Motherhood Dare

Motherhood dare …

“Motherhood dare! I accepted!
I was nominated to post a picture that makes me happy/proud to be a mum (Only one picture).
I’m going to tag some ladies that I think are fabulous mothers and can rise up to the challenge of posting a pic of their own.
If I’ve tagged you as one of the awesome mums, copy the text and paste it to your wall with a picture and tag more mums”

So I have seen this 4 times on my newsfeed today … there was a very similar thing like this around a while ago which required mothers to post 5 pictures …
urgh …

So this has annoyed me enough to write a blog …
I have been so busy being wrapped up in my pregnancy and new baby along with looking after my other two kids that I haven’t written a blog in aaaaages … but yes … I feel the need to write in response to this new “challenge” …

What is it with these challenges … where do they come from and why does everyone instantly feel compelled to join in ???
I’m fed up with the pretending, with the guilt, with the low self esteem…

I too post pictures of my kids and share snippets of my day on social media because when you are wrapped up in mum world you can loose yourself sometimes …
I used to wash my hair every day … I used to read books and have actual conversations with people about topics other than raising children … now … not so much …
so facebooking makes me feel like I am still in touch with an adult world … whether that makes sense or not I don’t care anymore …
I am done apologising, I am done trying so damn hard to be the perfect mother ….

No one is perfect – not a single one of us …

So if I were to share a picture that made me proud to be a mum then it would be a picture of my full laundry basket – full of DIRTY laundry – why ?
because thats what it’s about …
I love my children so bloody much I cannot even find words to explain !!! But some days I am exhaused and bored and annoyed and harassed … its just life …
dirty laundry means that we can afford to buy clothes in the first place, that we can afford the food that makes them dirty, that we have healthy kids who can play and get them dirty …
that makes me proud … the fact that we do ok …

Why motherhood challenges ?
what about the dads, the aunts and uncles, the grandparents, what about all the other identities that we all have …

I suffer from low self esteeem and depression, i’m not ashamed to admit that … it doesn’t make me a bad mother.
And some people will be surprised by that … I often get compliments about my children and I am an outgoing, confident person …

But …
I compare myself to others all the time and then I want to slap myself immediately afterwards for doing so because it does not matter … so what ?! … some mums are more patient, skinnier, better at crafts, take their kids to more playdates … but they are not perfect either, they have their own weaknesses … And all it does is make me feel like I am not good enough, it makes me feel guilty for my shortcomings and it devalues all the things that I do well on a daily basis.

I’m married, a stay at home mum, I breastfeed, I can bake and cook from scratch, my house is clean and tidy and I love reading to my children …
but i’m no better or worse than anyone else …
I shout at my kids when they are driving me up the walls, my tv is on cebeebies almost all day, I let my second born sleep on his tummy from when he was 3 weeks old becasue that was the only way anyone got any sleep at all …
My third baby has never slept in his cot at all – he sleeps in our bed … I pretend not to hear my two oldest when they are shouting at each other at the top of their lungs … I have days where I struggle to tear myself away from my phone “mummy is just reading something honey, just a minute…”
We are all human … everyone does things they are not proud of … especially us mothers – because there is so much pressure on us … all … the … time …

Motherhood is more than a picture posted because of some dare or challenge …

Motherhood is holding the puke bowl when your kid is sick, motherhood is sleeping upright in a chair with your colicky newborn, motherhood is looking at every damn worm on the schoolrun, motherhood is looking for mister ted under the bed at 3 am , motherhood is trying not to forget something in the shop while your toddler wants you to explain the universe to them, motherhood is eating leftover toastcrusts for breakfast and an entire bar of chocolate once the kids are in bed, motherhood is walking into a room and then trying to remember what you went in there for in the first place …
motherhood is messy and worrying and exhausing – motherhood is also rewarding and funny and liberating … but do we need some sort of award for it ? … women have been doing it for as long as humankind existed …

I am happy and so so so proud to be a mother but I dont need to post a picture to prove that … I have a friend who is a teacher and also suffers from a health condition … she is not a mother (yet) and her life is no less easy and no more difficult than mine … just different . We love and accept each other without judgement or expectations … we do not need to compare ourselves to each other because we are different from one another – and proud to be !
We need to stop taking ourselves and our lives so seriously … we are all but a tiny speck of dust in the vast vast vast realm of life … who cares if your baby is bottlefed or how many hours of screentime they are allowed … does it matter if someone “likes” a picture that makes you proud to be a mum or could it possibly be more important to go and hug them and tell them how proud you are instead ? Does it matter if someone “tags” you in a picture because they think you are a marvellous mum or does it not feel much better when your toddler is having a tantrum in a store but someone that walks by sais “we’ve all been there love… ” instead of judging you or rolling their eyes ?

I don’t really know why I am writing this .. it’s none of my business what other people post and i’m certainly not trying to tell anyone what they should or should not do … I just needed to get this off my chest I guess …

Motherhood is important … maybe it is the most important thing … after all – we all have mothers and every human life on this earth is affected by a mother in one way or another but I just feel that we need to recognise that motherhood comes in a million different colours – that it is not black and white and that it is impossible to display all of its facettes in just one picture … or 5 …

we are all proud, we are all good, we are all different, we are all worthy !

