Apologies

Good evening you… gorgeous thing!!

Just thought I should probably do a quick post- so you didn’t worry something awful had happened to me…  the reason I haven’t posted recently is because (as expected) my return to work has barely left me with a moment to pee … let alone write.

I miss the old blog… and some of you gorgies have even messaged me to tell me you missed it too which is lovely.

Little Diva isn’t a huge fan of my return to work and bedtimes have become disrupted… on work nights only…. (this kid isn’t daft) so tonight I find myself feeding her to sleep for the second time… snuggled in my bed… with a spot o’ telly. I don’t mind a bit though.

Every now and again things happen around you that catch your breath, stop time momentarily and make you take stock of your life and what is really important.

Tonight… I hold my babies a little tighter and breathe in their baby smell- thankful that they are with me.

My thoughts are with a colleague and his extremely brave wife as today they face losing their baby girl shortly after her birth. Incredibly, in this time of pain and sadness they have agreed to donate their baby’s heart valves in the hope of saving another tiny life.

As I watch my little Diva fight her sleep… instead of sighing with impatience… I think of the family of Stephen Sutton, the inspirational young man who raised over £3Million for the Teenage Cancer Trust before sadly losing his battle with cancer in the early hours of this morning…  My insides ache for his parents who watched their baby fall asleep for the last time.

UK comedian Jason Manford shared his tribute to Stephen on Facebook earlier on today:

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‘Life isn’t measured in time, it’s measured in achievements’ are wise, thought provoking and comforting words.

Even the shortest of lives can make the biggest of differences.

As I try and unprise my sweet daughter’s clenched fist from my hair without waking her… I hope I’ll make a difference in my life and I hope she’ll make a difference in hers. Mostly… I hope I never get to watch her fall asleep for the last time… I pray I’ll be watching over her and saving her a seat in heaven.

Hold those babies tight…. and if you’ve no baby- or they’re too grown up… squeeze the dog.

Be thankful for all that today brought to you…

I  am.

Big love, as ever.

♥♥♥

Ps. .. Half term week after next… so I’ll be back… got a Mum No1 from the US of A coming up soon too…

Mum No1: Episode II

For this Monday’s Mum No1 I’d like you to meet an old friend of mine. At school she was a cool kid, extremely intelligent and just a little bit naughty (frankly… all the best people are…) We’ve always kept in touch through the power of mutual friends and social media… and I’m delighted that she’s taken time out of her exhilarating new life down-under to chat to us…

#nosenseofjealousyandorbitternessintended(honest)

Ladies and gents… I give you Lucy!!!

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your family Lucy…

“I’m 28 years old and currently living in Australia with my husband and two boys Walter & Sid aged 3.8yrs and 21 months. We have lived over here for 8 months and before that we lived for almost a year in Holland. In fact- we have moved house 6 times since Walter was born and lived in three different countries!

Living where we do and with the weather being so good we spend a lot of time at the beach. We also have annual passes to lots of tourist places, such as the Reptile Park and love nothing more than spending a lazy sunday feeding kangaroos and counting the crocodiles.”

Seriously??!! We’re 2 mins in and I’m already struggling to keep to my own hashtag?!

To help us gauge what type of person you are… tell us what defines happiness for you?

“1. Having an empty washing basket (rarely happens!)

2. Walking down to the beach after dinner to go and scooter along the path and get an ice cream- and seeing how excited the boys are about something very simple.

3. Date night with my husband. Getting dressed up and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world because I married my best friend.

4. Going around to my friend’s pool (I so wish we had one!!!) and watching our children jump, and splash and play Bondi Rescue with each other.

5. Planning my next Disney World Holiday!!!”

Snap to No1… and number 3 did make me wretch a little but mostly with guilt… as Sarah last week also used her husband to define happiness. .. and I’m not sure I did?!!! (I absolutely should have done!!!) Eeeek! Best edit my ‘Happiness’ post… I’ll just cut and paste what you wrote…. *jus’ kiddin!!*

What were your birth and early days experiences like with your beautiful boys?

