.  Please if you are a step mum who is struggling though, especially at the beginning of the journey feel free to email me (dontcallmestepmummy@gmail.com) if you need some encouragement, or to know you’re not alone.  There are many support groups out there as well as on facebook.  There are many negative spaces on the internet for stepmum’s but also some supportive ones.

I am crazy happy with our lives and this afternoon as we were all walking through the woods I watched the children holding hands with James walking ahead of me as I talked to my in laws and said ‘Don’t you just feel like you need to pinch yourself?’.  It really does feel like a dream.  When I remember where I was 5 years ago and where I am now, I thank God for blessing me with such an amazing husband and wonderful family.

* This post is dedicated to all the blended families out there beginning their journey.  Keep going it does get easier and I know for us, even still, the best is yet to come.

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{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #11 – Pillow Talk

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #11 – Pillow Talk

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This weeks photos are all taken on my iPhone as we were just hanging out in Daddy and my bedroom.  We decided we would sneak some girl time together.  We do this every once in a while but not as often as I’d like.  Normally James and I are so tired we send the children off to bed at bedtime every evening and enjoy some peace from the madness.  My sister arrived back from Australia this week and she couldn’t cope more than 20 minutes hanging out in our living room with the children all being crazy and making noise as they normally do in the day.  It’s funny what becomes our beautiful ordinary, mine is toys splayed everywhere, books being shoved in my face and Judah petitioning me for the iPad, and then crying when he’s told no.  What is it about technology and toddlers, it’s like crack to them.  Anyway, last night I decided to keep the girls up and enjoy some pillow talk in our room.

Isis is being so cuddly lately, I feel genuine love from her often these days.  It used to just feel like she loved me because I was constantly running her around to everywhere she needed to be, but as life has become calmer, she often comes and snuggles in to me, just for cuddles.  The last time I remember her doing this so affectionately was on our wedding day 3 years ago.  This epitomises her being happy to me.  I am so delighted at this, we have been on quite a journey with our eldest over the last 4 years as we worked out the kinks and found a ‘balance’ with contact between the two homes that allowed her to feel secure.  We must’ve had 5 months of calm without acting up at school now too.  This is amazing if you knew any of her story with school.  She has given me permission to blog about it if I’d like now that she’s out of the thick of it.  I didn’t feel it fair to write about her struggles whilst she was going through them as she reads this blog avidly.  After all, I blog for them.

We sat chatting about what they want to be when they grow up, here are their current options:

Isis

– a dance teacher

– a singer that goes out on gigs

Shayla-Rae

– a ballerina

– a dance teacher

– a princess

– a teenager

We were laughing about how Shayla wants to be a teenager, I explained that she would get her wish for sure with that one.  We chatted about how they need new pyjamas.  Shayla is so random, we’ll be chatting about normal things and then you hear the end of her sentence ….’wee in a pot’.  She’s hilarious, she is definitely her father’s daughter.  The vivid things she comes up with remind me so much of James.  If you’ve ever read any of his guest posts on our blog you’ll understand what I mean.

Eden’s room is the walk-in attached to our room, it has been perfect whilst she’s been small, whilst we were chatting there came a ‘Let it Go’ from her room.  Absolutely hilarious, we were all in stitches, she was nicely asleep and then just started singing, and then went back to sleep.  It was such a funny outburst.  She’s always singing at the moment, she is going to be like me.  Always singing, always humming and dancing happily away to herself and the tunes that must be whizzing around in her head.  I love that baby (well, toddler now) she is just full of joy all the time.

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Isis and Shayla tried on my engagement ring, it fit Isis’ thumb nicely haha and I’m only a size J and they started to tell me about who they wanted to marry when they grow up.

Shayla-Rae:

– her boyfriend Sean (shh…. don’t tell Daddy)

Isis winds her up by calling him ‘Sean the Sheep’, I ask Isis about boyfriends and she says all the boys at her school suck, none are worthy…. haha.