Mothers or not …

until next time …

ta da

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Family Meals

I’m a stay at home mum.
We are a bit of an old fashioned type of family where my husband goes out monday – friday earning the bacon and I cook it … every evening 6 o’clock sharp …

Craig is a wonderful cook but by the time he gets home from work and changes out of his work clothes there is not a lot of time left for him to cook.
The kids can’t eat too late as they are only 2 and 4 and frankly i’d rather he spends what time he has playing with them and not cooking dinner.

I grew up with a single working mum where meals eaten together as a Family were rare and often rushed.

One of the things people often remember most fondly about their childhood is having meals together as a family.
Sitting around a table and enjoying good food while connecting and hearing about each others lives can be such joy for a busy family.
I think it is important that children grow up with a decent cooked meal each day, that they learn to appreciate different foods and that everyone eats the same meal.
I never cook different meals for the children. I have adapted some of my recipes so that they are suitable for the whole family …
Cooking for children can be really tricky … I always thought that fussy eaters are due to over leanient parents … I have been proven wrong !!!

I have found out that apparently it is developmentally very common for children to go through a fussy phase somewhere between their 2nd and 4th birthday …
It’s supposedly an evolutionary thing where the natural suspicion towards unknown foods prevented young children from accidentally poisoning themselves …
So I think it is very important to be relaxed about mealtimes so that they in turn can be relaxed and open about food.
Our approach is that they don’t have to eat something if they don’t like it but they do have to at least try the food.
If they really don’t like it they are allowed to spit it out but they do have to try it everytime it is served to them…
Winry really does not like peas but I still put a few on her plate in case she decides to try them one day – you never know …
I do always make sure that there is at least one thing on the plate that I know they will eat – so if i cook peas I will make sure I also cook at least one more veg that I know winry will eat…
Most people probably do this but there you go …
My point is that everyone gets served the same meal and if on the odd occasion everything is rejected (because kids like to test boundaries) there is no alternative …
It might seem strict to some but to us as parents it is very important that our children learn to accept and enjoy a variety of food without dinner table tantrums.

Children go through phases of eating very little so it can be tempting to cook things they will definitely eat to make sure they don’t starve… In rare cases you can end up with a kid who will only eat jacket potatoes and beans or spaghetti which I would imagine is a habit that could prove tricky to reverse …

I’m a big believer in the fact that as long as they get offered a variety of nutritious food they will eat as much as they need. Even if that is shockingly little at times. And they will surprise you by trying stuff you never imagined they’d even look at.

Finances are also a very important point when it comes to mealtimes. Money is far from limitless and smart shopping and cooking goes a long way towards having value for money meals.
We hate throwing away food and the way I cook often involves scanning the fridge for what food needs to be eaten and then cooking something out of that. We also freeze a lot.

I realize however that a lot of mothers have to work and that time is a factor there …
I’m also very lucky in that my mother worked as a cook all though my childhood. I pretty much grew up in a Restaurant.
Specials of the day often used to be made from produce that needed using or faced throwing out – which is a big loss of profit of course so my mother became very skilled at making up dishes to avoid waste.
It’s a skill I acquired watching her and I realise that many people find this particularly difficult…

After talking to a few mums on the schoolrun I decided to start a little recipe page where I would share a few easy, cheap, kid-friendly recipes each week…
We all know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut and a little inspiration sometimes goes a long way…

So in this blog today I just wanted to cover a few basics to give those who are interested an overview of how I approach dinnertime …

The way we shop has become quite organised especially since the kids have come along, and we have found this to be very beneficial.
Once a month we do a big food shop. In this we try to cover all the basic foods for the month that don’t expire quickly.
This includes boxes of cereal, dry pasta and rice, a variety of meat – some of which we portion and then freeze, tins of chopped tomatoes and beans, nuts, lentils, stock cubes, condiments, crackers, frozen vegetables ect., household cleaners, toiletteries, nappies and so on.
Then once a week we shop for fresh foods that have a limited shelf life. That would be things like milk, bread, fruit, fresh vegetables, sandwich meats, cheese, yoghurt and eggs.

We mostly buy pretty basic foods that I then cook with. But of course we also buy things like fish fingers or the odd jar of ready made sauce for hectic days or days when I can’t be bothered to cook.
I also buy things like ready made pesto and sachets of cheese sauce because sometimes its just easier and less messy than making these from scratch…

Of course I don’t just cook from “scraps” – I love cooking traditional family dishes but I have now adapted quite a few of them so that they take less time to prepare or are more child friendly by hiding the odd vegetable they otherwise might not eat.

Lastly we do love to forage every now and again and we have a few lovely neighbours around us that let us have stuff like cooking apples, runner beans and courgettes for free. One of the first recipes I intend to share is my courgette soup which has become an absolute family favourite and the kids devour it.

Anyway … that should give you a pretty good idea for now and I do hope that some of you can benefit from it in some way or other …

Until next time…

Ta da

Life, Death and Legacy

Lydia Valeria Rust
born 29th January 1927 in Birnai, CSSR
passed 27th June 2015 in Weimar, Germany

Lydia was my Grandmother. She died last week at the age of 88. She was cremated and laid to rest yesterday.

