27 June 2009

Thank you Elvis, thank you Johnny!

Life is random.

In February 2006 I was internet dating. I'd been corresponding with a few men, dates had been offered, but nothing had been arranged. One afternoon I decided to go to the online chat section of the website. This was the first time I'd tried to chat 'live' as it were. I was battling somewhat with the technology (as usual). I started chatting with a guy called Paul. I was intrigued that he was a Punch and Judy man. I told him I'd see his show the next time he performed at Covent Garden. He said he was surprised I wanted to meet him. He said once women read his profile they usually went off him. 'Not me' I said, frantically looking for his profile - what had I missed?

Oh. I see. Punch and Judy man and Funeral Director.

Well I suppose it's a steady job.

We chatted some more about his love of roller coasters - not my cup of tea. The conversation was winding down.

A new window flashed up with a question from Andy 'Have you ever been to Graceland?'. This was quite a random question. It took me a while to work it out. Of course, I'd said I liked Elvis Presley in my profile. I answered 'No, have you?'.

* * *

In October 2006 Andy was playing the guitar and I was singing. We both love music. We embarked on a jolly cover of this:

This was the first time was had sung together, it sounded okay.

Andy put down the guitar, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

* * *

This is what we first danced to at our wedding in January 2007:

* * *

Presley was born in September 2007.
Cash was born in August 2008.

Life is random.

Thank you Elvis, thank you Johnny.


24 June 2009

Mother Hen

I've been back to playgroup again this afternoon. Loads of the other mums said hello to me or smiled. I feel comfortable there now, I had a couple of chats. I spent most of the time playing with the baby on the mat, keeping one eye on the toddler.

The toddler was playing on his own as usual, pushing the shopping trolley up and down. He also played with the toy kitchen, occasionally holding up a piece of toy fruit to show me. Yes it's a banana! Oh look, you've got a pear!

He then went over to the wendy house. He likes opening and closing doors. Over and over and over again. Soon some girls went in and made themselves at home. When my boy tried to go in, and admittedly he did try about a dozen times, a little girl shouted at him 'WE DON'T WANT YOU IN HERE'.

I wanted to run over, scoop him up in my arms and say 'there there, horrid girls'. My eyes were stinging with tears. I want to wrap him up in cotton wool and protect him forever. I am a mother hen. I'm sure I'm also a lioness who will defend her cubs from attack. No one will ever love him as much as I do.

He was fine. He walked away and played with the lego.

Perhaps I should worry less, but I can't. I'm his Mum.


23 June 2009

It's Carnival Time!

The Best of the British Mummy Bloggers Carnival is being hosted by the lovely Time Management Mum.

You can check it out here - enjoy!

I'm delighted to have my Cold Feet post included :-)


22 June 2009

It's All About Me Meme

I've been tagged by the lovely
Brit in Bosnia, please check out her wonderful blog.

Here are the rules:
  1. Mention the person who tagged you.
  2. Complete the lists of 8's.
  3. Tag 8 other bloggers and let them know.
8 Things I'm looking forward to:
  1. The toddler deciding that the kitchen bin is no longer his favourite thing in the world.
  2. Getting rid of my cold.
  3. Going to the Word Soup Poetry evening tomorrow night.
  4. Performing my songs at an Open Mic night in July (I think I'm looking forward to this)!
  5. Using the Pamper voucher my husband gave me for Christmas!
  6. My Mum coming to stay for a month in August.
  7. My husband's 40th birthday, we're going to London (without the boys - thank you Grandma) to meet up with friends, eat, drink and do karaoke.
  8. The Breast Cancer Care Fashion Show, my best friend is modelling. I will be taking tissues, plenty of tissues!
8 Things I did yesterday
  1. Cleaned the bathroom.
  2. Changed all the sheets.
  3. Washed and dried a load of washing.
  4. Wrote a short blog post about Father's Day.
  5. Went shopping on my own, I haven't been clothes shopping for AGES :-) I bought five tops in the sales and three books for the boys.
  6. Had a coffee and a muffin in Debenhams cafe.
  7. Peeled my finger instead of a carrot.
  8. After I put on a plaster, I cooked a curry from scratch.
8 Things I wish I could do
  1. Cook a proper Yorkshire Pudding
  2. Play the piano really well
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Sew
  5. Write a book
  6. Speak other languages fluently
  7. Lose weight and keep it off
  8. Ensure my family's health and happiness
8 favourite fruits
  1. Strawberry cheesecake
  2. Banoffee pie
  3. Fruit cake
  4. Jaffa cakes
  5. Toffee apples
  6. Orange ice lollies
  7. Strawberry daquaris
  8. Raspberry ripple icecream
8 Places I'd like to travel
  1. Safari in Africa
  2. Galapagos Islands
  3. Madagascar
  4. Sri Lanka
  5. New York (again)
  6. Australia (again)
  7. New Zealand (again)
  8. Japan
8 Places I've lived
  1. Bedfordshire
  2. Hertfordshire
  3. Sydney, Australia
  4. Christchurch, New Zealand
  5. Hertfordshire (again)
  6. Bedfordshire (again)
  7. Surrey
  8. Lancashire
8 people tagged

