{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} #22 – Vlogging

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #22 – Vlogging

Over the past couple of weeks a new ordinary has crept into our lives.  It wasn’t particularly invited, it wasn’t thought out, it definitely wasn’t planned but we tried our hand at something, and it brought us a lot of joy.  We have been having a go at Vlogging.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about making some more memories for us as a family, and being inspired by an interview I saw between Jenny at ‘Let’s Talk Mommy‘ and Lucy at ‘Dear Beautiful‘. Lucy was talking about how there is something about video when capturing children that just can’t be felt the same way on a 2 dimensional still photograph. She is so right, the cute little waddle that Eden has as she walks, the way Shayla’s eyes light up as she goes from somber to happy. Isis doing never ending cartwheels and Judah bopping his head as he dances. These moments are not caught the same on photographs and so we started picking up the camera more in video mode.

We have been experimenting with what sort of YouTube channel that we want to be, or if we will just be eclectic and put whatever we like on there.  We don’t have many subscribers so far so no-one is telling us what they would like to see more of, or less of yet, but maybe we’ll get there.  For now, we are just having fun experimenting with all the different kinds of things that we like to watch on YouTube.

I was recommended to try the ‘My Favourite Things’ Tag by Charlotte at ‘Write Like No-One’s Watching‘ and then Isis had a go too.

The children saw a funny challenge and thought it would be a great idea for James and I to have a go at ‘How Well Do We Know Each Other?’, mainly because it involved us getting our faces covered in whipped cream.

Isis was doing a book review for our blog and decided to add another dimension to it by vlogging about it too.

Shayla has been having a go too, but that is still at editing stage.  We also have been making video diaries and film reviews, chatting about how we’ve been getting on with Eden at hospital and tomorrow I’m going to be unwrapping one of our recent purchases.  We’re not sure, which direction we want to go in.  Isis wants to have a go at hair tutorials, as we love watching ‘Cute Girls Hairstyles‘ and sometimes we make our own variations.  There are so many things that we could maybe do, please if you have any suggestions for us comment below as this is all very new for us.

We’re all having fun and I remembered how much passion I have for media and editing, I studied it at college.  We’ll keep experimenting until we find our groove or until it isn’t fun anymore.  For now we’re enjoying ourselves and the children are loving watching themselves back.  Even Eden at 18 months has started posing and saying ‘cheese’ when she sees me with a camera.  I guess that’s the life for bloggers children.

The more of these memories we can store up and treasure the better for me.  I also had the awful thought recently that if (God forbid) anything happened to James or I then the children would have a more accurate and fuller picture of how much we loved them, who we are as individuals and together, and what we want for them and really think about them.  Having two cousins that we adopted as siblings when I was a child I know that they would’ve loved to have these memories (my sister was telling me the other day).  Their Mum made a beautiful video for them that they’ve watched over and over as years have passed and it is their greatest treasure.  With that in mind we’ve even been getting the Grandparents involved.  It’s enough to help all of us get past our inhibitions and shyness in front of the camera.

As always we’re linking up with the beautiful Katie at Mummy Daddy Me, so make sure you click on the badge below to go see all the other wonderful Ordinary Moments.

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{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #21 – Sun, Sea and Sinking Sand

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #21 – Sun, Sea and Sinking Sand