I wish I could show you a picture of her but my old photoalbums are all currently in the loft.

It is very difficult to describe how I feel about the death of my nana. She led a tough life, worked very hard and went through a lot in her lifetime. She told me a few stories which I shall share with you in a moment.

But… the first thing I feel is guilt.
Guilt, because I saw my nana for the last time when I was 17 years old. That was 10 years ago.

My nana played a very special part in my childhood. My mother was a single parent from when I was 5 years old. At that time my middle brother was 13 years old, spending most of his time playing handball and listening to music and my oldest brother was 17 and just starting his apprenticeship.
My mother worked in a retaurant as kitchen assistant 6 days a week from 10 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to midnight, She worked christmas, the summer holidays … you get the point. Between the three of them they looked after me.
There was no one else close by to help as we had moved about 210 miles away from the rest of my mothers family only months before her marriage to my stepfather fell apart.

I didn’t have a bad childhood – I was fed and clothed, I went to a good school, had toys and friends and so on, but certain emotional things were missing. No one ever read me a bed time story or tucked me in at night or went to the park with me… They were there but they had their own interests or were rushed off their feet and since I was a very independant and confident child no one really worried about me. I often felt quite lonely…
My mother did the best she could but she was stretched thin and I dare say there were many occassions when she got her priorities slightly wrong – but who am I to judge ? – Parenting is so so hard and I can’t even begin to imagine having to do it on my own …
Anyway … My Grandmother came to visit us a couple of times a year for a few weeks at a time.She did it to help my mother out and when she around it was truly magical for me.
She. had. time.
She read to me, She tucked me into bed at night, she taught me how to cook and bake. She went for walks with me and taught me about birds and types of trees and showed me things to forage. She tried to teach me knitting, went over my homework with me and let me sit with her and talk while she mended jeans and hemmed trousers.
She did the things my mother had no time or energy for. And I loved her so so dearly for it.
She told me stories about the war and her youth. And I truly treasured the time I got to spend with her.

She was born right near the Elbe, one of the major rivers of central Europe. She was the youngest of 3 sisters and sadly orphaned at the age of 2. Her mother died of an illness that I cannot remember.
The 3 siblings were sent to their uncle who had a big farm and she often told me about her childhood there. How she used to watch the cows grazing, how they cut apples into rings and strung them out in front of the fire to dry so they would have apple chips all winter.
How their aunt and uncle were the wealthiest family within all the surrounding villages and yet her uncle contemplated every penny he spent.
When the war started she was a young woman and sent to train as a maid. She was an immaculate housekeeper all her life due to what she learned there as a young woman. She would show me how to fold laundry so that every item fitted into the shape of an A4 sized sheet of paper.
Her Laundry was always ironed (down to the underwear) and smelled of palmolive soap bars which she slid between the linen to make it smell fresh.
After her training she was sent to the mountains with a group of children as a sort of nanny to keep the children out of the bombing zones. She would tell me how she learned to ski and was trained in extensive first aid during her time there.

My Grandmother was a “Sudetendeutsche” which means she was of German ancestry. A while before the war many Germans were offered Land to cultivate in the CSSR and that is how she came to be born and raised there.
But there came a time during the second world war where the tables turned and those German Families were marched back to Germany with nothing but what they were able to carry on their backs. No money or valuable possessions apart from their wedding bands.
Her Uncle was a cobbler and she used to tell me how he took the sole of one of her boots’ heels to hide in it a necklace. I have this necklace now. It has a little hole in it where the nail went into the silver. I wore it as something old on my wedding day.

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So this is how she ended up in Weimar. I’m not sure about the exact journey. I can’t remember her telling me that part…
She was an avid gardener and worked as a shopkeeper throughout her adult life. She had 3 children by 3 different men.
Her eldest son, my uncle,Β  was as I believe fathered by a soldjer that she lost contact with…
My mother was her middle child. My mothers’ father died in a motorcycle accident.
She married the father of her youngest daughter and loved him very much although he was an alcoholic and made her life far from pleasant.

My mother bears a lot of resentment towards him and the choices her mother made during that perid of time, but I still remember my nana speaking fondly of him and his love of dancing and cake … He died of cancer in the end – long before I was born – so I never met him…

So you see – quite a life.
She bore 3 children. She has 8 grandchildren and to this day 7 great grandchildren with one more on the way πŸ˜‰

She was a strict but funny and patient woman – at least that’s how I know her. You had to take her with a pinch of salt and mind your manners in her presence but as I said she was very very dear to me.
I remember how she used to make me proper english tea with cream and sugar in a white china cup that had an orange and gold chinese style dragon on it.
She could cook the most delicious food – a lot of it had an eastern european twist … due to her heritage and upbringing. I remember dishes like bloff – a fried rice and beef dish, borscht – and beetroot and cabbage soup, Schinkenfleckel – a tagliatelle and ham dish served with apple sauce.
There were cakes and pastries that make my mouth water just thinking about. And I always remember how she used to take such great care when making them … She never wasted an ingredient or got in a flap – her baking was always calm and precise …
At christmas time she would bake a huge box full of all sorts of biscuits such as vanilla half moons and a type of jammy dodger and cinnamon stars and then keep the box under her bed.
When we came to her house she would wink at me and indicate for me to follow – I would silently follow her to the bedroom where she got out the box and let me choose a biscuit. I’d look at her and she’d wink at me again – encouraging me to take another …

