Archive | February, 2013

Looking after Number One

27 Feb

Today has been mostly about me.

Straight after dropping the small ones at school I legged it into town for my six-weekly appointment at the hairdressers. There followed two whole hours of me time – I am far too vain to be my natural grey – so my hair was covered in all sorts of gloop, then I was offered a coffee and  a vast array of magazines to peruse while I waited for the dye to take effect. In fact, I was very organised and had taken my Kindle with me as I am in the middle of a mystery and wanted to read more.

I left the salon feeling glossy and pampered and in an excellent mood. But not quite “done.”

I managed to find the mum at the nursery gates that I was hoping to see and had a quick word with her. This afternoon I have just popped round to hers and had my very first eyebrow wax. It was very easy (I lay back and she did the work), painless (seriously I’ve had worse niggles brushing my teeth) and very good value for money (£6)

The physical difference it has made is to open up my eyes a bit and tidy up the stragglers. The mental and emotional difference that both treatments have had on me is immense. I am not particularly trendy – think jeans and any old top as standard – I rarely wear make up either, and I am definitely several pies over the acceptable mummy tummy, but I now feel cared for and good about myself. Partly I must admit that is the time I had this morning to indulge myself in some reading and the enjoyable experience of drinking a coffee while it’s still hot, but looking halfway decent is never a bad thing.

I realise I am lucky enough to be able to juggle the pennies in order to afford regular hair treatments. But mums, and dads, we should make sure that we all take some “me time”, whether it’s a walk in the park, a bubble bath with the door locked or just a simple cup of tea with a friend, to recharge and do something for ourselves. It is so true that the house will fall down if the foundations are rotten; if you are the foundation in your house then you owe it to yourself to check out the condition of your foundations. And apply some TLC if needed.

Be kind to yourselves!


Meltdown-free Monday

25 Feb

After the anxieties had been building up yesterday I was fully expecting the works this morning before school.

Luckily, biggest sis had phoned and left a 3 minute voice-mail yesterday evening from the O2 Arena where she was at a concert, so M was treated to the entire message while having her morning snuggle in my bed. Thus fortified with the sure knowledge that her favourite boy band were thinking about her, the usual morning struggle before school was much improved.

I had the added bonus of M now staying in school till 11.30 this week – a whole extra half an hour, which might not sound much to you but you seriously have NO idea how much I was looking forward to it.

I got plenty done, including a totally relaxed bubble bath which was bliss, and collected a chilled M on time. There had been a slight blip over her new reading book which she had refused to even look at, but I realised why. Although it was an Oxford Reading Tree book, it wasn’t a “Biff and Chip” book, and every Monday since I don’t know when she has had a Biff and Chip book.The easiest way to avoid the problem in future will be to give M her next weeks book on a Friday so she can check it out over the weekend and not have a shock on the Monday – simple.

I further tested how well the morning had gone by insisting we went straight out shopping. As it turned out we detoured via a cafe as M was starving. Another push of the button, I ordered soup for her instead of her “usual” cheesy beans on toast. She had a rant at me but didn’t lose the plot. And she ate the soup!

Made a quick dash round the supermarket (we really did need quite a lot) and back home in time for her to watch 20 minutes of calming TV before collecting her brother. Straight back in the car and the 40 mile drive to the additional needs drama class. This can be a flashpoint as obviously all the children have different needs and behaviours and it can be tense but I reminded her “kind words only” and raced downstairs for my weekly cappuccino with the other mums.

Still no tantrums or tears. Got home. Dinner wasn’t exactly what she “ordered” (it never is or she would live on pasta, cheese and sliced ham) but again she just about held it together. And ate her dinner.

We got all the way through to bedtime without raging, tears or a full-blown meltdown. I have really pushed it today – there were no really nasty surprises but in the past any one of the above could have resulted in total overload. The only real difference now is school – a school where the staff have listened to me, the OT, SALT and the other professionals, and changed M’s environment so she can learn in a way that suits her autism. They have not tried to “force” her to be something she is not, and by accepting that she has to learn in a different way she is coping well.