Isis:

– someone like Daddy

– someone protective

Shayla randomly kisses Isis’ foot, this is normal for our crazy household.  Isis tells her she’s strange.  We started searching for some photos of when I was younger that the girls wanted to see, we didn’t find them, but we did find an annoying toy we thought we had escaped.  It was one of those hamster toys that just moves on it’s own and makes little noises.  They thought it would be funny to put outside Martina’s door (she’s got the third floor to herself), so Shayla snuck up and put it outside her bedroom door.  It made Martina laugh, she text me thanking the girls… haha.  We then all started plotting little pranks we could pull on Martina, just being silly of course, we love Martina, this was not ‘The Sound of Music’ esque where the children want to get rid of the au pair, we were just being silly.

Isis said that we could put some of our lining wallpaper (that they use for drawing) on the wall outside her room with tears in and write (in red she specified) ‘You’re Next!’.  I asked her what crazy things she had been watching as she sounded like she could direct a horror movie with those suggestions.

We watched the slide show of the photos we took of them in their ‘World Book Day’ costumes, we had an ‘ultra hug’ like a group hug but renamed by the girls.  Isis pointed out that Shayla’s knees looked strange in the Gruffalo costume, Shayla misunderstood and thought Isis was insulting her knees in general and then retorted with ‘your knees look like a square’.

We were all having such a lovely time but it was getting later so I decided that it was time for the girls to go to bed.  We just kept chatting and we were all so comfy, they weren’t getting out any time soon, so I then proceeded to throw them out of the bed, of course safely, but they thought it was hilarious being tipped out of the bed.

Isis then proceeded to pretend that they had died and were coming back as Zombie’s to attack us for kicking them out of the bed.

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Thank you to Katie over at ‘Mummy Daddy Me‘ again for this lovely link up.  I always enjoy taking the time to remember the beautiful ordinary that occurs in our week.  Follow the badge below to see the other posts linked up.
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{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #5 – Looking Back

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #5 – Looking Back

This week I have mostly been feeling nostalgic.  Sometimes I forget what an absolute whirlwind James’ and my relationship has been.  Also, just how quickly these beautiful little girls that God brought into my life have changed whilst I’ve not been looking.  We have been so busy getting married, having babies, moving houses that sometimes I forget what I’ve witnessed.

Shayla-Rae was just under 4 months older than Eden is now when I met James.  This little baby/toddler became a little girl right under my eyes, and I somehow forgot to soak it all in.  I think blogging has really helped me to savour the moments.  To get my head around the milestones, and know that we will have documented the babies lives and I will be able to look back and remember.  Yet, pre-blogging, or before I started blogging with this purpose (my old blog was more anonymous and more therapeutic) two precious children were gifted into my care, for varied amounts of days a week.  These photos are all stolen from my facebook page and mostly taken with first generation iphone so bear with me:

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Shayla and I (Shay aged about 20 months)

Now I’m not saying that I haven’t seen Isis grow and change I definitely have.  For as long as I have known Isis though she has been a school child.  She was in reception class when I met James, so I have seen her grow into a beautiful, kind, helpful girl.  Especially as the babies kept coming, she is so wonderfully maternal, and very helpful.  I don’t tell her enough how much I appreciate her.

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Isis aged 5

This baby – toddler – child stage that passes so quickly.  The one I am almost fighting to stay in with Judah and Eden, I was there for that with Shayla, I just didn’t think to get my head around it, or document it.  Of course, I have, there are so many photos of them all over my facebook and in frames around our home.  I didn’t just become a Mamarazzi when I birthed children, it was as soon as these precious princesses were gifted into my life.  It dawned on me this week, that next year 2016 Judah will start school.  It hit me so hard, one of those lightbulb moments…. argh… I’m going to have to share my baby…. I’m preparing him to be able to pave his way in the world….. I didn’t like this revelation.  I can’t believe that this time has passed so quickly before my eyes for Shayla, and I’m watching it all flash before me again with Judah and Eden.

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Judah just a little bit younger than Eden is now

These precious girls taught me how to be Mum, before my own babies came along.  They taught me how to be selfless, to take them on excursions when they were going stir crazy, even if I was unwell.  They showed me how to teach, instruct, pass on my skills, to bake with, to create with, to wash, dress and style another person so that they felt and looked beautiful before focusing on myself.

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the month I moved in with James, Shayla was 22 months old and Isis was 5
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baking with Isis aged 5
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Isis weaving aged 6

These little girls were the ones I would go without for, the ones I would rather spend my money on.  Dance lessons, pretty dresses would soon overtake the social nights out demand for my finances.