Her bedroom was always ice cold – she never closed the window in there …

I’m sorry if this is somewhat longwinded – the more I type the more I remember (and well up) …

But I was talking about guilt before … so let me explain …
When I was 14 we moved back to Weimar. After living away for 9 years and a very sour end to a long term relationship – my mother made the decision to move back home. We then lived just down the road from my nana so we got to spend a lot of time with her again which I loved.
But a few years later she started to change. She developed very peculiar habits, got into trouble with debt which was very very unlike her and picked fights with family members. I was in the middle of my A-levels by then and had other things on my mind. So I became a bystander of an increasingly intense rift in my family …
As a family we got the impression that she had become resentful and bitter and started to spend less time with her to avoid arguments. My nana became very difficult to reason with and as a result my mother developed a very strained relationship with her. She was also still working very hard day and night and couldn’t handle the upset in her free time i suppose … so we pretty much almost stopped seeing her in the end.
Very shortly after this I met Craig and not after that I moved to England.

A year or so later, during a phone call with my mum she told me that my grandmother had been taken into a secure ward at the local hospiatal because she had been found wandering the streets aimlessly. She had been diagnosed with dementia and was assigned a social worker who recommended she be taken into a care home that specialised in dementia care.
This was a big shock for us but it also explained a lot of her behaviour in the past few years.
My mother went to visit her several times but she felt guilty and couldn’t handle seeing her mother in the state she was in. She was very well looked after from a care point of view but it was still heartbreaking for my mother to watch. Neither my brothers nor me ever went to visit her after this. I can’t quite explain why … I can only speak for myself but there was a lot of guilt there.
And then there was this part of me who wanted to remember her as she was – my nana who had time for me when I was little, who smelled of palmolive and made me english tea. I could not bring myself to go and see her – a shell of herself, I don’t even really want to think about it …
It makes me feel incredibly selfish and cowardly and guilty. I learned so much from her but could not muster up the courage to go and see her.

Shortly after I moved to England I began work in an elderly care home, I was there for about a year and I witnessed a lot of suffering, heartbreak and pain there and I just did not want to see her that way… Oh sweet denial and ignorance. Still everyone makes their own decisions and at least this way I have no distorted picture haunting me – i’ll always remember her as the person she was for me.
I have been thinking about her a lot since finding out about her death.

Death scares me … It petrifies me … It takes my breath away and makes me feel utterly depressed.
I considder myself a christian – I believe in christian values and am familiar with its teachings and stories…

I believe the bible to be a book full of metaphors intended to teach you how to live a good life. I identify with christian values such as kindness, humility, compassion and forgiveness. I suppose they are human values really…Β  Anyway – but as for God and life after death … I’m not so sure

The scary part about death for me is the fact that no one knows what happens afterwards. I’m a realist and I believe in science and so I fear that after death there is nothing. As such I shouldn’t be scared since I won’t be around to experience it… And yet – I’m not as arrogant as to believe that as humans we know everything and understand everything … and therefore I can’t be sure that there isn’t something after life and death that we don’t know about.
The fact is that no one knows …
We work hard all of our lives to achieve certain things… Some people want to make money, some want to see the world, some want to enjoy the journey and surround themselves with love and happiness, some want to live on in their children and childrens children, some don’t want children at all, some just do what is expected of them – but in the end what is it really all for ?
My Grandmother enjoyed old movies, She loved crime and thrillers – she was forever trying to figure out “whodunit”, she loved crosswords and sweets and enjoyed listening to music. She’s seen some remarkable things and achieved a lot in her life despite so much hardship.

I would like to think that her life was far from wasted, that all her hard work was worth it and her continued efforts paid off. My passion for cookery and baking certainly has an awful lot to do with her, She is the reason why storytime and tucking my children into bed at night is such an important part of my day.
I know from her how much it means to a child that someone is just there … interested in their little worlds, paying attention to their questions, letting them be part of your grown up world whenever possible, slowing down to their pace.
I loved her very much, She touched my life in a way she will never really understand, but if she is out there somewhere watching – Then I hope she is proud of what she achieved and I hope that she can smile with satisfaction at the ripples that her drop of life inspired …

I truly hope you rest in peace !

