Thursday 29 July 2010

So Glad I Am No Longer 18!

It has started to rain and all the kids keep asking is ‘Can we go to soft play?’, ‘Please’, ‘pleeeeaaasse Mummy’, ‘You said if it rained we could go to the soft play’. So off we go heading to Tower Park in Poole to visit the soft play there. We spotted it the other day when we went to the cinema and I was a bit surprised to note that the nightclub of my youth had turned into a soft play centre. We walk in and climb the stairs and the transportation starts, I am being thrown back to early 1992 when I was 18 and living in Bournemouth. A big night out was planned to The Venue nightclub with my good friends J and M. We had all got dressed up in very dubious clothes and thought we looked the business! Having saved our money from our student jobs we were planning a fab night out with lots of booze, dancing and girlie fun.

This was a night long forgotten and I am not entirely sure that I want to have found this memory lurking in my mind but none the less the more I walk round this centre the more I can remember. The coffee bar used to be a cocktail bar with a small dance floor and where the sofas are now, there used to be sofas too. That night back in 1992 I was on a break from my then boyfriend J and I was devastated. I think at the beginning of the evening I was hell bent on revenge, finding a nice man and snogging him and getting fully plastered but by mid-evening the booze has entered my system and all rational thought has left me By now I am just thinking about how much ‘I love him’ and want him back and what an ass he is. The more and more drunk I get the less I can think about dancing or moving in general to be honest. I remember the girls patience wearing thin and them leaving me in my own thoughts on a sofa to cool off and sober up.

‘Mummy my need a wee wee’ brings me back to the present day. The kids seem to be having a fab time and dh is running around the soft play with them, leaving me free to read my book and have a relax on my own – very much appreciated. Off we go to the toilet and bam it is like a smack in the face, these are exactly the same loos as back in 1992. I can see myself curled up in the end cubicle having been the sickess I have ever been in my life and the sick has gone everywhere. When completely drunk I seem to have no aim and everything looks a total mess. This must have sobered me up a bit as I remember trying to clear up with toilet roll and it not being that effective. Knocks on the door ‘are you OK in there?’. Yes I whisper and continue to alternate between crying uncontrollably and being sick. Isn’t it amazing that you think your life has ended when you are 18 and in love.

After this spectacle I decide that the best thing for me is to go home and I find myself in the lobby picking up a pay phone, shouting ‘taxi, taxi I want to go home’. The bouncers help me to get a taxi and I manage to give my address. The taxi must cost a fortune as it is well after midnight and we live a fair way from this nightclub. I manage to get home and into bed and I am so pleased at the relief of being there. I think I fell asleep almost immediately. That should be the end of that sorry tale except what about those friends I left at the nightclub? The ones who have no idea where I have gone. The ones looking worriedly around the whole club until it closes and find that I am not there. The same two girls who share a student hotel with me but have no key to get in. Well their evening did not end so well, as they are left outside the hotel in the early hours of the morning trying to wake me or one of the other students who live there so that they can get in. Someone does eventually let them in and boy do I receive the silent treatment the next day from M who I have to share a room with. J is a little more gracious and understand the remorse I feel but I have to be honest, if it had been me stranded at the club and left outside the hotel (and if I remember rightly M had to go to work that next day too) then I would have been well pissed off like M too.

So that is just one of many memories that have come back to me this week while I holiday here in Dorset. Being at University was one of the greatest times of my life and it was where I met my best friends ever, the ones I never want to lose contact with. Such as life, times change and people move across the world or stay in the same country but fundamentally change their lives so much that it is like they have emigrated. I know that if we were all ever put back in the same room again, even for just an hour it would all be fine and like we had never been away from each other. I do have a real sense of loss that I do not share the everyday things with these friends anymore, in fact I feel quite choked up with how much I miss my friends, especially M (who did finally forgive me for the venue debacle).

This post was written using the prompt ‘Found’ from Josie’s Writing Workshop. Her prompts were great this week and I was hard pushed to choose but this memory of that night long ago was too vivid not to write about and put to bed. However, I could not resist mingling in a second prompt of sisterhood and thus the ode at the end to three of the best ladies in the world, M, J and K. K I am still lucky enough to regularly see you, J I get to see you sometimes but I miss the way things used to be and M I just miss you, lots and lots. I am so sorry we do not get to see each other and I feel really guilty about that. NZ is a long way but now I have my laptop perhaps we could skype?