Yesterday I looked around our home that clearly needed tidying and then looked at the weather app on my iPhone.  It was only about 16 degrees, but apparently there wouldn’t be a cloud in the sky until around 8pm.  I looked around the house again, and thought about our empty bank account (my husband’s agency had some mess up and hadn’t paid him), we had enough petrol to get to Nana’s in the car, and just enough money in the bank for train fare.  We don’t all fit in the car (until we buy our second car which will be a 7 seater) so I was driving to Nana’s with the children and James was going to get the train.  We had 40 minutes if we wanted Daddy to make the train (which are only hourly) so we just decided Carpe Diem and went for it.
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As soon as we hit the road, we were stuck driving at 10mph…. fear struck as we had enough petrol to get to Nana’s but  maybe not enough petrol for a traffic jam… Yay!  This didn’t last very long at all.  Once we made it past the junction that turned off to the Lake District we were cruising.  Isis was filming herself dancing and singing in the car, she’s such a funny character.  Totally used up all my phone memory though haha, little monkey.  I’m really fortunate that all of ours are good travellers, they don’t need anything to entertain them, there’s no iPad’s in sight, we chat, we’re silly and most of the time..they sleep.  Shayla, Judah and Eden (and James) pretty much sleep any car journey.  Shayla will fall asleep in the ten minute journey home from school at 3pm.  She’s so like her Daddy, any chance she gets to rest she seizes it.  Isis is a die hard and unless it’s late at night, she’s always awake and chatting.

We had some lunch at Nana’s and headed out to the beach with Auntie Jenny and her dog ‘Lady’.  My Mum had to go visit an elderly friend so she wasn’t able to join us, but to be honest, we’d have never got up to our next antics, if she’d been there to advise us against it (so I’m secretly glad she didn’t come, not too secretly though as she’ll probably read this – Hi Nana).

I decided as it didn’t look so far away that we should go and put our feet in the sea.  Daddy was tired so we left him and Eden dozing on the beach, and the rest of us headed off to the sea.  Very quickly we realised this was not the best idea.  What I had thought was a grassy area turned out to be marsh and sinking sand.  From eye level on the horizon it just looked like grass, not the case.  It was maybe 30cm’s tall grassy knolls just big enough to put an adult foot on separated by lots of little sandy traps.  If you put your feet on the sand (which I thought would be safer for myself and my dodgy hips) then your feet sank so quickly and you would lose your shoes.  I, for some reason had put my Uggs on (don’t ask me why, they’re comfy and were lying around whilst we dressed 6 people and packed a baby bag in 40 minutes) and absolutely destroyed them.  They got stuck in the sinking sand, I rescued my feet and then Auntie Jenny had to rescue my Uggs out of the sinking sand as I kept slipping (it’s a good job I’m hypermobile and can do the splits).  We were in hysterics, especially at the irony of my telling James off for spraying them with the water pistol earlier in the day haha – ooops!

After a lot of effort, we made it to the sea.  Now, if you’ve followed my blog at all, you will know that I really struggle with walking just to the corner shop since having Eden.  My hips lock, they cause me great pain and my back is weak due to the excessive weight I’ve put on not being able to exercise and spending so much time in bed.  This was THE MOST FUN I have had in soooo long.  I felt like me again, it seemed like an adventure.  Maybe a bad idea to take a toddler along, especially when about half way to the sea we remembered a fire engine had to come and rescue someone a few weeks ago for getting stuck out where we were (again, would never have got past the grass on Nana’s watch).  It might seem like not a big deal for most people, but I was so aware of how as little as a week ago, there’s NO way I would’ve been able to do what I was doing in that moment.  I was loving it.

Undeterred by the muddy Uggs we proceeded bare foot and eventually found a part of the sand that didn’t suck us in, and we made it to the sea.  Yay! Success.  The children and I were so proud of ourselves.  We then spent a lot of time running, jumping, splashing and doing cartwheels (Isis) in the sea.  It was so beautiful I took a LOT of photos.  Once we were sufficiently soaked through and I felt like uber cool Mum for letting the kids get filthy when I’d not packed clean clothes or a towel (yes, stupid but the kids thought I rocked) we then made our way back to Daddy and Eden via a much safer route.

I was so proud of Judah, he is usually scared of everything, and in a ridiculously short time, he went from clinging to Auntie Jenny’s leg and refusing to stand on the sand (understandably as we were screaming when it was sucking us in) to running on it (when it was much safer) and jumping in the sea.  He then walked all the way home barefoot like the rest of us, as our feet were FILTHY there was no way we could put them back inside our shoes.  James would never walk barefoot as he hates the feel of gravel etc on his feet.  I can’t say I’m the biggest fan either when the ground isn’t always smooth, but Judah just got in with it.  You could see he felt like he was enjoying the greatest adventure.