Until next time …

Ta da

We’re having a baby … again

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Ok so this was inevitable really … I’m not a person who likes to have regrets – if I want something I generally get it because I’m not afraid to go for it …
I deal with the consequences later … as long as I don’t have to one day say “I wish I had …”

The decision on whether or not to have another baby had been on our minds for a while … I kind of knew that I’d love another one, Craig was torn between having another baby or trying to get on the property ladder – and I’m totally with him on that one … but there’s always time to buy a house … there comes a point where having a baby is no longer an option for various reasons…
In my mind this is absolutely a decision that both would be parents have to be on board with – I know, because in my parents’ case it cost me a father. My mother wanted another child and my father made it very clear that he did not. She got pregnant anyway and voila here I am … but I have never met my father, not once … when my mum told him she was pregnant he was out of the picture.
Part of me thinks that’s fair enough but its not as simple as thatΒ  …

Anyway – no matter how much I wanted another baby – I knew it had to be a joint decision. So after a lot of conversations I just said to him “we talk about the pro’s and con’s over and over and the facts are not changing so here it is – I’d love another but I’m equally happy with two if that’s what you want – the ball’s in your court – you decide …”
This was last autumn and for several weeks – it may even have been months – he mentioned nothing.
Christmas morning 2014 there was a large squishy parcel for me under the tree … I unwrapped it to find a baby quilt … “let’s do it”

I hope you’re following me so far … but let me explain …
Winry and Sameth both have their own baby quilts, Winry used my old one from when I was a baby and we wanted her to keep it as a keepsake so we bought Sam is own when he was on the way …
At some point in November I was browsing the web for present ideas and christmas shopping when I came across this beautiful baby quilt … cream with chocolate brown bunnies all over …
I showed Craig and cooed over it for some time “If we had another wouldn’t this just be so lovely” “Mhmm – sure dear … bit expensive if you ask me” “well … yes … ok then … ”
This is the very quilt I found myself unwrapping and my little ticker skipped a beat or two … “what does this mean exactly? are you sure you want to try for another??????? (please, please be sure)” … “Yes I’m sure – I’ve taken my time to think about it and I really think we should try”
I’ve always loved his soppy side πŸ˜‰

Now as I have mentioned before I have a condition called PCOS which made it very difficult to fall pregnant the first time – we tried for Winry nearly two years – one year of which I was on medication.
As soon as we had Winry we knew we wanted another so I started taking medication again when she was about 10 months old and I fell pregnant with Sameth 3 months later – about two weeks after we officially started trying again …

This time I did not want to go down the medication route – I did not want to go through the side effects again and just thought that if we were meant to have another then it would have to happen on its own …
We stopped contraception at the end of January and I did not expect to fall pregnant anytime soon, given the facts. Yes Sameth happened incredibly quickly but I was on medication after all right ?! …

Friday morning, 18th of April. I walked Winry to nursery … on the way back I had to stop and breathe – all of a sudden I felt awfully sick and thought I was going to throw up on the side of the path …
I got suspicious straight away and as soon as I got home I did a pregnancy test … When the test showed up positive 3 minutes later I went into blind panic …
I was so sure that I wanted another one and now I was pregnant and just sat there in a cold sweat panicking … morning sickness, heartburn … Labour … oh my god labour – why would I do this to myself again … sleepless nights, teething, school run with two toddlers and a freakin baby ! Was I mad ? – why on earth had Craig not stopped me in my clearly mad brooding dilusions ???!!!
SO here we are now … no going back …

Thank goodness I have a wonderful husband who is irrationally positive and can see the good in every situation – He was of course over the moon – his only worry being whether our car will hold 3 car seats (it does not … sigh) …
I had quite nasty morning sickness for the next 6 weeks and did not adjust very well to the idea of being a mother of 3 … Hormones and two crazy kids to run around after in the midst of floor renovations will do that to youΒ  …

I’m 14 weeks pregnant now and truthfully happy and excited about our next adventure though. I already can not wait to hold a warm, squidgy baby again – with this incredible newborn smell, the first smiles, the tinyness of their fingers and toes, the unbearable rush of love and getting to know a completely new little human all over again …

But I am scared – my two are hard work all on their own – nevermind a newborn to add to the mix. The sleeplessness is mind numbing and after suffering postnatal depression following my second pregnancy – suffering from it again is a major point of worry for me – I can not describe how awful and devestating it was and how much I never ever want to feel like that again!

But I look at Winry and Sameth and am so excited – They have already taught me so much about patience and kindness and about acceptance and love … so much love ! They are incredible individulas and amaze me every day ! (they also drive me crazy every day)
Having children is very humbling, it makes you slow down and take yourself off that pedestal, It teaches you that life is incredibly short and precious.

I have absolutely no doubt that there will be moments (probably quite a lot of them) where I will think “Oh dear – what have I done ?!” but I look at Winry … She’s not even 4 … all she really needs me for now is to clip her nails and tie her shoes. In a practical sense.
Of course I am still very much the center of her world and every question is directed at me, every hurt reported to me. I am her comfort and her lifeline. But she is so very independent – where have those 4 years gone and what has happened to my little baby ?!
Sameth is not far behind her and the two years since his birth have seemed to go even faster … Honestly – blink and you miss it!