Finally, do you know what she said to me in the car? “I wish I could go to school for longer”. Says it all really.

Mind over Matter

23 Feb

I have been poorly.

I came down with the shivers on Thursday evening but as I was due to help take 20 Beavers for a hike up a local hill in the freezing cold I took some ibuprofen and decided on ignoring it as the best plan of action. The hike went well, although I was slightly surprised that I didn’t need my hat in temps of -6 C. 

Got home at 8 pm and really felt ill then. Took more medication and left hubby to put the little ones to bed. Had a terrible night, and by the time Friday morning came I felt ready for the dustbin.

However, any mums (or dads) who have a school run to do know that opting out just can’t be done unless you have 2 broken legs or have been carted off with double pneumonia. How I managed I am still not sure but I got them to school on time. (I did drive as wasn’t sure my legs would hold me up)

Anyway, I have to collect M at 11 am as she’s only in part-time, and I went back for B at midday as we had a busy afternoon. Dosed up to the eyeballs so my temperature was somewhere under “furnace” I made the 40 mile journey into town to await the arrival of no 1 son off the lunchtime train from his school. I then had to get him across town to an important OT appointment. I will just explain here that no 1 son goes to a special boarding school and cutting his Friday short was the least disruptive way of scheduling this appointment. Re-scheduling was not the easy option. Luckily the wee ones were happy to settle into the fabulous playroom of the autism centre, and the appointment gave me nearly an hour to rest.

I then went to the shopping centre as no 1 had begged me to take him to Waterstones. Seriously, anywhere else and I’d have refused but he’s a teenage boy who wants to read – how could I say no? By this time I knew it would be crazy for hubby to spend money on a rail ticket so we whizzed back across the river to pick him up from work. And then I drove the 40 miles home. I will point out that hubby would drive but our family car is suffering from gear-box issues and is a total bi*ch to drive, he’s not unsympathetic.

So, we got home, and once again I collapsed. I went to bed at about 8.45 and stayed there all night. I got up this morning feeling fairly rested, although not 100%. I made sure I had a healthy breakfast and got M ready for her dancing lesson.

Since lunchtime I have been for a long walk in the sunny, frosty afternoon. I am now almost ready for bed again but my temperature issues have receded into the background.

I am absolutely certain that my refusal to give in to my wish to sleep Friday away has contributed to the speed at which I’ve kicked this bug. Personally, any other day and I would have collected M at 11 and curled into a ball on the sofa until the end of school when I’d have swooped B up in a drive-past and gone straight back to the sofa. But if I had, I bet I wouldn’t have been out this morning as normal on a Saturday, much less likely going for a brisk walk. I am only writing this down as I am so surprised at how my attitude appears to have changed this illness. I haven’t blogged for sympathy as I don’t need it – it was a simple bug, albeit one with a scalding temperature (I stopped checking when it was approaching 40) and I am fine.

Mind over matter – I am going to try this again next time I feel a bit yak.


Happy today

20 Feb

In a few minutes I am off to a village 15 miles away to have a chat with my “man who can”, who is building our family a “new” Land Rover. Squeeaaal!!!!

He’s taken a 3-seater Land Rover truck and is converting it to a 9-seater station wagon, which will give us 5 seats in the main body and 4 fold up seats in the back. This will comfortably house all 7 of us, and the idea is that when going on holiday we will no longer need to drag a trailer behind us unless actually going camping. 

Tom (our man) is a Landy expert and is taking great delight in sourcing good quality second-hand parts for us. Today’s recce is to discuss some of the finer details, like how he’s going to manage to include an inertia-reel seatbelt in the middle of the 3 back seats rather than the usual lap belt. We don’t do lap belts for forward-facing in our cars – ever.

I expect I shall also be visiting the bank by early next week in order to fund the supplies but as car takes shape I will be getting progressively more excited. I shall miss our people carrier but the synchro-mesh in the gears is wearing out (a design fault apparently) and it would cost as much for a reconditioned gear box as for the whole car, so we’ve bitten the bullet and gone for a whole new experience.