Who to tag? I'm trying to find out who hasn't already been tagged and who hasn't already done this meme. Apologies if I make a mistake, you're under no obligation to do it, or do it again! I blame 'Baby Brain'!


21 June 2009

For my Daddy

This is the toddler's first ever piece of playgroup art, a Father's Day card. I managed to help him with one hand whilst the baby wriggled under my other arm. I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for the world. Daddy was delighted with it too :-)

I also made a card for Daddy from the baby and Liquorice Allsorts were shaken in their box and then presented. His main present was a ukulele and a case for it. Carrying it around he looks like a giant extra from Bugsy Malone.

Father's Day can be tricky for some. I lost my Dad in 2006. I miss him, particularly today x


16 June 2009

Cold Feet

How much personal information do you publish on the internet?

I've been blogging for a month now and sharing stories from my real life in this virtual world. Should I have started this blog anonymously? I'm getting cold feet.

I can see many bloggers are happy to share names and photos, whereas others are completely anonymous. I make no judgement either way. I'm somewhere in the middle. I've used a recent photo of myself, I've said that I live in Preston. You know that I have two boys and how old they are. I haven't mentioned their names yet, but in a month I have told complete strangers a lot about them and me, both on my blog and in comments on other blogs. No offence to my lovely blogging friends, I'm hoping we can meet in real life, particularly those who are members of British Mummy Bloggers. I say this because they've just had a get together that I wish I'd attended.

So where do I go from here? I'm not comfortable with using the boys' real names. Fair enough, I don't have to use their real names, but what about photos? I'd love to post their photos on my blog. I think they're the most adorable children in the world... ever! Well, I would say that, wouldn't I? Well, they are :-) But seriously I won't be putting any identifiable photos on here, I can't put my finger on why though.

I suppose it's because once they're 'out there', that's it. Like a blog post it will be on the internet for ever. What happens when the boys are old enough to read? I don't want them to be embarrassed. Who am I kidding, of course they're going to be embarrassed by me - that's what mums do!!

Two recent BBC news reports come to mind. Firstly this report says that even deleted photos can still be found online. Then this more recent report about a family snap that ended up in an advertising campaign. Scary stuff.

I'd love to know what you think.


14 June 2009

I'd like to thank...

Wow, I've been given three more awards! I'm overwhelmed and of course over the moon.

The rules are you say who gave you the award, give a bit of information about yourself and then pass it on. You then let the recipients know. Simple. Of course if you've ever tried to do this you'll realise it takes ages because you have to find the awards, put them on your blog and then decide who to pass them on to, calling up their blogs to get the links. Oh well, maybe it just takes me a long time. It is worth it though to spend a little time valuing the blogs that inspire you. So here goes:

This is the Lemonade award given to me by the amazing Rebel Mother at Another Day in the Madhouse. If you haven't already seen her blog please take a look. She has a lot on her plate but deals with it with humour.

For this award I need to list three things I'm grateful for:
1) My husband
We only met three and a bit years ago, but knew almost immediately that we were meant for each other. We are happy. He recently said to me, when I was apologising for putting on weight, that he loves me unconditionally. I feel the same way about him too.
2) My children
I have two beautiful boys aged 21 months and 9 months. Before I met my husband I worried that I would never have children and this saddened me, but here I am now with two amazing lads. Yes, we're fast workers! It is hard work having two so close together, but so rewarding. If you have children, you'll know.
3) Living in the UK
I know we complain about the government and the weather, but there are a lot worse places to live. We have democracy, the National Heath Service and very few natural disasters.

This is the Honest Scrap award given to me by the lovely Katherine at Supply and Demands? Please check out her fabulous blog.