I remember sitting awake with them at night trying to get them settled at 3am and time seemed to drag on and on forever. You wonder over and over if this relentless and unforgiving demand will ever stop…
And the next thing you know you have been sitting at the computer for over an hour typing a blog while your two children have been playing in their room, making up games, arguing and giggeling and it is just plain scary how quickly those years have passed in the end …

Who knows how I will cope and what life with 3 will be like (I’m already dreading 3 kids with a tummy bug – I’ll need to buy some more plastic bowls) – I find myself looking out for families with 3 children in supermarkets or parks and trying to work out if the parents look crazy at all … but they generally seem very calm and normal to me so I’m sure we will be fine …
I can’t help feeling a little greedy sometimes … with two beautiful children – we were sorted really … they each have their own room, we have a routine and all the practicalities are fairly straight forward … a third child will no doubt throw a spanner in the works on the odd occassion …
But then again – you only get one shot at life and there are times where you just need to throw caution to the wind and listen to your heart …
And I am so so glad that we did … no regrets … we can’t wait for you little one πŸ™‚
Until next time …
ta da …

My Soundtrack for you

It’s been a while since I had a chance to write. Winry started Nursery this January and we are preparing for a bit of upheaval due to some renovation work going on in our home during the first half of this year.
So, to say it has been chaotic would be an understatement, but it’s all good progress and the stress is mainly positive.

Anyway – I have been listening to a fair bit of music with the kids just recently. Since the days are so gray we don’t quite feel brave enough to face the outdoors most days.

Music can be a real mood lifter and I have briefly written about it before, but I would like to share something a little different with you.

Music is part of just about every persons life and as versatile as human race itself. There is music for every mood with every imaginable content. One of the first senses we develop is hearing – we can hear sounds in our mothers womb from around 22 – 26 weeks gestation, and when we are born we can recognise some of those sounds and simple melodies we have heard.
Music touches our emotions and affects us in a variety of ways. Mothers often sing to their babies to soothe them when they are upset. Shopping centers may play music to put shoppers in a good mood and encourage them to spend money …
I could write about music and its effects on the human being for months and not come close to scratching the surface of the content on this topic…

But what I want to do is share with you some music that is of significance to myself and I hope you enjoy it.

First of all – my children


this song just makes me feel happy and makes me think of my children so much.


when I was pregnant with winry I used to put the headphones of my I-pod on my belly and play music to her … whenever this song played she used to kick very strongly and rhytmically – i’ll never forget it!


This was winry’s favourite song as a little girl – the minute this song played on her daddies phone she used to start bopping. I will never forget watching my tall hunky husband dance with our fragile little girl in the morning sunshine to this song – the way she would snuggle her head into his neck and just relax and smile – so utterly content…


I found out I was pregnant with Sameth on a Saturday morning – 1st of December 2012. I took the pregnancy test at 5am in the morning because I just could not wait any longer to confirm what I already knew…
I went back to bed and told Craig. We were too excited to go back to sleep so we decided to listen to some music to calm down – this was the first song that played and I will never forget that moment.


This is sameths favourite song – he starts dancing as soon as he hears it and there has been many a time in the last year or so when Winry, Sameth and I have been dancing in the lounge to this song … happy days !!!

I am sure more songs will be added to this list throughout my childrens life but for now these are the ones that instantly make me picture and relive those memories…

My husband

Music has played a big part in our relationship and we don’t really have “a song” but more of a playlist…
Here goes:


One of the first songs craig played for me … Our relationship was long distance for over a year when we first met and this song means a lot …


another song that really brings back memories of that time.


Craig went to china for 6 months just after we got engaged due to a work project and we were apart for 4 of those months … a very low point for me … I probably listened to this tune 10 000 times during these 4 months…


I walked down the aisle to this song with a big lump in my throat and very weak knees – good job I was wearing flats …


our first danceΒ  – and following – the video of us dancing to it πŸ˜‰


craigs song for me


my song for craig


You know why hunny … just … love…

For some very spcial people

martin & anja – our first “grown up” holiday and many hours in the car ….

Anja – you know why I chose these songs – you truly are the best friend – ever – if there were an oscar for “best friend” You’d win it without a doubt!!

My two big brothers

The first musical influence in my life came from my two big brothers, they bought me my first few CDs and let me listen to their music.
Xavier Naidoo always reminds me of them – they both own CD’s of his’ and listen to his music … at least they used to … He is one of my favourite german artists and that is probably at least partly down to them.
The first concert I ever went to was Xavier Naidoo – it was my 18th birthday present from my best friend … The following song reminds me of my brothers because they are both very fiercely protective when it comes to family.
They are loyal to the bone and for them blood will always be thicker than water. They would do anything for their children and I know that they will always be there for me if ever I need them.
I love them more than words can say and am so very proud of my two big brothers!!!

there is also this one – one of my favourite films – every person needs a big brother if you ask me …

There is also a song that never fails to make me blub… Life is short people – fill it with laughter, tears, emotion, memories, love and music…Β Β Β Β 

I’ll leave you all with this one … It reminds me a bit of my father in law Kevin, and he will know why – dont’cha kev πŸ˜‰

Until next time …

Ta da

(Anti) Social Media

First of all Merry Christmas to anyone who reads this – I wish you a wonderful festive period with good food, peace, health and joy and hope that you can share it with the ones you love.