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Shay in her first ballet uniform aged 2
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Shay enjoying hama beads aged 3

These precious princesses showed me how easily they could take another person into their hearts and love them unconditionally when their little brother came along.  They have never made their siblings that they only get to see half the week feel as though they were an outsider.  They have lovingly embraced them and accepted them as one of them.  Family.  When people would throw around words like half-brother or half-sister, they understood the technicality, but the words were meaningless to them as these were their siblings.

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Shay aged 2 with baby Judah

I have planned every birthday party for the last 4 years and I have loved every minute of being in their lives.  Whether people like the term or not, we are a blended family.  No-one would know that the girls are not mine unless they spoke to us.  We never pretend that we’re a first family, but we naturally look like one to all those on the outside who are none the wiser.

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Isis at Shayla’s 4th bday party
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Isis aged 7 and Shayla aged 3

These girls changed my world.  I will always love them.  I will never forget how they changed me, and I thank them for helping me learn how to raise children.  Judah and Eden will be forever grateful to them too, as they had a Mummy who was better prepared than if Daddy had never had little princesses already.

Thank you princesses for paving the way, for accepting me as Mummy and reminding me to treasure every minute with the babies.  It will not be long til they are following in your footsteps and wowing their teachers at school.  I want to soak in every moment.  Daddy and I are so proud of the little women that you have become and know that you only blossom more beautifully with time.  We pray we learn to water the seeds of love, kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control, peace, joy and goodness in your lives.  You bring us delight every day, when you are not with us, just the thought of you puts a smile on our faces.
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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.
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I look forward to many more beautiful photos of our precious minions as this monthly Siblings project unfolds.

dear beautiful

Just the 2 of Us – Week Five

Just the 2 of Us – Week Five

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The above photo is eery to me as it looks exactly like my sister Lauren in profile.  It makes me keep looking at it, so much so, I’m trying to remember if she had a coat like this when she was younger because it’s playing tricks with my mind.  Anyway, enough of the freaky trip down memory lane.  Last week before we had to say goodbye to the girls I managed to sneak out with little miss Isis Mae for breakfast on the beach.  It was lovely she chose a little cafe called ‘Coast‘ that is right on the stony beach (you have to walk out quite far to find sand on the beach in Worthing).

Isis decided to start making random things out of the stones that she could find, part of me wanted to say, ‘Oi no, this is supposed to be our time.’  I promptly thought to myself, she is still only 8 years old and praising her creativity is an important part of our time together, so I sat and smiled and reveled in the stone creatures that she made.

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this is a person… can you see it?

We chatted about random things, and she found a stone that was great for skipping on the water (you know the ones, the flat ones).  James had been searching for some a few days before and I mentioned this was the sort of stone Daddy had been after.  She kept it in her pocket and presented him with it later, bless her heart.  Isis ordered a bacon sandwich and a children’s hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream.

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poor Isis captured with her mouth full, can’t take me anywhere

We chatted about some personal things, as Isis is older this tends to be the case really.  Sometimes we go deeper when we have our one to one time.  Isis asks me questions sometimes about the past and I like to be honest with her, and also as tactful as possible.  There will always be two sides to every story and I would never bad mouth her Mum to her, I just tell her what I know are the facts and even all of those she doesn’t need to know.  There may have been a lot of hurt in the past between James and her Mum, but this is all past now and everyone is happy with their respective partners and the children are blessed with two families that love them very much.  This might not be the ideal but it works for now, and we’re happy to re look at it, whatever it may take if the children are at any time starting to show signs of suffering due to our arrangements.

Isis got a call on my mobile from her Nanny, she made me laugh, looking like a little office professional, working in her lunch break at the beach.

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We tried to have a wander down the beach as there are some cute art shops and designs in the little beach huts opposite this cafe but none of them had really opened at this time.  We were about to go onto the beach to find some more stones, when we remembered that they were being collect in about an hour and we all still needed to do our Ice Bucket Challenge.  So we went back to film these.  Take a look if you get chance, the girls were very brave, they did have ice in their buckets as they had wanted to.