For this award I need to list ten things about me. I'm tempted to copy Katherine and list ten embarrassing things about me as this is funnier. She misread the instructions! Let's see where we go with this:
  1. I'm a qualified accountant.
  2. In my last job I managed a department of thirty-six staff
  3. I hated my last job
  4. I love being a Stay At Home Mum
  5. I make cards and made my wedding invitations myself
  6. I sing and write songs (blatant self-promotion here)!
  7. I had my gap year when I was 30
  8. I've done a skydive, couldn't breathe for the minute of freefall, thought I was going to pass out! Once the parachute opened it was heaven.
  9. I have a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for peace on my arm (I wish it was somewhere more discreet and covered it up for my wedding)
  10. I love animals, in fact I'm quite soppy about giraffes and big cats
There, quite boring really, maybe I'll do a post at a later date about embarrassing incidents!


This is the One Lovely Blog Award given to me by the lovely Clareybabble at Clareybabbling. Her blog is refreshing and honest, please take a look.

For this award you list five pet hates:
  1. Bad driving
  2. Intolerance
  3. Isms (sexism, racism etc.)
  4. There only being 24 hours in a day
  5. Did I say bad driving?!

Here are the blogs I am making awards to. Please take the time to pay them a visit.

Tim (aka The Dotterel) at Bringing Up Charlie. Tim was kind enough to write about little old me in his post New Kid on the Blog 2. He reviewed my post Food Glorious Food and expanded on the way we give attention to our children. I was moved by the trouble he went to.

Laura at Synchronization of Us. Laura wrote an honest and moving post recently about her baby son. She has a lovely family.

Ruth at Look Left of the Pleiades. I don't agree with everything she says, but I agree with a lot of it and her posts are certainly thought-provoking. Ruth is honest and down to earth. She also writes about her gorgeous son at All About Bertie.

The Wife of Bold is very funny. She has four girls under five (and I thought I had it tough with two under two)!

Brit in Bosnia does what it says on the tin. A fascinating read.

Ian at Single Parent Dad writes beautiful and moving posts about life with his gorgeous son.

All Grown Up... Still Feeling Like a Kid is a great blog by a mum of one, soon to be two.

Clareybabble at Clareybabbling wrote a wonderful honest post about how life really is when you're a new mum, even though she gave me an award I think she deserves one back.

Perfectly Happy Mum is one of my new favourite blogs, please take a look.

Leslieanne at Life With a Little Dude is a lovely new mum with a new blog about her beautiful baby boy.

For the recipients please choose one of the above awards that you would like on your blog. For everyone else I'd like to thank.... you for reading xx


10 June 2009

Playgroup Revisited

I hadn't been to a playgroup in a church hall for 35 years, so today was a big day for me and my two boys. I've been building up to this for a while now. I wasn't really sure what to expect so there was fear of the unknown, but the main reason for putting it off was the time 1.15 to 2.45. This is nap time. The toddler (21 months) and the baby (9 months) both have a nap after lunch. It's the only time I have to myself during the day!

I wanted to take the boys somewhere we could all socialise. Having two babies so close together has made it difficult for me to take them both to the same group and I was feeling slightly isolated and in need of adult conversation.

I had decided to go to this playgroup in particular as it is where the boys will go to nursery and it is the closest, only a five minute walk away. So we had a slightly early lunch and headed off. I eventually found the correct entrance and bravely marched in. There were only two women and a child in there (being early is one of my things)! I announced "I'm new" and the playgroup leader gave me a quick briefing, took my pound, then I was left to my own devices.

I'm guessing this is a typical playgroup set up: loads of toys on a central rug, tables of activities, and chairs around the edge of the room. I let the toddler loose and off he ran and started playing. He has been a shy child so it was wonderful to see him getting stuck in, especially when the room filled with adults and children.

Then I had a dilemma - where should I sit? Now I know I'm not alone in this, please read Kim's wonderful blog about not knowing where to stand (and getting a decent haircut). I thought the baby would have a sleep so I left him in the pram and parked it at the end of a row of chairs and sat down next to him. Then I watched all the new arrivals come in and sit nowhere near me. I'm no yummy mummy, but I only have the one head. I realised one group of mums must be friends, dare I say a clique? They all looked like they belonged together; all fake tans, short T-shirts, sleek hairdos and makeup. I have none of these.

Then, hurrah, one mum sat five chairs away, on her own. She looked quite shy too so I made the first move and said 'hi'. She was quite new to the group and we had a lovely chat about children - thank goodness we had something in common! She is nine months pregnant, so she may not be at playgroup next week, but I hope she is. I didn't even ask her name, but her three year old is Eddie, I love this name!