Christmas is a time of indulgence for many people out there and quite often followed by a fresh start in the new year with a selection of new years resolutions.
Some of the ever popular ones include giving up smoking or drinking, going on a diet or starting a new exercize regime.
A new years resolution is generally speaking an attempt to give up a bad habit of sorts. I have two bad habits that I would like to give up. The first one is everything relating to sugar and I have tried to give it up on numerous occasions without success.
The other one has only become an issue recently and I am pretty certain that I am not the only person out there suffering from it – social media overload…

Now, facebook, twitter and whatever else there is have become integral parts of social interaction these days and there is a lot of good to be said about social media.
However, since becoming a mother I have found myself spending more time on my phone – in particular on facefook that I care to admit …

During the past summer I have spent a lot of time in the garden with my children but since the weather has become less palatable we have been spending a lot of time indoors.
As I am a stay at home mother my interaction with adults is also somewhat limited…
So when all my immediate housework is done and I sit with my children to play I find myself picking up my phone and just quickly checking if anything interesting has popped up on facebook…
I flick through Interesting Upworthy posts while Mr Tumble is rambling on in the background…
I hang up the washing and just quickly check my emails before joining my kids in a game of Lego…
And it doesn’t stpp there … The kids are tucked into bed and I browse through Amazon or scroll through the news to wind down, while my husband engages in similar phone related activities for a good half hour, before we finally glance up and pay attention to each other…
I wake up in the morning, grab my phone to look at the time and get sidetracked by my notifications, which means I end up either ignoring my bladder for 5 minutes while I check the latest occurances or taking my phone to the toilet with me …

What started of as an interesting and exciting new technology a fewe years ago has become an invasion of personal interaction…

I don’t know if I am a particularly bad example but as I am sitting here putting all this down in writing I am feeling rather pathetic …

All of this really hit home yesterday when my daughter was playing with her toy phone on the sofa as I asked her to come to the kitchen for lunch. She kept staring at her toy and said “I wont be a minute Mummy I’m just reading something quickly”
You may find this endearing or funny but I was actually rather ashamed of myself…
Children mirror their parents behaviour, the way you go about your daily mundane activities – it all shapes and teaches them in countless ways each and every day.
A Parent is the ultimate rolemodel (bad or good) and no expression is more true than “they do as you do and not as you say” !

I have noticed that my little Girls behaviour has somewhat deteriorated since she has not been able to spend as much time outside and the ignorant and lazy voice in my head put it down to lack of excercize and fresh air…
And while that may be part of it, the more realistic and honest voice in me admits that it is much more likely to be a lack of parental attention…
When children act out of character, are misbehaving or overly emotional it is very often down to a lack of attention …

I am always around my children and if they need anything at all I am right there to respond to their needs – be it changing a nappy, retrieving a lost toy from behind the sofa or kissing better the latest bump.
But I have to admit that I look at my little palm sized screen a lot more than I should, and at their chubby cheeks and clever little fingers a lot less than I ought to …
Winry is a chatterbox if ever there was one and she literally never stops talking from the minute she wakes up to the minute she falls asleep…
It’s exhausting and I can’t help but tune out her babble every now and again but I realise now that she needs me to pay better attention to what might seem insignificant to me at the time so that I can help her make sense of the world around her and all of her overwhelming emotions.

It is never too late to change…
And in this case it is not too early either…
So I decided not to wait until new years day and deleted my facebook app on my phone this morning. This way I will be much less tempted to “just have a quick look” and end up getting stuck reading some article for the next 10 minutes …
I have thought about doing this a few times before but never actually went through with it… So this is a concious decision to limit my facebook activity to my computer during their naptime or in the evening.
I know this will have a positive affect on all of us and I am very much looking forward to spending christmas with my family and not with my phone πŸ˜‰

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Until next time …

Ta da

Seasons

Hello again…

I have been trying to upload a blog for what feels like an eternity now but we have had major internet issues … oh the worries of the modern world … anyway it seems to be fixed now so I am once again able to share my thoughts and images with those who are interested πŸ˜‰ yay !!

So here goes …

As you know I keep insisting that my favourite season of all is autumn … It is and always has been – for all the reasons I have listed (and no doubt will continue to list) on numerous occasions…

Every season has its perks and downsides of course – but since moving out into the countryside and having a garden and fields right on our doorstep I have really come to appreciate summer – especially when the kids are concerned …

There is nothing better than a bit of dirt and fresh air to occupy the smalls and tire them out … πŸ˜‰

I never really used to like summer in the past … it’s too hot and because of my size I have always rather prefered winter clothes that cover up as opposed to summer clothes that reveal – if you know what I mean … πŸ˜‰

But especially in the last month , while we were plagued by a typical winter virus, and greyish wetness of the british winter, I have felt very sad that the summer is over … I have tremendously enjoyed the outdoors and am rather not looking forward to the cold, wet, grey, mudd and dark of the coming winter months which always seem to last forever and a day …

And so I felt the need to dig out some of my favourite pictures of the summer just to make myself feel a little bit warmer and brighter πŸ˜‰

And of course I wanted to spread the love and share them with you …

That’s all for today really – Enjoy πŸ˜‰

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Until next time …

Ta da

Music to my ears

I have been struggeling with my mood these last few weeks – It’s partly the weather that always does this to me when it turns from golden october to grey november …

But when I say struggeling with my mood I also mean to say struggeling with the image I have of myself and that has little to do with the weather…
You can be your own worst critic and find all the flaws that truthfully – no one else cares about.