“Walter’s birth was horrific, 8 days late, he got stuck and was back to back. All because he was an absolute porker- 10lb 4oz! Despite the awful start to motherhood he was an easy baby, sleeping 10 hours through the night at 10 weeks old. Sid on the other hand had a pretty non eventful birth, 8lb 9oz, but was an absolute nightmare newborn! The sling was my saviour but some days not even being strapped to me would settle him. He didn’t want to feed,  he didn’t want to sleep, he just wanted to cry…All day. My husband left when he was 3weeks old to go to Holland to do pre season training and we didn’t see him again until we all moved to Holland 6 weeks later.”

Being home alone with a newborn…even a contented baby…is tough… let alone a grumpasaurus for 6 weeks?!  Your husband is a footballer right?

“Yeah… he plays for Central Coast Mariners.”

Did you have any worries about moving to Australia with the boys?

“My main worry was leaving behind my parents, grandparents and siblings and the thought that something bad could happen to one of them and I wouldn’t be there.

Then there was the guilt that I was taking away my boys from their much loved gran and grandad and cousins. They are totally irreplaceable. But constant FaceTime/Skype calls mean my boys don’t forget and the family always hear the latest news from us. (Plus our fridge is covered with their photos!!)”

What advice would you give to another family considering a move down under? (By another family… I mean mine..)

“Do it!!! 

With modern technology its so easy to stay in touch and nothing has to be forever. If you don’t like it then you can always move back. Life is too short. See the World and make your life (and your children’s) an adventure.”

Oh Lucy… the Australian Visa Bureau should definitely employ you!!!

I’m digressing.. back to mum-ness…

How did you find the transition from one to two babies…especially with your hubby away?

“Bloody hard!!! There is 22 months between the boys & Walt was very much a baby when Sid was born- still in nappies and having morning and evening bottles. Trying to juggle the needs of both proved very challenging at times, especially because I did the majority of the newborn bit by myself… but I wouldn’t change it for the world- they are absolutely the best of friends and the love they have for each other makes me realise that all that hard work was totally worth it!

The first few weeks are just a nightmare aren’t they? I found having a newborn again relatively stress free but I struggled with the logistics of having 2 babies that need you… sometimes at the same time. I often felt like a paramedic arriving at the scene of an accident. .. “Which one’s needs are most urgent? !… Which one’s needs can be met the quickest? !”

If you could go back and give your pregnant self any piece of advice what would you say?

“Enjoy it!! The next time you will be pregnant you will have a toddler running around and routines to stick to…so make the most of it just being you (and your husband!).”

Haha.. so true. My second pregnancy seemed to flash by in a heart beat… but I think that’s because…like you say… you are rushing around after a toddler. I felt like I hardly did any wallowing around… did an awful lot of eating though!

Anything unexpected that you know now… but didn’t know pre-babies?

“That everyone will have an opinion on your child and how you parent them… and the best thing to do is smile and nod…whilst completely ignoring any well meaning advice!”

So true… I think everyone experiences some well meaning but totally unwanted parenting advice at some point in their parenting journey. In fact my Sister in Law’s just had a baby boy and I worry I am a regular giver of unwanted advice….but the advice just keeps on slipping out regardless!

If you had to describe ‘parenthood’ in one word… which would you choose?

“God… you ask such difficult questions!!!! I want to say ‘heart-enlargening’ or something a bit more eloquent (and perhaps not totally made up!). But that pretty much sums up parenthood to me- every time I see my boys in the morning, the smile on their faces when they know I’m awake, makes my heart grow just a little bit more. When I pick Walter up from pre school and he’s just SO happy to see me makes me melt. And when Sid (still!) cries every time I leave him to go anywhere I just think how amazing it is that I have created someone who loves me so much he can’t bear to be without me.”

I am a fan of the odd made up word…especially with such a beautiful explanation… but I did question whether I should let you have it or not as technically I feel ‘Heart Enlargening’ should be two words… but as you’ve attempted to hyphenate it… and it’s you…I agree… I feel my heart enlargening every day!!!

What do you love most about your handsome boys?