The Gallery: Nature

Here I am on holiday, away from home so I have a bit of a handicap this week. All my photos are stored on an external drive at home, which I have not bought with me. Any photos that I take, I have no way of downloading and all I have on my laptop memory is about 60 recent photos but I am game. I still want to take part in this week’s Gallery. So here is my entry –

This is a picture of JJ taken a couple of months ago on his way to school. This lovely tree is just down the road from us. I love the walk to school from our house, it does not take long but it is interesting in every season. In the autumn we can collect about 20 species of leaves and what wonderful fun we have when we glue them and do printing with them. The kids love it! Also the leaves are great for running in and kicking when they all start to fall off the trees.

In the spring when the blossom is there the kids love to shake the trees and watch the confetti of petals fall on their heads as they dance around and delight in this simple pleasure. All this frolicking around means we need to leave the house about 10 minutes early every day but it is worth it to start the day in the best way with the kids all full of joy and enjoying the modest things in life.

‘Nature’ is a great prompt this week and that is why I could not resist posting, as one of the things we enjoy doing as a family is getting out in the great outdoors and having an exploratory walk. You can be sure the kids will always come home with a pocket full of fun – conquers, acorns, fir cones, odd shaped leaves, twigs. You name it and it is there! Of course this week, it is shells and beautiful stones we seem to be collecting.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Toy Story 3: Fantasy & Reality Can be Quite Different!

So yesterday, day 3 of our holiday we decided to take the kids to the cinema and see Toy Story 3. This is the first time the girls will have gone to the cinema and I had a lovely vision in my head of how the day would pan out. Guess what? Fantasy and Reality hardly merged!

The Fantasy
• Arrive at the cinema all awake and refreshed after a fun day
• Find a local cineworld which took my Tesco vouchers so we could have a cheap day
• Buy some popcorn to share out amongst the kids for them to enjoy
• All sit in our comfy chairs and stay there
• Watch a great Disney Pixar Film
• Quietly chat about some of the scenes explaining things to my 3 year old twins
• Have a snuggle with one or all of my kids as we watch the movie
• All five of us leave the cinema having had a fab time
• Go for a pizza afterwards for our tea

The Reality!• Arrive at the cinema with Miss M having fallen asleep. Did she want to be woken up? NO
• No cineworld locally, so pay full price for all 5 tickets
• Bought the popcorn shared it out and promptly t started to fall to the floor and be squabbled over. I had even bought three small dishes to refill –s o why this did not work who knows!
• Yes the chairs were really comfy and they had booster seats for the kids but did they want to stay in their chairs – NO. Swapped chairs and laps lots of times within the first hour.
• Yes watched a good movie, well I did. Dh got fed up with Miss E chatting so much (are the doors locked Mummy? Why it so dark Mummy? Why no talking? You cross Mummy? Etc etc) in a very loud voice, she seems to have no idea about soft talking or whispering yet, although her twin has got the concept. So he took Miss E out and Miss M decided she wanted to go too. JJ and I sat and snuggled and enjoyed the last hour in peace.
• 2 of us left the cinema having had a good time and 3 were very fraught by the time we found them afterwards – whoops!
• Went home and gave the kids tea - too tired and worn out to eat out. I ended up with frosties, milk and crumpets for my dinner – how nutritious! Lol

Will we be off the cinema again with our 3 year old twins? Not likely. We will wait a while and then go to one of those Saturday morning £1 showings when we try again.

Sunday 25 July 2010

Our Holiday, Day 1: Through My Kids Eyes....

Random snippets of conversation from day 1 of our holiday to Dorset –

20 minutes after setting off for our 3 hour drive
Miss M (3) My having a lovely holiday Mummy
JJ (6) Are we nearly there yet?
Miss E (3) A big grin and nothing to be said. Just happily holding her dolly and dolly accessories.

Notice the difference here? 3 years and content with whatever is happening, the adventure is starting and Miss M and Miss are happy. 6 going on 7 years and already bored of the journey and wanting something else despite the DS, a book, some activity books and a portable DVD player. Oh boy this could be a long few hours.

9am, 9.30am, 9.50am, 10.10am etc etc (get the picture?)
JJ - Can I have my lunch? Is it lunchtime yet? What is for lunch? It must be time to eat now?
Miss M – My hungry too Mummy, neeeed to eat, we have a picnic? can I have cheese?
Miss E – A big grin and nothing to be said again. Still holding her dolly and toys.