We had an amazing day.  Just to make sure they were incredibly filthy when they were soaking wet through the girls decided to lie down and be sand angels, so we were all desperately in need of a bath.  Nana had put some bowls of water out in the front garden for us to wash our feet before going in the house (I’d called ahead and prepped her for our messy arrival).  The girls had to wear what we could salvage as spares from the car, Shayla had James’ shirt on (she looked like she was going to go rob the local Spar haha) and I remembered how much fun can be had when you can move without pain.  Eden is now 18 months old and I’m hoping that finally my body (that the physio had said would take a year – I was beginning to lose hope) is starting to heal.  I’m of course a bit sore today, but nowhere near what had become my normal.

I still feel excited thinking about yesterday, because I had SO MUCH FUN, it was free and around the corner from my Mum’s house.  I am really looking forward to Summer and feeling grateful that we live somewhere that allows us to enjoy such moments of pure joy and freedom.  We are truly blessed.

We have been experimenting with vlogging a lot recently, talking about our children, making videos of our little memories, and yesterday we tried a video diary.  If you brave heading over to our YouTube channel to watch our footage from yesterday (or click on it at the bottom of this post below) please comment and let us know if you like the video diary style posts or prefer the music video versions.  Maybe you like a mixture, or maybe you’re like stop spamming my instagram and twitter feed telling me about your videos?  Please let us know what you think.  We’re very interested.

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As always we’re linking up with the beautiful Katie at Mummy Daddy Me, so make sure you click on the badge below to go see all the other wonderful Ordinary Moments.

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Eden’s First Hike

Eden’s First Hike

There are some first milestones that just pass us by as parents and others that stand out to us.  I decided that Eden’s first time walking outside without her buggy would be a moment we would capture.  At the start of last week the weather was a bit gloomy and we were waiting for some sunshine as we were desperate to go outside.  Wednesday afternoon was just beautiful and I realised we’d left the buggy in the back of the car which Daddy had taken to work.  So, not to be deterred I asked Judah if Eden could borrow his monkey backpack (which he doesn’t really use anymore), after much deliberation he decided she was allowed to use it.  He didn’t have much of a choice really, but I couldn’t be doing with the potential tantrums.

After being freshly inspired about keeping memories by watching ‘Let’s talk Mommy’s’ interview with Lucy at ‘Dear Beautiful’ about creating videos (you can view by clicking here) I decided as I often do to grab the camera, this time with the intention of capturing some video footage as well as photographs.

She does so well with her little legs, it’s hard to tell how small she is seeing her next to Judah and Martina who are also very small.  If you imagine that Judah is about to turn 3 but still wearing 18-24 month old clothes, and Martina is not much taller than Isis who’s 9, you may start to get an idea of just how petite our Thumbelina really is as she walks alongside next to them.

I’m definitely learning as I go, I was in pain with my hips as I was walking so most of the time they were way ahead of me, which is saying something, with how long it takes Eden to get anywhere on her little legs.  If I could move the way I used to be able to, I would’ve captured a lot more close ups and got down more to their level.  Maybe even remembered that whilst I was busy taking photographs of them in the beautiful bluebells I could have caught some footage of their happy faces.  I forget when I see a beautiful shot that what is beautiful on photo, can sometimes come even more alive on film.  It may have only ended up as a 2 second clip on our video but I would’ve captured the way they interact with each other even more.

Eden's first hike, toddlers walking without buggy's, monkey backpack reins for toddlers, sibling love

It was really special to me to by DeleteAd” href=”#13002762″> share this moment with Martina our lovely aupair as on days like this when really I physically could barely move (I’m not exaggerating) with her help I’m able to get the children out to enjoy the sunshine.  I don’t feel sad that it’s her that’s in the videos holding my child for these first moments, I feel grateful.  Grateful that we were able to find such a wonderful aupair (you hear such horror stories), grateful that despite not having much disposable income we were able to afford some help.  Grateful that my babies are able to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be facilitated to because I have someone else helping spur me on when we can see that they’re feeling the cabin fever.