It was time for a cup of tea (or a brew as they call it up here). I realised the baby wanted to know what was going on and did not want a sleep, so I took him to play on the mat. I sat on the periphery of the yummy mummies, hoping to catch an eye, maybe smile at another baby, but this was denied by one of the mums turning her back and closing ranks. Now I don't know if this was deliberate, but it ruled out getting to know her or her friends. At least I had the baby to play with and the toddler to watch.

I was pleased to be there, the boys enjoyed themselves and I did speak to a few people when we sat down at the end for songs and nursery rhymes. I even got a bit emotional when we sang 'Happy Birthday" to one little girl - I don't know why, maybe I was emotional at finally plucking up the courage to start at playgroup.

The downside of course was the fact that the boys didn't have an afternoon nap. The toddler in particular looked shattered and didn't want much tea.

Will I go again next week? Yes I will. It's good for all of us. Now I know the ropes I'll make an effort to talk to the other loners (well everyone who isn't a yummy mummy) and see if I can make some friends. It's easier to make virtual friends in blogging or Twitter than it is in real life, well it is for shy old me anyway.


7 June 2009

What is a Stargate?

We have a 'To Do' list in the kitchen. It's a white board split into HIS jobs and HER jobs. My list is always longer than his. We're both guilty of neglecting our duties, for instance one of my 'To Do's is "Child Trust Fund". Yes, I know it's free money AND the baby is 9 months old now, but I'm not exactly missing out on much interest! I'll get round to it soon. Honest.

One of HIS jobs is to fit a gate at the top of the stairs. We bought one months ago, but it's been hidden behind the yukka in the office! Although the toddler is still in a cot, at 21 months he's a good climber. It's only the Grobag that keeps him in the cot. With the warmer nights it will soon be too warm for the extra layer and I'm concerned that he'll climb out and of course fall down the stairs.

This morning Andy said to me "What's a stargate?". I had to laugh. It's been on the board for ages. He must have wondered what it was before now.

I'm delighted to say that after a lot of drilling and a little swearing we now have a gate at the top of the stairs. I'm sure we'll cherish it for years to come. Although whether it will take us to new worlds remains to be seen!


1 June 2009

Food glorious food

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting for me is feeding my children. I've read all the weaning advice, I know what they should eat, but getting them to eat it is a different matter. I don't want mealtimes to become a battlefield. I've seen House of Tiny Tearaways. In fact I watched it before I had children and tutted at the terrible parents. Now I have two children of my own I can completely understand how they got to the point of desperation. It all starts with a bending of the rules here, and a backing down there. Bad habits are so easy to make.

Luckily I also saw a documentary called 'My child won't eat'. The advice was to let them eat what they want. The most important thing is that they get enough calories. You could see that these children were healthy. One of them would only eat yoghurt, another lived on Wotsits and chocolate. Clearly these were extreme cases, but it made me relax my attitude to feeding.

Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself - but don't we all do that as parents? I beat myself up most days for being a crap mum. Sometimes I forget to change a nappy, sometimes I get distracted by the computer, but I try to make up for it in other ways. Obviously your children want to spend time with you, so I spend hours reading every book in the house or playing peek-a-boo or making up songs.

The other thing I do to show them love is to feed them, it's a natural maternal instinct to nurture your loved ones. This is where the feeding problems can start. Rejection is so hard to take, rejection of food can be equated to rejection of love. I am learning not to take offence when I've spent half an hour cooking a meal that gets thrown on the floor. More importantly I try very hard not to show annoyance. I try to keep in mind that the behaviour is naughty not the child, and act accordingly. I clear up the mess and offer an alternative.

I thought it may be useful to share what my 21 month old toddler eats. When I wrote it down I realised that it's not that bad. I hope! A good day is one where he eats all of what he's given, a bad day is one where he doesn't! On a bad day I keep offering different foods until he will eat something, while keeping an eye on my poor carpet. 

What he eats on a good day:
7am - Milk
9am - Super porridge made with milk
11am -Rice cakes
1pm - Tuna & sweetcorn sandwich and a yoghurt
3pm - Banana
5pm - Cheese & tomato pizza, more sweetcorn, a pear and a breadstick
7pm - Milk

What he eats on a bad day:
7am - No milk
9am - Two spoonfuls of super porridge, a fromage frais, Cheerios
11am -Some of my toast, strawberries
1pm -  One bite of a cheese sandwich, strawberries, breadsticks, branflakes
3pm - Half a rusk, an animal biscuit, strawberries (you see a pattern here?)!
5pm - Two sausages, two peas, no broccoli, no potato, a plum, a custard dessert
7pm - Milk

I would love your comments on this. What do your children eat on a good day? Do you have bad days? 

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