Right, we have agreed on noon for lunch, only another few hours to go then….

Yes, we have spotted a good park; the kids can stretch their legs.
JJ- This bit is for babies, I want to go over there. Can we have our lunch yet? I don’t want that ice cream, I want a mint one?
Miss E – I play in the park Mummy. Go on the swings?
Miss M - Hooray, let’s play!

Arrival at the house we have hired for the week
Miss M – oh wow, it is great. Look at our holiday home, the best house ever.
JJ - I have got a desk in my room, it is great. Much better than our house. I want to live here forever.
Miss E – ohh my bed, big bed (and lots of jumping)

Having our dinner at Harvester
JJ – Oh I want Toby not Harvester. Why do we have to go here? big sulk.
Miss M – Chippies yes! We have 2 dinners, us so lucky (salad and then the dinner).
Miss E – More pasta please. Big cheeky smile.

Walking down towards the beach and seeing all the seafront amusements
Miss M – Oh wow and charge off, I want a go. My go on this one? And this one and this one… We go swimming now?
Miss E - Yeah, running after her twin. My no go on there!
JJ – Can we go on the beach? Can be go on that big long platform (pier)? Can we go in the machines? Can I have an ice cream? Can I? Can I? Can I?

It has been a nice day. The drive down was uneventful; we enjoyed a nice play and pic-nic in the park. The house is great; we blew bubbles and played fuzzy-felt while watching Sharks Tale. Then out for some yummy food and a barefoot walk along the sand collecting some shells and having good laugh. We finished the night with a big ice cream and some silly songs in the park. Fun was had by all.

JJ has received his first day warning, that ungrateful children receive nothing and will end up spending a lot of time in their bedroom. We often find that the first day of the holiday he is so excited that he misbehaves and really acts as if the world revolves around him but he is learning slowly.

Tomorrow will be church and then not sure what the afternoon holds…. But whatever it is I expect it will reflect Miss M’s words when I chose her outfit for tomorrow – perfect Mummy!

Wednesday 21 July 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude, and Grace in Small Things...

How many times a day do we all say thank you? hundreds probably, sometimes it is heartfelt and we do not have enough words to be able to describe just how happy and full of grace we feel and sometimes we do not even want to say it but it is the 'done' thing. Never the less out it pops, or it should anyway. If you are one of my kids you probably need a gentle prod, the odd reminder to say thanks every time it is due but that is part of my job description, number 41 - Mummy teaches manners!

Each day I receive an inspiring email from a company that deals with people in 12 step fellowships (ie those with addictions - mine is food in case you are not aware of my problem, I realise I do not blog about my food issues so much nowadays, believe me they are still very much there) and today's was all about Gratitude being a way of life. This struck a cord with me as this really fits with my beliefs.

It reminded me that saying thank you often and sincerely to those we love keeps us from taking each other for granted and we all like to feel appreciated - how many relationships dry up because the people involved don't realise what they have? Yes, how true, a good prompt to remind me to spend time with my man and to value him and his input to our family.

Then there is the gratitude I feel toward God, the source of all the blessings I enjoy but do not create for myself. This thankfulness can be a part of every breath I take, it is good sometimes to just take 10 minutes and to really focus on our breathing, softly speaking Yahweh as we focus on every breath. Often as I remember the many gifts of every day, my emptiness is filled.

You may have been able to tell from my last post that I have been in a low mood, a dark place for the last few days. I have wanted to snap out of it and it has been so hard. Crap happens that makes it even harder but I am determined not to continue to feel like this and the best thing for me I find is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and to remember to list small things that I find grace in. So here is today's list -
  1. Thanks to my lovely dh for being there today and helping me clean and sort our house when it looked like a shit pit full of builders dust

  2. Thanks that my car flew through its MOT, just needing new wiper blades

  3. Thanks that John Lewis took back my iron which blew up last night

  4. Thanks that my JJ knew how sad and stressed I felt today and he kept trying to help me cheer up. He also cleared his room up for me.