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{I’m going to be starting a series on the blog ‘Our Beautiful Aupair’ and over on our YouTube channel about Martina as I am asked so many times about what an aupair is, does, and how did we find her?  If you have any questions please comment below as I will try and answer them all in my first post.}

It was a really lovely afternoon.  When we finished walking around the little trail they played in the field at the bottom of our road for ages.  Judah LOVED just running around and it made me desperately crave a garden.  Again, I realised how blessed we are to have this little field just 400 meters away from our doorstep so they can run around and have fun.  It’s near to a really busy junction but is completely enclosed, so it’s quite surreal seeing them play as though they’re in the countryside.

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Judah and Martina stayed playing in the field whilst I took Eden home and prepared dinner for James’ arrival home from work.  Eden was so tired out after her hike I carried her the last part home, not recommended when you can barely walk yourself, seriously 50 meters feels like a marathon.  Eden fell asleep in my arms and then napped on the sofa (very helpful whilst I’m cooking).  It was perfect timing.  Martina and Judah came back at 5:45, James walked through the door 2 minutes later and then we all ate together.  The babies went to sleep so happy and content.  Then and there I made a mental note, that although I could now barely move, we would do this as often as we can on the sunny days.
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Here is our little video of Eden’s First Walk

Well done Eden we love you very much.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #20 – Family Walks

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #20 – Family Walks

Where we live we’re really lucky to have a woodland trail just opposite the house.  We don’t live in the most rural of areas, but literally once you step over a busy dual carriageway there are 650 acres of what is referred to as Lancashire Premier Country Park.  As we live on the outskirts of that, there are little snippets left over that technically may have still been classed as part of that park but a motorway junction was built in between.  With the size that Eden is at the moment, our little woodland trail is perfect for her teeny legs, and she probably feels like she’s climbed Snowdon when we finish.

Just this week we’ve started taking Eden without the buggy.  It took some adjustment for Judah who wasn’t happy about someone else wearing his monkey backpack.  We explained that he wouldn’t be able to run down the trail like he loves to if he wore it and he calmed down (eventually).  The second time we went Daddy and the girls joined us so he wasn’t fussed about his monkey backpack then.

Eden is already an amazing little walker, considering how small she is, she manages to keep up well.  She takes big strides and isn’t deterred by the more difficult terrain.  I can’t believe she’s 18 months old in a couple of days.  I know people say that time flies, it’s not that, that sticks out in my mind when I think back to her birth.  The main thing for me is I can’t believe how much my body is still in pain.  After giving birth to Judah I was back at Zumba 6 weeks later, I lost all the weight straight away.  With Eden, it has been 18 months and my hips, back, legs are often in absolute agony.  Because I can’t really exercise due to the pain, I have piled on weight.  It’s horrendous, but I still do my best to go out on little treks with my people.  I’ve managed a few more than normal this week, so hopefully, if over the Summer (with the better weather) we take it steady, this could be the start of my body beginning to heal.

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Judah and Shayla were being ridiculously cute on our walk Friday evening.  They were running through the woods holding hands.  They’re so much faster than I, it is difficult to try and capture them with the camera, as they’re usually so far away.  I caught lots of footage on camera though, as I’ve said on a recent post, I’m trying to focus more on vlogging, and using video to create family memories.

I love our little walks.  There are bluebells, beautiful trees and sometimes even a squirrel (Judah spends all his time searching for them).  The children love being able to run around freely, it always tires them out ready for dinner and then bedtime, and we all just LOVE being outside in the fresh air.  I must say that like the children, once I’m out I never want to come home.  We’ve started recently letting them play on the small field that’s at the end of our road when we’ve finished the woodland trail.  They run around, make daisy chains, do cartwheels (Isis) and they want to stay there forever.