“When Walter tells me that I am his best friend. Melts my heart…and when Sid snuggles into my neck when I first pick him up in the morning.”

Oh tooooo cute!!

And last… but not least… What is your Mum No1 essential item?

“My No1 essential item is…

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Patience!!!!

Due to moving so much there is not one item that I have become particularly attached to, with Sid we loved the close baby sling but it didn’t suit Walt at all. You don’t need ‘anything’  for a baby… though iPads are lifesavers on a 24hr flight!”

I love that you snuck a few extras in to your Mum No1 Lucy. If only you could order a bottle of patience from somewhere?! Oh no wait… I think you can… WINE!!!

♥♥♥

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all of my questions Lucy. .. and giving us your Mum No…3?!  It’s been an absolute pleasure as always… LOVED experiencing the view from where you stand… and hearing about those ridiculously gorgeous boys of yours!! Related to so much of it too…

You can follow Lucy on Twitter… @WaltsMummy

♥♥♥

If you have enjoyed reading today’s episode and you fancy getting involved drop me an email at: raisingthem@yahoo.com … would love to hear from you.

Big love… as ever.

♥♥♥

GOD, The Universe and Everything Else…

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We had our daughter baptised last weekend. In the same Catholic church my son was baptised in 2 years ago and my husband and I were married in the year before that… unfortunately it wasn’t the same priest who married us and baptised the boy… but the new priest was a lovely man too so it was a short and beautiful ceremony.

We had a small celebration with just 20 guests…immediate family and godparents.  I hope no-one was offended by their lack of invitation…it’s nothing personal.

Organising the day over the last few weeks has meant I’ve been pondering over God, the universe and everything… and well…as my hope is to print these entries out for the babes to read when they’re older… I figured I would write a few of my holy thoughts down…

I was christened as a baby… Church of England.  I went to a primary school where we sang hymns and said prayers but my parents didn’t take me to church or raise me within ‘a faith’…for this reason the practice of religion… any religion… always appeared and felt a little alien to me.

In my early teens I would pray for snow so I wouldn’t have to go to school the next day… or pray that I’d be allowed to attend the school disco but I wouldn’t say I found it comforting…Unfortunately I don’t remember if my prayers were answered or not either.. but I’m guessing not. .. as I’d totes feel like I owed God one for a snow day…

I remember the first time I experienced comfort as a result of something holy very clearly.  I was 18… on a train from Plymouth to Portsmouth. ..I was returning to HMS Collingwood… my home for a few months whilst I completed phase 2 training in the Royal Navy (before you ask my RN career didn’t last long as it turned out to be a sack of crap and I managed to escape within a year… primarily due to the following factoid… stay tuned…)

At a train station; you can spot anyone in the RN because they all have matching kit bags… with their surname and initial printed on them… I spotted a couple of guys getting on my train with matching bags… they sat opposite me and from earwigging their conversation I managed to ascertain that they had just ‘passed in’ to the RN and were on their way to Collingwood to start phase 2 training. I must’ve been at least 6 weeks ahead of them making me officially a salty sea dog… so I asked if they fancied sharing a taxi from the station to the base and we started chatting… allbeit about pretty mundane and boring stuff… Mid- journey we needed to change trains… as I grabbed my kit bag and slung it over my shoulder… one of the young guys said to me:

“What’s your name? Hobbs?!”

“Yeah, why?!” I replied – bemused. ..

“Were you ill at basic training or have something wrong with your kidney?!” He asked…

“Yes…” I said … utterly weirded out..
“How do you know that?!”

“We prayed for you in church. ..” he replied casually.

Twelve weeks prior to this moment, I fell off the ‘leopard crawl’ element of an assault course…about 10 feet…and split my kidney. Aside from the grade 4 tear… a CT scan revealed I was only born with one kidney (Sidney) so I was a bit poorly.  I spent a week in hospital and it was decided that rest was required to allow my kidney time to naturally heal.  On return to basic training the Medical Officer knew better and I completed the final few weeks of basic training with a split kidney… because I’m hardcore… and because he was an absolute douche…

Turns out… as the guys on the train explained… the week I was in hospital… the CofE Chaplain had led a little prayer for me during the Sunday morning service… I remember feeling so touched, grateful and comforted by this thought.