  5. Thanks that the front of my house is starting to look great, garage door gone, half bricked up, window in tomorrow.

  6. Thanks that my food has been pretty good today

  7. Thanks that I finished work today until 2nd August

  8. Thanks that I go on holiday Saturday with my wonderful family while the builders stay here and finish all off

  9. Thanks to friends inviting me out to dinner

  10. Thanks to my sponsor for kicking me up the bum tonight

  11. Thanks again to dh for cooking dinner for tomorrow so I can feel good that my kids will have a nutritious tea tomorrow with lots of veg

  12. Thanks to all the great people who comment on here and give me hope

  13. Thanks to those to write great blogs which inspire me to keep going

and on, and on, and on........ I know there are so many more people and things that I am grateful to and for but for now it is bedtime and I need to be kind to myself and get some sleep.

Nighty, night! Mich x

Image Source:

Monday 19 July 2010

Help, Has anyone seen my Joy?

Posted on a tree somewhere in Hertfordshire by a lonesome blond:


Have you spotted my joy?
Lost sometime in the last couple of weeks.

Can be spotted by the warm glow or big smile on my face.

Reward offered, as much loved by my kids.


That's right, I seem to have lost my Joy, very careless of me. I can not really start to explain to you what joy is and why it is different to happiness. I will try though. For me joy is a positive state of being, I might not be happy at that very moment but I can see the good in the situation and I know that God is in the midst and that I am being taken care of.

Right now I am not feeling that, I feel overwhelmed. Nothing too major is happening in my life but you know sometimes lots of little bits of crap come together and they make you feel pretty stressed? Well that is right here, right now for me.

I have seen glimpses of my joy in the last few days, out at the theatre with my Mum, at the Zoo with my family for the girls birthday and kissing my babes goodnight as they snoozed earlier on but that is it - just glimpses. It comes and moments later I feel blue and despondent again. I did not really realise this until today. Work is awful at the moment, we are bogged down and understaffed and I feel we are offering a much worse than normal service and in truth I feel compromised. I do so hate that, being the perfectionist that I am, only the best service will do and it is hard for me to tell people there is about a 2 week wait currently for my team to process their work.

I am glad I have had this realisation that I am feeling down, I can keep an eye on this and ensure it does not get any worse. The only word I could think of to describe how I felt earlier was despondent. I walked outside my house to take the bin bags out and looked at the pile of rubbish that needs to go to the dump, the front lawn full of weeds that needs a mow and the driveway which needs de-weeding and I wondered how things had got quite so messy. Then stepping back in my house I viewed the cream carpet that just makes me want to cry, the hire washer just does not cut it anymore but where will the money come from to replace it?

Oh woe is me! That is how I feel reading this back. My worries are very thin compared to many people's. Ultimately I know I am blessed and lucky, I am also just a little greedy and want more but that is part of being a flawed human. This rollercoaster of emotions that us women go through each month can be a real trial........ but tomorrow is another day and I am determined it will be a much better one.

This is all just 'a storm in a teacup' afterall!

This post was written for Josie's writing workshop. I used the one word prompt 'storm'.

Saturday 17 July 2010

Lets Talk About Sex Baby...

...Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let's talk about sex......

Ok enough, enough. Can you picture me dancing round the living room singing that out, big, buxom blond (can I be called buxom? no I think that means big boobed, so scrap that!) doing dodgy dance moves to a cheesy 80’s pop song. I was having fun but it was only meant to be a post title not an ode to the song.

Anyway Let’s talk about sex. Not my sex life you understand. If you were lured over here with the idea that I might reveal all the lurid details you will be sadly disappointed. I have to say that area needs some work right now. An unexpected pregnancy, miscarriage, excessive bleeding and recently fitted coil have not added up to the best rumpy pumpy ever!

What I actually wanted to talk about was sex and children. Sex education if you like. When to do it and in what form? If there are any teachers reading then do let me know what the schools advocate.

This post was inspired by a conversation I had with JJ a few days ago. He was getting ready for the shower and called me into the bathroom

JJ: ‘Mummy, is this a willy pea?’

Me: ‘A what darling?’

JJ: A willy pea, see there is a lump in my willy.

There he was holding his scrotum and showing me one of his balls (not so much the size of a pea, more a marble. On the subject can you tell what size they might have when older? I just wonder as this kid of about the same age stripped off in the changing room for swimming the other day and his willy was about twice the length of JJ’s. Anyway back to our bathroom conversation...)

Me: That is one of your balls JJ.

JJ: What does a ball do Mummy?