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On Friday, the council had just cut all the grass (you can see their vehicle at the back) so all the little buttercups and daisies were gone.  It’s not long before they grow back though.  The only downside with out little teeny walk, is it’s where all the locals take their dogs for a walk.  I don’t have anything against dogs, but I feel so paranoid if Judah is running a bit ahead of us and he meets a dog off a lead because we never know how he or the dog is going to react.  He cries when he sees dogs, as he’s a big softie but he is getting a lot better.  They seem to be great at picking up mess though near us, there’s very rarely any dog mess but obviously we keep our eyes peeled for that too (especially when Isis is doing cartwheels and handstands).

I adore that we all like being outdoors, they would rather be outside than watching TV or playing on the iPad any day.  I hope they stay this way as they grow.  It’s so lovely being able to enjoy something so natural, simple and free together as a family.

Here are some of my favourite photos captured Friday afternoon when we were all together, even Martina came with us.

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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} #11 – Pillow Talk

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #11 – Pillow Talk

the ordinary moments, pillow talk, step daughters, mummy blog, blended family, dontcallmestepmummy

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.

the ordinary moments, pillow talk, step daughters, mummy blog, blended family, dontcallmestepmummy

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.

the ordinary moments, pillow talk, step daughters, mummy blog, blended family, dontcallmestepmummy

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} #10 – Tea Parties

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #10 – Tea Parties

the ordinary moments, dontcallmestepmummy, mummy blog, blended family, tea party, imaginary play

A couple of weeks ago James’ parents came up to see Isis performing in a show.  They often come up to see us, we wrote about it on our Ordinary Moments post 2 weeks ago and James’ Mum brought some of his old toys for the children to play with.  They are having fun with all of them, loving the lego, enjoying the jigsaws and this old skool ‘Barbie’ tea set keeps making an appearance.  They love playing tea parties, my Mum bought Eden a set (more modern with a singing tea pot) for Christmas and she has loved it, I’m loving that they’re enjoying this so much… the same tea set that Daddy used to enjoy when he was a child.

Finding things that the children like to play with for longer than two minutes makes me happy.  We try and avoid resorting to DVD’s and the iPad as much as possible.  Obviously, sometimes needs must, but if we can find something else to do that doesn’t have the two year old screaming for Fireman Sam then I am on board.  Having tea parties seems to be one of those things, they just love pretending that they’re drinking tea.  Sometimes I wonder if my husband is so secure in who he is and his sexuality because his Mum wasn’t adverse to him playing with non-gender specific toys?  I’m not saying this is based on anything other than thought, but I’ve had some friends who literally freak out if they see my little boy pick up one of his sisters fairy wands or something.  I explain that it doesn’t bother me what he plays with, it’s all the same at his age and his personality will develop better and naturally if unhindered by potential narrow-mindedness.  Anyway, I guess that’s a huge aside but would be interested to know other’s thoughts if you would like to comment below.

the ordinary moments, dontcallmestepmummy, mummy blog, blended family, tea party, imaginary play

I love the concentration in Eden’s face as she’s stirring away.  I’m finding it great having Martina here, I can just set them up a little task, so I feel like I’m still involved in the play that would normally be with me, and then I can clean the kitchen or finish the laundry.  I set up the tablecloth and tea set for them and they were so excited to play.  I love to then grab some shots of whatever the children are up to before resuming my chores.  Argh, chores when you have seven people in your household are just infinite.  It never lets up, I think that I have made the house lovely and then an hour later it’s horrendous again.  This is another huge bonus to imaginary play, it makes no mess and keeps them entertained for at least a half hour.