I am a deputy Scout Leader (all 5 kids are involved in Scouting) so I am certain that the extra seats will suddenly make me a popular member of the team when we need vehicles for outings.

I might even be able to take some photos and if I do I will work out how to upload one.


16 Feb

Greetings from a sunny seaside village!

Can you tell I’m cheerful today? Yes, the sun is out, and it is currently 11 degrees c which is why 3 of my kids are running around outside in t-shirts exclaiming about the heat. I kid you not.

The washing (of which there is always so much) is on the line and everyone seems cheerful. There have been no whines about the tv not being on, no-one is nagging to have a shot on the computer or wondering where the DS charger has gone. It’s lovely,

The only downside is the sunshine is highlighting all the cobwebs that I *ahem* appear to have been ignoring for a month or two. Time to find the duster. I might be gone some time.

Busy day

15 Feb

As I have 5 children I guess it’s not surprising that I have busy days. But today seems to have been just that bit extra.

Take eldest son to get his hair cut. This is a 10 mile drive along country lanes to the nearest town by the way. Run to the health centre to beg for an emergency prescription to be collected this afternoon (used my most winning smile to hopefully achieve this). Rush into the bank to set up a new payee and pay her. Get out the lunch money for next week’s school dinners while I’m there. Collect son and pay for haircut. Rush back to bank to take out some money to pay for eldest daughter’s Scout camp reunion tonight (thank goodness she remembered to text me in time.) Race home. Divide the washing between tumble dryer and the airers. Make lunch (thinking ahead of food intolerances of younger son) Nag daughter no 2 to put her guinea pigs in the run for some fresh air. Remind her half an hour later to bring them in again! Go back to town for another appointment with eldest son.

And so it continued. Now it is just gone 7 pm and eldest is safely at camp (I do love mobile phones!), the kids are fed, and hubby is home and chopping some veg for our evening meal. I still have to sling the youngest 2 in the bath, shove melatonin down M and get them read a story and to bed, all before 8 pm. I have left out about 30 other tasks that I have completed today as I didn’t want to bore you all with a list.

And I wonder why I’m so often tired? I think I should probably wonder why I’m not more tired!

I am betting that this will ring a bell with other parents. What it should also do is remind us that quite often we are flaming awesome – we pack so much into a routine day and then shrug it off as “just what we do.” Which is true, but it doesn’t make us any less amazing,. It’s Friday, give yourself a pat on the back for making it through another week.

Happy Valentine’s Day?

14 Feb

Or is it all just a marketing hype?

Personally I like to think that my hubby has made some effort every 14th February. After all, we’ve been a couple since 1989 so I at least deserve some recognition, right? Actually, no I don’t think I do deserve it as such – I’d like to think I do but that’s not quite the same thing. We shouldn’t ever take each other for granted, at least not for long, as anything might happen and we could be left with a lifetime of regret. I don’t ever go to bed on an argument as I always like to clear the air, not that I am particularly argumentative but we only get one shot at this so I try to keep it positive.

I rang him today at work, just to say hi. We chatted for about 6 minutes about his work, my day with the children, our plans for picking up the 2 oldest girls this evening from 2 different places on his way home. and what was for dinner.

Neither of us actually mentioned what the phone call was really about, we didn’t need to.

Our second daughter Billie should have been 16 today. But she was an angel baby, she died in the womb too young and too frail to survive.

We are blessed beyond words – we have five healthy beautiful children who mean the world to us. But Valentine’s Day for us is always tinged with some sadness. What could have been. A lost dream. Lives adjusted and never quite the same.

It’s not been about the cake, the romance or the roses since 1997. it’s been about remembering that anything can happen to throw your world out of balance and being grateful for what we actually have. It’s been about celebrating the living children we have (dh used to try and take the 14th off every year so we could take the kids out – this year he had too much on) and making the extra time to tell each other that we love each other. It’s about kind words, patience and an extra hug on the sofa tonight.

Happy Valentines Day.

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