Me: Quick think, what do I say now?? Oh bugger, bugger! Why is dh not here to talk to him about these things. Then I remember the parenting course I am doing at the moment and they say to tell them the truth but in information chunks broken down to be age appropriate. Now JJ is 6.5 years, so what on earth is appropriate?

‘When you are bigger, a man, your balls will help you to help a lady make a baby. They are very special’.

JJ: ‘Oh, OK. Is that called marriage Mummy?’

Me: ‘Yes darling it is’ and off I walk quite satisfied that went well.

20 minutes or so later he follows me and asks the question every Mummy dreads ‘When can I start making babies Mummy?’. Ohh a very long time from now my little man.

We have then had follow up conversations over the last two days about how 2 men who are in love cannot make a baby and how 2 women who are in love cannot make a baby ‘as they have no balls Mum!’. Yes that is right babe but perhaps don’t shout that at any lesbians you meet!

I have also been asked when his sisters will start having eggs that can make babies and how the egg gets inside their tummy. Basically to this one I told him that when he is older we will chat about all this but for now he knows as much as 6 year old needs to know and he seemed quite happy with that.

Tonight he happily walked up to me, pulled down his pants and announced 'Look I have two balls Mum!'. Super, great, glad to see the full tackle is there!

How scary, I dread to think what my next question from him might be.

So here is my question for you. Especially those of you with older kids. When is it right to talk about the real ins and outs of this subject and not to just gloss over the details and how did you successfully do it? Any advice will be greatly appreciated as I enter this new minefield!

Thursday 15 July 2010

Scared & Embarassed: Making a Breakthrough..

This post has been written as part of Josie's writing workshop. It has been a while since I last joined in and I have missed it. The prompt I choose this week was one word 'Running'. Here is how I have been running from a situation over the last few weeks...

It was about 6 weeks ago that I last went swimming in the pool at work. It was a Tuesday morning about 7am, my normal time and I was looking forward to gliding through the water (yeah right, more like lumping) and having 30 minutes of 'me' thinking time. I adore my time in the pool (when I get there, not when I have to get out of bed at 6.20am and everyone else is still asleep!) and this day was no different to any other. At first the water was easing my period pains and the calm swooshing of the water was clearing my mind. I happily chatted to God and thought about what my week ahead would entail. It had been a rough month for me, what with my miscarriage and I was enjoying this precious peaceful time.

About 40 minutes later it was time to get out and get lively, off to work I needed to go. I had to be there for 8.30am made up and looking presentable. I got out of the pool and walked to the changing room to collect my towel and toiletries and then onto the shower. At that point I looked down and I did not know whether to cry, scream, hide or just die with embarrassment. I am sure the blood drained from my face and I felt such shame. I slowly opened the door and looked around, was anyone else there? No, sneak out and look round the corner, 'oh my goodness'. There from the pool right to everywhere I had walked was a trail of blood, my blood. Day two of my period, I was using the highest absorbency tampon you can, only recently inserted and it has failed me. I assume I bled so hard due to the miscarriage the month before as I have always swam at this time of the month and been heavy for a few years now but this was beyond heavy. This looked like someone had been murdered.

I quickly took my towel and swished it around the floor directly by the shower so that no trail led to me. Closing the door I died as the shower washed away the cause of my shame and then realised it was one of those awful things that I was in the last shower and the red washed down 2 or 3 showers more before reaching the drain. I stayed in that shower for 40 minutes that morning in the hope that I might just disappear.

When I finally found the courage and strength inside to re-emerge I saw that the blood was still there. How could this be? The staff are normally fab and these are probably the cleanest showers I have ever seen. I sneaked into one of the toilets and again shut myself away from the world, hoping no-one would see the guilt written over my face - 'it was me, I am the unclean person!'. Consoling myself I wondered if people might think I had cut my foot and that was it but realistically with that amount of blood it would have to of been an amputation. I could hear the speculation of people in the changing rooms, what had happened, who was it, why had it not been cleared up?

As I sat there praying I heard the lady come in and clear it all up and in my heart I was profusely thanking her. Over an hour after leaving the pool I came out and got dressed. I did go to work, although the urge to go home and hide was very great. It was a busy time at work and I am not one who likes to let her colleagues down. So in I went and felt terrible all day. Each time I remembered what had happened I relieved that embarrassment.