So this week we have had a lot of imaginary tea and I don’t see it letting up anytime soon, nor is it a habit I’m particularly eager to break.  Love seeing their little imaginations at work, also, so far Fireman Sam hasn’t had to make an appearance for a faulty kettle *winks*.

the ordinary moments, dontcallmestepmummy, mummy blog, blended family, tea party, imaginary play

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} #9 – Drama, Drama, Drama

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #9 – Drama, Drama, Drama

the ordinary moments, no more drama, mummy blog, dontcallmestepmummy, blended family,

Over the last few weeks we have made a huge transition for us, moving back to the church that I grew up in.  Church has always played such a massive part in our lives.  It is further for us to travel, but it is still only 10 minutes down the road, and here are the people I have known and loved for most of my life.  The friends I grew up with are still there and now raising their children there.  It is so lovely to see all these little mini me’s of the people that I love.  I have spent some time catching up with some of my nearest and dearest and trying to explain particularly the last four years of my life just feels like an episode of Eastenders.  It’s not that everybody needs to know our business but at the same time, these people know me, really know me, and they can tell that I am different as a result of circumstances that have occured.

My friend pointed out to me that James and I have been through nearly every major stressful milestone that life can dish out, aside from loss of each other of course.  We’ve had divorces, custody cases, two pregnancies (both of which I was extremely unwell for, pretty much bed bound), two miscarriages, facing homelessness, financial hardship due to James completing a social work degree whilst I was unable to work due to pregnancy related issues, work placements, depression, anxiety, TIA’s, blending a family, getting married, moving house TWICE, losing family members, family members being extremely unwell (heart attacks, falling off roofs), we’ve both passed our driving tests – wuhoo!! but it wasn’t easy, starting new jobs.  If you read the blog post I wrote ‘Our Complicated History‘ you’ll see that we didn’t exactly have the best starting point when we first met too.

It is fair to say that as a result of all of the above, who truly knows if I’m struggling with postnatal depression or just being overwhelmed by life in general?  As a family though we are striving to eliminate any sources of drama in our lives.  It’s not anyone’s fault that circumstances have happened, some things that have affected us have been consequences of poor choices.  We could maybe have paced things out a bit, but due to our history I think we were eager to get past all the hard stuff and try to pursue a life of peace, happiness and financial stability.  We don’t desire to be ‘rich’ per se… well we certainly wouldn’t have chosen the career paths that we have if that were our aim, we just want to be able to support our family without worrying about one or both of us having a near break down everytime the rent is due.  It is has been an interesting journey, but we finally seem to be coming out of the mire.

I have many friends who are going through difficult circumstances and my heart reaches out to them.  I want to be there for them, but we just don’t have the capacity or any room for any more drama in our lives.  Sometimes you need to strip everything back and only when you’re in a stable position of strength are you able to help those around you, that you see in need.  I’m not saying I don’t care, or I wouldn’t try and guide them to someone else better suited to help.  Recently I had a friend who literally had nowhere else to turn and so despite feeling overstretched we welcomed her into our home, because I knew she would do the same for me… I knew it would be short-lived and I would not sleep at night if I didn’t do what I could.  Sometimes, we need to stretch ourselves just that little bit further if there’s an end in sight and we know we can have a recovery period afterwards.  If we’d not had Martina with us, who knows how that would’ve turned out, but we did, and so we were able to stretch for a limited time.

We have resolved as a family to literally just deal with the basics, getting on top of the laundry, cleaning the home, cooking good healthy meals, keeping everyone clean, trying to stay well, and obviously James is working and paying the bills.  This is ALL of our goals for life at the moment.  We are not trying to add anything else into the mix.  I am aiming to rebuild my self-employed career when I have got into a routine looking after the family home (this is why we hired an aupair, to help us work from a position of strength) but by stripping back things – even such as the girls dance for a short season, we’re able to live simply, frugally and just work on being ‘us’ a secure little unit.  We may seem boring, but this is how it has to be for us in this season of life.

Once we are more financially stable we aim to put back in the girls dance, swimming lessons for the babies etc. but for now they’re not the priority.  Everyone being healthy and happy and trying to keep a loving home that is full of peace and not drama is all we are striving for.  I know this is a bit of a different twist for our ‘Ordinary Moments’ post this week but this pretty much sums up our week and the choices that we have been making as a family.