We would normally take the time to do something more together, and I am looking forward to the future cinema trips, bowling, shopping experiences etc. where I get to spend time with each of the children as individuals but on that day, in the short time that we had, I savoured our time together.
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What are your favourite things to do with your little treasures?  Is it cafe breakfasts? Spa days? playing football on the beach? Feel free to link up below, grab the badge code and I will be sure to be inspired by your ideas.

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18 Days of Summer #19 – Overtime

18 Days of Summer #19 – Overtime

Overtime - 1

So as you will know if you’ve been reading we had our beautiful girls for 18 Days but due to our whereabouts (down South) and their Mum travelling to where we were a day and a half after we would’ve had ‘hand over’ we thought it made sense to keep the girls down with us a little bit longer.  So, we changed our plans, sorted it out with the girls Mum who of course was missing them but could see it made sense for the girls not to do the long journey twice more than was needed.  This meant we got to have an extra full day with the girls.  Hence this last post to tag along with our 18 Days of Summer.

As we had failed to make it to the museum the day before (it was closed) we planned to venture out that way again later in the day.  Shayla and I had been out in the morning for our stepMummy and Daughter time which you will have seen on last weeks ‘Just the 2 of us‘ post. We hadn’t gone anywhere though before we had spent time choosing which hairstyles they wanted from the cute girls hairstyles app again:

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Isis went for this 'double dutch braided tie back' inspired by Heidi Klum
Isis went for this ‘double dutch braided tie back’ inspired by Heidi Klum

Shayla chose the ‘running braid’ which was fantastic for the following day too.  Both of them looked great when they’d been messing in the water for a while as well.

This will be great for sports at school, or swimming
This will be brilliant for sports at school, or swimming

On our way to the museum we found an exquisite little fabric shop that had the most gorgeous fabric swatches.  We bought some to create bunting for their school sports bags that we’re making, you’ll see more about that in a future post, some cute buttons, gift tags for the thank you biscuits that we made later in the day.

The children loved it in the museum, it made me laugh though.  Why do children always go straight to do something they could’ve done at home?

museum 1
look at the concentration

museum 2

 There were ready made templates of flowers and cats etc. on the tables for the children to draw around and scissors provided to cut them out with.  This was a nifty little idea, and one I intend to use.  I have some card that I will make some templates out of for our craft time, probably more like Peppa Pig and Minions from Despicable Me, but it will rescue me having to stop what I’m doing to draw them all the time *winks*.
museum 3 museum 4 museum 5
museum 6
Judah thought this skeleton was a Pirate – he may be right
museum 7
the girls weren’t impressed with these hats, they refused to point to one they would wear
museum 8
‘want these out Mummy’ – drawn straight to the “toys”

Eden was much happier once we were outside and back in the sunshine, we headed to the beach, not before picking up supplies to make biscuits first.

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We headed to the splash pad again, as they had enjoyed it so much on James’ birthday.  It was lovely to see them all running around and having fun.  It makes my heart smile.

splash pad 1
Judah was a lot braver this time
splash pad 2
our lovely ladylike children pretending they could urinate like men
splash pad 3
gorgeous Isis
splash pad 4
beautiful Shayla

As we all walked back down the prom I felt sad knowing that tomorrow they would leave.  I also feel so proud seeing all my family together, I feel so blessed to have my hands so full.  I just wished we could all swan around Worthing forever in the sunshine and never return to real life, but alas, that cannot be so.  I’m sure many of us wish this at some point, not always about Worthing *chuckles* but when it’s been one of ‘those’ holidays that you just don’t want to come back from.

Isis DSLR
mini me

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When we got home I made them sausage and tomato pasta, ‘my favourite’ Shayla said with delight, as we had been talking earlier about her favourite food.  She seemed shocked that I remembered and we were having it *bless.*  It’s the little things that matter to 4 year olds.

Shayla enjoying her food
Shayla enjoying her food

I didn’t want them to go to bed so we made our thank you biscuits which you can read all about here.  It was the perfect day, I loved hanging out with all of them.  It was really special even though we didn’t really do much at all.  I want to remember days like this forever, and it makes me grateful to be able to blog about it.

What was your favourite day this Summer?  Is there a specific holiday that stands out when you look back that you wish had never ended?