I have been so scared to go swimming or do aqua ever since. Normally I go twice a week and I have missed it but the thought of THAT happening again was just too much. Having had a coil fitted about 3 weeks ago this means my bleeding has been unpredictable but pretty low considering my norm, so this morning I felt I had the courage to take those steps into the pool and I am so glad I did.

Have I overreacted to this incident in staying away for such a long time - maybe? but I think much of my reaction has been tainted by the miscarriage and my hidden sadness at losing my baby. As said before realistically I know that it was not ideal to have another baby but from my heart it would of been lovely to have one.

NOTE: (Mum, do not worry when you read this. Fundamentally I am fine, it was just good for me to get this out and let go)

Sunday 11 July 2010

Pick of the Best!

Here are some great blogs which I follow and I want to give them a shout out and ask you to pop over and visit them and show some blogger love.

Walking with Angels - Sara is a really courageous Mum of 4 (and sometimes more, as she fosters). Her blog is from the heart and is full of tales of her walk with Christ and her love for all her kids. This lady has a massive heart and you will fall in love with her.

A couple of weeks ago Sara awarded me the above award (thank you honey) and I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself that you do not already know. I am hard pushed to think of 7 new things so I am breaking the rules and instead I am giving this gorgeous award to these wonderful blogs I will list here.

Mummy Mayhem - Isn't this a perfect title for a Mummy blog? Jodie has me in stitches, a great lady from Oz who always has something interesting to blog about.

The King and Eye - Jen is a mummy of three and one of her little men has autism, she tells the story of her life and talks a lot about what it is practically like living with a child with autism. She seems the most lovely of women and always makes time to comment on 100's of posts! Respect to you Jen.

Casa Di Cass - is a really fun place. Big Mama Cass posts from the USA and I am always guaranteed a smile when I visit her.

So there are 4 of my favourite blogs right now. Thanks ladies for being great bloggers and readers alike. I hope to get to know you better over the coming months/ years! Mich x

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Legend in My Own Living Room!

Yep, that is me. A complete legend in my own living room! Successful Mummy blogger - oh go on then, give me that title if you will. Not taking myself too seriously, you bet!

Both here and on hundreds of other blogs have been debates and post about what makes you successful in this parent/ mummy/ daddy blogging arena. I have got very down before when I did not feel I was doing too well and today I am pleased to say I feel pretty chipper! Last month on a whim I decided to put myself forward for Technorati acknowledgment and for a Tots 100 rating.

I have no idea what Technorati measures me on but I think I was told that a rating of about 600 was a good popular blog and that those higher than that 'were just showing off'. My rating at first was about 140 and now it is 430 and I think that is pretty presentable for someone who has just been out there for about 6 months and has limited followers and commenter's. I suppose some of it might be that I know I have a fair amount of people reading who never or rarely comment on my post but I hear from them in real life, by phone, via facebook, text or email. So my engagement can be really good but just not always on my blog. A while back that might have bothered me, as all that 'engaging' was not effecting my blog stats but now my sanity has returned I realise I would rather be having that engagement with people through a real life medium rather than my blog anyway.

Also I mentioned I put myself forward for a Tots 100 rating, and this rates the top 100 parenting blogs in the UK and it rates them over loads of criteria, most of which I have no idea. I must go and investigate, I am sure Sally wrote a good post a while back about it all. My rating has come up as 181 and I am super pleased with that. I do very little promotion to get that figure, I just blog and try and be me. This surprised me a bit as other blogs which I feel are far more 'popular' or better than mine have lower ratings, so this has given me a little boast and for today I feel I am doing a good job, or certainly a good enough job.

So now we know I am a good enough parent and seemingly a good enough blogger. What are you good enough at?

TOTS 100

Family Holidays

It is FloYoBlog Friday - go and visit Brenda at MummyTime. There are some fab other blogs in this hop too.

The Gallery: Holidays

Recently dh and I were really lucky and we got to have a little holiday away together. Friday morning my super fab Mum and Dad (oh and their puppy Archie too, as if they didn't already have enough to contend with - 3 lively kids!) arrived and shooed us off to Bristol and then on to Bath.

It was wonderful to be us again, yes I did miss the kids but it was so nice to go to the cinema at 5pm and not worry about tea, baths and routines. Spending a whole day wondering around Bath in our own time, doing stuff the kids would find really boring. Going into tiny little boutiques and curiosity shops (you know the type that you can NOT take a toddler into). We had a gorgeous Moroccan meal, another thing that the kids would not of enjoyed and we just got to be us. We chatted without interruption, we laughed and joked and felt very close. It was great!