This blog is for our children, and to keep all our memories, so babies when you look back and read this, and this season may have seemed more boring, stripped back or maybe you enjoyed more family time and less activities, please know the reason was because we love you and we want you to grow in peace, joy and love, that this would be your normal, your beautiful ordinary, and when you have a family too, this is what you look for.  Our prayers are always that you would be able to take on the goals in your lives from a position of peace, strength and stability.  We love you all xxxx
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We love this linky and encourage you to go and check out Katie’s beautiful blog over at ‘Mummy Daddy Me‘.  Just click on the badge below to read all about The Ordinary Moments.

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{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #8 – Family Visits

{The Ordinary Moments 2015} #8 – Family Visits

the ordinary moments, grandparent visits, family visits, blended family, dontcallmestepmummy, mummy blog

James’ parents, my lovely in-laws live down on the South Coast.  They aim to visit about once every 6 weeks.  Usually it is around the time of someone’s birthday (obviously there are a lot in our home) or to come and support the children in whatever adventure they are undertaking.  This week Isis Mae was in her first pantomime ‘Peter Pan’ (she’ll be blogging about her experience for us later) and of course this meant that Nanny and Grandad came up to see their superstar Granddaughter.  It was James’ Dad’s birthday this week so we bought them tickets to see Isis perform.  Normally when Georgie and Alan are around it is a crazy weekend revolving around a birthday party, dance runs, church… it is usually exceptionally busy.  When it’s a birthday party I am up to my eyes in decorations, cupcake making, bouncy castle supervision and costume choices.  They come to visit us and end up just helping ferry children around where they need to be whilst James and I run around like headless chickens.  This time it was different.

They came up Thursday evening and stayed in a nearby hotel, so they were able to come Friday before lunch time.  I then rushed Isis off to the theatre for her last day of performances and they stayed with Martina and the rest of the children.  Georgie made the children sandwiches for lunch.  Then we didn’t have anywhere to rush to until the evening when they were going to watch Isis in her final performance.  I had time to cook dinner for everyone.  They went to collect James from work so he didn’t need to get the train and they could have some extra time together.

Saturday, no-one had anywhere that they needed to be.  This is quite unheard of for when Nanny and Grandad visit.  It was really lovely.  We were going to go out for a walk but literally the heavens opened and hailed down on us.  The children were not best pleased (it can be quite painful when hail hits you in the face) and we retreated quickly home.  So, we just did NOTHING, but play, potter around doing housework (Georgie can’t help herself but wash up and help me when she’s up, not expected but so kind and helpful), watch shows that the children prepared for us, and munch some birthday cake that Shayla and Martina made for Grandad.

the ordinary moments, grandparent visits, family visits, blended family, dontcallmestepmummy, mummy blog, birthday cake

We had been hoping to get some photographs of us all together whilst we were out on our walk that never happened.  So I decided to get the tripod out anyway and see how many people we could fit on our little 2 seater sofa.  It was funny squishing us all in.  I really love my in-laws, I know that I’m really fortunate to have such wonderful family and Grandparents that the children adore and are great role models.  I wish that we all lived closer.  They are aiming to move further North later in the year so they can be inbetween us and James’ Grandad that they help look after most weekends.  I hope that we will have a lot more peaceful visits in the future.  Are you noticing a theme on our blog recently?  We like peace and calm.  There has been a lot of drama, rushing around over the last few years.  Now we are enjoying the calm, and are all about putting things in place to make life the least stressful it can possibly be.  I’m looking forward to when James’ parents move closer, his brother is looking into it too which will be lovely.  Family is the most precious thing we can be gifted with and I am so grateful for all of ours.

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We love this linky and encourage you to go and check out Katie’s beautiful blog over at ‘Mummy Daddy Me‘.  Just click on the badge below to read all about The Ordinary Moments.
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