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Isis First Day Back at School – Year 4

Isis First Day Back at School – Year 4

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I want to be an actress when I grow up…

This morning was a crazy chaotic rush.  We don’t have the girls on a Monday so you may think that we’re cuckoo with it being Year 4, but we wanted to be there for Isis first day back at school.  Since we moved back in March, we’re not a 5 minute drive anymore and I woke up with a horrendous headache.  We really wanted to see her though, so we got the babies ready and grabbed the camera and off we went.

We got stuck in traffic coming off the motorway which was a nightmare so we didn’t get to actually walk with them to school (it’s a 5 minute walk), but, we did meet them as they were walking up to the school.  Isis was so happy to see us.  It was lovely to be there and her Mum said that Isis was very excited when she knew that we were coming to wave her in for her first day back.

These are the days where it is hard choosing to love them as my own, as they are not my own, but I really wanted to have been there getting her ready this morning, ironing her clothes, packing her lunch bag, styling her hair, but she already has a Mummy for that, and I am privileged to fill in when they are at our home.  We have extended our days again with the girls, now that I am into the swing of things with the 2 babies and will be collecting the girls Thursday after school and dropping them back on Sunday afternoons.

I am so proud of Isis Mae going into Year 4.  She says that she wants to be an actress at the moment when she grows up.  I could see this happening if she was tenacious in her pursuit but we’ll see how her little life progresses.  She would definitely be a triple threat with her dancing and singing too.

I start teaching the choir at her school as well this week, and they want me to go in for ‘Super Learning Day’ on Wednesday to work with the children.  Will see how it goes…. I’m sure there will be a few blog posts about this (I’ll be working with the play therapist who I have not got along with so should be interesting)…

Shayla starts her first EVER day at school next Monday so we’ll be travelling to be with her for that too.  The joys of parenthood and being part of a blended family… wouldn’t swap it for the world *winks.*
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Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

It has taken me a couple of days to be able to write this post. Wednesday morning the girls mum and partner came to collect them from James’ parents house whilst we were down in Worthing. This is not too unusual although it is usually myself doing all the drop offs to them and usually when we’re all at home (up North).

Pick ups and drop offs have become a normal part of our blended family life, but normally we haven’t had the girls for nearly 20 whole days. The girls were very excited to see their Mum after so long of course, but also sad for our time to end. Emma was down for her sisters wedding so we exchanged in the part of the world where she and James had been a couple. We were so excited the girls were going to be bridesmaids. They haven’t seen this side of their family much as they’ve been living up in Preston since before Shayla was born. It was all very exciting.

When they left, Judah was confused, we had all been conversing in the front garden and then they left. He just stood there not understanding where they had gone and why he wasn’t going. He has seen Emma’s face many times before but this time he was confused. I don’t know how it works in the mind of a 2 year old, but it was almost like he’d forgotten a time where they weren’t around all the time.

I brought him to the house, cuddled him on the sofa and just sobbed. I had always said to James loving the girls as my own and marrying someone who already had children from a previous relationship wasn’t as massive an issue to me until we had a child of our own. The fact that the girls live split lives is not ideal, but it is unavoidable. They need to see their Dad and they need to see their Mum. Judah’s pain at also having a split life by default seems so much more unfair. That’s why (although we had stopped trying when Eden was conceived after I had miscarried again) we had wanted to have two close together. The girls are each other’s constants as they go between both homes and I wanted Judah to have someone who didn’t leave. It was like he understood this too. He left my side to sit beside Eden and gave her a kiss on the head. My heart wrenched. They had each other but I could see he was sad.

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The silence was deafening. I never realised how constant noise for 20 days could become normal and once the incessant chatter of the girls was no longer there, it just seemed so still, almost eerily. Very unnatural all of a sudden as we returned back to four from six. The six we had been for our 18 Days of Summer (and a cheeky bit extra). I was reminded how blessed the girls are as I sat there sobbing, to have so many people in their lives that love them so much. I guess it’s a good problem to have.

Our ‘normal’ is constantly evolving but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We do the best we can with what we have at each given time. We strive to keep the children and their needs above our own, it helps when potential rows can arise between ‘us and them’ and prevents us from even becoming ‘us and them’ as we all work together to do what’s right for the girls, and James and I remember to focus on how it can least negatively affect Judah and Eden too.