In Bath they had a Pride of Bath exhibition across the whole city and there was 100 individually decorated lions around the city, below are some of my favourite ones.

It is hard to see in the picture but this lion was decorated from top to toe in wooden scrabble pieces and they made up really pertinent words in each of the relevant pieces, ie ear and hear on the ear. It was an amazing piece of art, I could of spent ages studying it.

This proud chap has a mane of razors, lethal and beautiful all at the same time.

Isn't it a gorgeous place? I would recommend a visit if you have not been there before.

This post was written for week 18 of the Gallery, hosted over at Sticky Fingers.

Monday 5 July 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude.....

Some days we all ought to stop! We should think! and we should reflect! then we should remind ourselves how blessed we are.

So for today I am cultivating an attitude of gratitude. I choose to be positive and I choose to see the best in everyone and everything.

Here is my gratitude list from the time I woke up this morning to now as I slink off to bed.

  • that I woke at 6.55am, a lie in from my normal 6.15am but still enough time to do what was needed and to leave the house by 7.45am
  • that I had a nice invigorating shower to wake up and felt comfortable in my clothes
  • that dh stripped JJ's sheets off when he had a little 'accident'
  • that the kids got dressed with the minimum of fuss this morning
  • that dh emptied and re-stacked the dishwasher before leaving for work
  • that I got a nice kiss from everyone as they went off to school, work and nursery
  • that the sun was shining and the rain stayed away
  • that I have a car and was able to drive to work
  • that everyone was smiling when I arrived to work, early!
  • that I enjoyed my breakfast
  • that the training course that I was running went well
  • that my mother in law picked up JJ from school
  • that my mother in law hung out the washing and did the washing up whilst I was at work
  • that JJ enjoyed his day at school
  • that the girls behaved at nursery and napped and ate well
  • that all my kids were really pleased to see me when I arrived to them
  • that I enjoyed my tea
  • that my house was still tidy when I arrived home
  • that I had fun reading the girls their bedtime story
  • that JJ and I spent time together wrapping all the girls birthday gifts
  • that the garage is nearly clear and ready for transformation
  • that I got a little bit of time on the PC to catch up
  • and lastly that I can now go to bed and sleep......

Have a go yourself, walk through your day in your mind and remind yourself that you are blessed. Have you ever read the book or watched the film - Polyanna? She plays the 'glad' game and is glad for everything, taking a positive slant on even the worst things and believe me this can get you through many tough times

This clip is from a re-make of the orginal film - enjoy!

Saturday 3 July 2010

Notes From The Heart.....

Dear So and So...

Hello Readers,

Do you know what? I have not even been begging for a couple of weeks and you keep on appearing and some of you new people are putting a follow on me and my reader stats keep going up. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing the blogger love. I don't think I am setting myself a target for new followers in July, in all this heat it is a time to be chilled...

Mich x

Dear Mr Blog,

Are you feeling a bit left out? Not getting as much time from meas normal? Sorry about that but you know what I am a mummy to three, wife to one and I work too and guess what I have perspective. On my deathbed I will not worry if I wrote enough blog posts but I will worry about whether I spent enough time seeing my real life loved ones. So while this lovely weather is here and the house needs me (what with the garage conversion) then I just won't come and visit you as much but I am still here and Mr Blog if it helps, I still love ya!

Mwahhh Mich x

Hello Precious Ones,

Yes you know who you are! You are the ones that I can not resist sneaking into at night and stroking your hair and stealing a little kiss from! I just wanted to say sorry that Mummy has seemed crabby the last few days. I have been silly and allowing myself to get stressed. Not enough time at home to achieve all the things that need doing. I had no idea that a garage conversion could require so much work on my behalf - ebaying, freecycling, charity shop drops, dump runs, filling bin bags, moving stuff to the shed, sorting through boxes of crap accumulated over the last eight years.

Anyway Mummy feels much better and more in control again now so hopefully we will enjoy a lovely family Sunday together.

Love you my little beauties and handsome man.

Mummy xxxxxxxx

Dear Dh,

You have no idea how much you blessed me tonight. When you come home from a very busy day at work and come out into the garage without being asked and help me to start shifting all the stuff to the shed it just took a weight off my mind, it was amazing how quickly things happen when two of you are doing them.