The older I get… the more I want to believe in God… and the more I  pray… not in a knelt by the side of the bed… hands together-eyes closed… Ned Flanders style… but in a thinky-thoughtful I’m talking to you in my mind kind of way.

I desperately want to believe in God… in a similar way to how I would desperately like to believe in Father Christmas… but there is still a large proportion of my brain controlled by rational reasoning which simply won’t let me commit.

My husband comes from a Catholic family so in order to get married in a Catholic church we had to attend ‘instruction’… I guess because I bat for the other team?… but I can’t be sure. Anyhow. .. it was basically a few evenings spent with other prospective husbands & wives chatting about marriage in the eyes of the church… it was quite alright actually… it encouraged us to chat about our futures and what was important to us… including children… and I agreed that any future children we had would be brought up in the Catholic faith.

The boy was conceived just a few months after we got married… and his premature arrival meant that I prayed more than anything. .. multiple times a day in a proper *hands together – eyes closed- please don’t let my baby die* kind of way. I felt comforted knowing that other people were praying for him too…

My prayers were answered.

At least I think they were… it could of course have been a coincidence.

Having children has increased my desire for a God to exist tenfold… primarily because having babies is a massive responsibility… and the thought of a big white bearded man (this is how I imagine Him to look… in my mind… God, Father Christmas and Noah all share features which could mean that they may be mistaken for triplets separated at birth) looking over and protecting them eases the pressure somewhat.

Also, if there is a heaven… word on the street is that it’s a particularly wonderful place to be and I would very much like to go there when it is my time… I hope of course to bagsy a few seats for the rest of my family and absolute faves when I get there too.

Just as I cant 100% believe… I don’t want to 100% not believe either. It’s probably a 48/52 split.  I want to believe… but having faith isn’t wanting to believe. ..is it? Surely it’s actually believing 100%?

Sometimes I feel bad that maybe I’m using God as some kind of insurance policy… ‘just in case’ ….if I believe in God, and I teach my children to believe in God…we’ll be more likely to get in to heaven…if it exists? Maybe if you’re christened you might be eligible for some kind of fast track entry to heaven … scoring extra points for the visa application?

I have attended church with my husband and our children, but I don’t especially take part (mostly because I don’t know the words… except the Amens of course…) but also because I’m not sure I believe in all of it…and that makes me feel a little uncomfortable… especially being someone who prides themselves on saying what I mean and meaning what I say.  Despite this;  I do enjoy going because I love the sense of peace that the church offers me… even if it’s just time to take a little breather from the mania of family life and to reflect on my own thoughts, God,  the universe… and everything else.

Maybe, the older I get-  the more I’ll believe… I guess only time will tell… and there’s plenty of time for me to get my faith on… I hope.

My Dear Babies,

If you have stumbled across this in the attic or under the bed…firstly I apologise for the dust…

Secondly, I’d like to explain why it was important to your daddy and I to have  you baptised…

We wanted you to believe in something bigger and better and nicer than what planet Earth can offer you… because frankly you are so wonderfully awesome that we feel like you deserve more.

We wanted you to feel comfortable around and respectful toward all religion and in your own skin. We hoped that by bringing you up ‘in a faith’ you would be able to find comfort in it… perhaps when times are difficult or when your daddy and I can no longer be physically there to watch over you and cuddle things away.

I hoped that baptising you might help in the heaven selection process. .. (daddy laughs at me about this) I hope that you are protected by a God and guided toward goodness… not only for your own sakes but because I want to believe too.

We love you all the way to heaven… and back.

Mummy xxxxxx

♥♥♥

The competition I didn’t know I’d entered…

Mumpetition

I’ve been using my blog as a platform to share some of my experiences from within the world of parenthood- the experiences that the baby guides and parenting books choose to omit… *fake spluttercough*falseadvertising* coughsplutter* …and this post is no exception… THE PARENT … Continue reading