Judah hasn’t quite been himself since they left, but he will adjust as we return to our routine. The girls will have been bridesmaids today and I’m very excited to hear about it. I know they will have lots to tell us when we see them next week.
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18 Days of Summer #5

18 Days of Summer #5

Today was an interesting day, as somehow our Tax Credit renewal form had never been sent to us.  Therefore, we obviously hadn’t sent it back.  So our Child Tax Credits hadn’t gone in.  We had to get the car fixed last week, so you can imagine, this didn’t put us in good stead for days out with 4 children.  We barely had enough to buy nappies for the baby that had run out.  After some interesting phone calls, my inlaws to the rescue, lending us what HMRC reinstate in a few weeks once we’ve had the form etc and got it back to them.  However, we didn’t have money until later in the afternoon when they had transferred it so we scaled back our ideas for the day.

In the morning (before I realised we were running out of nappies) I was driving my Mum to work (we’re staying at her home) and thought it would be a good time to grab some one on one time with Isis.  I asked James if he minded us having an hour, he replied, ‘of course not,’ so off I went with Isis.

We went to Costa as it had a free car park right outside.  I got my usual Decaf Gingerbread Latte and Isis tried a ‘Sticky Toffee Creamy Cooler’ she let me have a sip, way too sickly for me but she loved it.

showing off her fishtail
showing off her fishtail

Normally, in a ‘Just the 2 of us‘ post I would have more pictures and what we chatted about.  Isis and I ended up having a very personal conversation, she offloaded something she had been carrying around for 3 years and broke down on me in the middle of Costa.  It was so sad, but also very precious that we were able to bond on an even deeper level.  As you can appreciate, this blog is for them, and some things are just meant to be shared between stepmum and daughter.

My sister contacted me whilst in Costa (she lives around the corner) and came to meet us as we finished up so she could get a lift back with us to spend some time with the children.  On the way back we nipped to the Pharmacy, I had taken a picture of Judah’s face.  He’d fallen the day before and below the little graze on his face was slightly raised, red and warm.  After Eden having had cellulitis twice, I just wanted to check it wasn’t worrying.  The pharmacist advised me it was probably normal, and he’d just grazed it over more surface area than I thought and to keep my eye on it.  When I got back I did the usual mum trick and smothered it in sudocrem (again), it did look better later in the day, so my heart was at peace.

We spent some time debating what we could do with no money, the babies were all napping, so rather than the girls just watch television we decided to play the ‘Game of Life’ this was great.  I meant to capture a photo of the carnage on the table, but was just enjoying being with the children so much, I forgot.  I love making memories for them, but sometimes you just don’t want to be the lady with the camera in her hand all the time.  I want to be in the moment with them, as well as capturing it for them, there is definitely a fine line and I am still learning this balance.

Once the babies were awake, and I had annihilated everybody in the Game of Life we had some tortilla wraps for lunch and then went off to the park again.  This time Judah and Eden were awake and could join in.

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Judah with Auntie Jenny
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my turn, my turn
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enjoying the climbing frame
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conveniently peeping over so I could snap this
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Eden’s 1st go on the swing
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our pint-sized princess
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‘oooh what’s this?’
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Judah getting braver every day
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Ready, steady….
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…Go!!!
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Judah almost brave enough to go on the swings on his own again, thanks to Auntie Jenny
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Daddy kisses
James later tried to swing in one of these baby seats, this was interesting and required some assistance from myself to get him out.  This is not unusual behaviour from my husband, although hilarious, especially for the children, not often appreciated by myself *wink*.
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He asked me afterwards, ‘what would you have done if it had ended up with us having to get the Fire Brigade?’ I replied after careful thought, ‘take pictures.’
Check out Eden’s first time on the swing
James’ parents contacted us to say they had transferred us some money, how kind, and we then went to get the children an ice-cream.  I restrained as I’m still trying to lose weight.  James is becoming more and more impressed with my resilience as this theme has continued throughout our time away with the girls.  Here’s a couple of snaps of them enjoying their ice-creams.
James managed to catch a cheeky snap of me whilst queuing for the ice-cream
James managed to catch a cheeky snap of me whilst queuing for the ice-cream

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In the evening I had planned for us to all have Fajitas.  James cooked for us all, I’m very lucky, and the food was massively enjoyed by all.

What’s your favourite dinner to come home to after a day in the summer sun?  Comment below.
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