I love you babe, thanks for our amazing weekend last week.

Mich xxxx

Dear John Lewis,

After my last post about your rude assistant, I have to say you have redeemed yourself. I am delighted with my new Ted Baker handbag that I have got early for my birthday. Your assistants were just fab at chatting to my girls and engaging them giving me time to try out a few days.

Thanks for my fab 1/2 price bargain, Mrs P

Thursday 1 July 2010

Not SuperMich but a Good Enough Parent

This week I have had a couple of chats with friends about parenting and how tough it can be. So I said I would put up this post that I wrote for Guest Post Day back in May this year. This same post appeared on and then all I thought about was you blog originally. The brief we had decided was to write 'a day in the life of...' but I went a bit off cue, this was obviously what I needed to be thinking about at that time and again now for it to come to mind when I was having these conversations. So here we go.......

Hello, Yesterday I was SuperMich, the mum who can do anything, cope with anything and enjoy it! I would love to be SuperMich every day but alas it does not seem to happen like that for me. SuperMich only appears once in a while and I have to enjoy her whilst she is here.

Have you ever found you have more than one personality? Can you be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde? I certainly can. Talking to my Mummy friends it appears that many of us suffer from this – Split Mummy Personality Syndrome.

There can be so much pressure to be the perfect parent and actually what is the perfect parent?

Well for me yesterday it was about being a mum to three, who had enough time to listen (yes really listen) to every word my kiddies said. I then chatted back and made good educational conversation, as well as singing lots of pointless songs and playing games, both directed by me (puzzles and drawing) and some directed by the girls (the joys of make-believe play – doctors and baby dolls). The girls then helped me to prepare dinner, sweep the floor and hoover. Yes when SuperMich I can even make housework an enjoyable game for the little ones. JJ then came home and joined us and because I was fully engaged with the kids they all played lovely together in the garden, bouncing on the trampoline to their heart’s delight. The kids ate good healthy food all day, Hubbie and I ate well too and there was just a feeling of harmony and happiness in our house.

I tend to find that the more I engage with my kids the better the day goes. When I wake up and make a choice to have a great day and SuperMich appears, I come down and can deal with the spilt milk, the wee on the carpet and the protests that the 2-year-old twins do not want to get dressed even though we are only a short while off the bell ringing at school. I am able to negotiate like I belong at the White House and can coherse co-operation like a top sales director. These SuperMich days are satisfying but if I am honest they are also very tiring and could I keep up this level of enthusiasm and interest 7 days a week? very doubt able.

So most of the time – who am I?

Well, I am just plain old weary Mich, a good enough parent (don’t you just love that phrase? I heard it years ago and it has always filled me with hope and verified that I am OK). I go to work 2.5 days a week, I try to be a good wife, I aim to be a good mother but yes the kids watch TV and often they are left to entertain themselves but that is the beauty of three kids, they have playmates without me having to constantly join in! yay

My house generally looks clean and tidy but not so much that the kids can not have fun, I have definitely grown more relaxed since having children and learnt the lesson that no one ever wishes they did more cleaning or worked more hours when on their deathbed. So I really do try to do fun stuff with the kids, we go to the park, the zoo, on picnics, enjoy play doh, do some make-believe (which yes I find totally boring but I love to watch them get on with it without me), bake cakes and make mess painting. The lesson I still need to learn and I am trying (honestly) is how to just relax and be; enjoying my kids that way, without always doing something.

A while back Sandy at Baby Baby did a good post on the very subject of good enough parenting. I said to her at the time I wanted to post on the same subject but it has taken me this long to get my thoughts down. Some of the reason for this is because I am a good enough parent. I care enough about my kids happiness and well-being not to blog for too long, because boy could I get really drawn into this addictive little world if I allowed myself to.

This subject of ‘perfect’ and ‘good enough’ parenting is really close to my heart so I googled under ‘perfect parenting’ and came across a survey which had been undertaken by Netmums with 1000 British kids. It made for interesting reading, stating that 77% of the kids felt the best Mums gave loads of cuddles. Tick, I do OK on that one! Amongst the other things that kids wanted from their ‘perfect parents’ was help with their homework, to be supported at school events, to play with their Dad’s, and to grow up to be just like their parents. The message was that we do not need to be perfect parents we need to be happy parents who try our best to be good role models.

Happy parents = Happy children. So for today that is what I will be – Happy Mich not SuperMich!