I saw this picture of Kim Kardashian which is currently receiving a LOT of coverage (which is kind of the point I guess):

kim

And it baffles me. Maybe I am a little bit jealous… on second thoughts actually I’m not – can you imagine trying to find a jeans to fit that kind of disproportion of waist and butt ?! … πŸ˜‰
But mainly I am incredibly concerned … why does a picture like this need to be publicized in the way it is …
In my opinion a picture like this belongs in a porn magazine … I apologize if this opinion offends anyone but really ?!

It concerns me because it is one of a thousand pictures like it, that my children will undoubtedly get to see while they are growing up…
Will my “You are beautiful exactly the way you are and don’t need to measure your self worth by your dress size or the number of likes you get on a selfie” carry enough weight to counteract the images they will be bombarded with day in day out …

How do I teach them to respect and cherish their amazing, beautiful bodies when every tabloid, advertisement and latest pop star makes them feel like they have to change themselves to fit into the image that society tries to force upon them ?
How can I convincingly convey to them to love their perfect imperfect bodies when I can’t even seem love my own ?!

I get incredibly frustrated with myself because I am so very lucky with all that I have – and yet my mood gets affected in such a drastic way when I have a bad body image day …

But It is such a difficult thing to escape – woven into every fibre of the fabric of our culture…
While at the same time it is also inarguably the most unimportant …

Does it really matter how you look ?
Surely life is far too short to be chasing a level of perfection very very few people will ever achieve without the help of photoshop or a scalpel …

My children look the most adorable to me when they have dirt on their faces, windswept hair and rosy cheeks…
My husband is never more beautiful than when his hair is a mess and he smiles at me cheekily over his cup of tea on a weekend morning…
The fondest memories I have of my friends are when we were doing silly stuff and laughing until our bellies hurt…

I don’t remember the day my hair, clothes and make up were perfect and I felt beautiful – and there have been plenty of them don’t get me wrong … I don’t constantly feel sorry for myself or drown in self loathing …
But while looking good may sometimes seem important to me in the present – it is not the stuff that really matters when you look back …

I do however remember the day I got caught out in a thunderstorm with craig and we got soaked through to the skin…
I do remember lying in bed watching him dance with our baby girl in the sunshine that came streaming in through the window…
I do remember the evenings spent with my best friend in pyjamas watching a movie and talking and laughing…

I think you get my point …

Our bodies are beautiful not despite the imperfections but because of them …
The wrinkles we have around our eyes are a mark of our characters and part of who we are – do we laugh or frown a lot ?
The stretchmarks on our post partum bellies a memento of the life we created, carried and brought into the world …
The scars on our knees trophies of the efforts we went through to score that winning goal…
The grey hair a gentle reminder that nothing lasts forever and moments are there to be cheriched not wasted …

I believe that out of all our Friends and Family members I am probably one of, if not the heaviest … and ironically that can make me feel very sad and small sometimes…
But what do I achieve by dwelling on the negative things about myself … What does anyone achieve by trying to change their appearance…
As I said before – life is too short … I know it is totally cliche but a police officer could knock on your door tomorrow telling you a beloved family member got killed in a car crash… You could take your child to a doctor for a headache and have him or her diagnosed with cancer … It’s a glum way of looking at things but it can also act as a reality check …
There is an awful lot of people in the world that don’t have the first idea where their next meal is coming from and yet here we are – the “developed world” worrying about whether or not our foundation matches our skin tone…

The music industry (amongst others) have a big part to play in what aspirations our children have and who their idols end up being … and there is a vast amount of bad influences to be found here … with swear words, objectifying women, twerking …
(There’s also some with a great message conveyed in a not so great way – atrocious language still irritates me no matter how great the cause… and a bitch is a female dog – not a woman …)

But there is also some really great ones…
Music speaks to people – especially young people – like few other media sources, and the simple fact that these gems exist gives me a little bit of confidence that not all is lost yet …

I came across these today and they were a great mood lifter … the last one is actually a parody of the second one but I think they both make a very valid point πŸ˜‰


I have no idea what music my little ones will be listening to one day but I do hope they won’t have to listen to it to make them feel good about themselves – because they could not be anything other than perfect, no matter what … in my humble opinion πŸ˜‰

Some perfect imperfect photographs to round things off :

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DSCN0719

IMG_1974

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Until next time…

Ta da

2 years in 4 photoshoots

Being a first time mum can sometimes feel like a sick joke …
Before having Winry I had rolled my eyes with annoyance when my brother tip toed around the house and whispered as my niece was taking her nap.
I was never going to be like that – the kid would just have to get used to sleeping through noise, because really – who does that to themselves?! …

Fast forward several years … Winry had been awake for what felt like months, I had finally gotten her to sleep – my back was screaming with pain from carrying around a deadweight 5lbs baby.
So I closed her door with the utmost care, cringed at the noise the bus made driving past outside and went straight to the living room to unplug the phone …
This became common practice and we did not have an answering machine … So as a lucky coincident would have it I missed about 8 calls over the months from a Sure Start Lady trying to invite me to a baby massage class…
I finally went with Winry in April 2014 when She was already 6 months – all the other babies were much younger – including little Arthur and his lovely mummy Jessica …

We got talking and I found out that Jessica was a Photographer …
We kept in touch through Facebook and I loved the Images she posted, so we booked our first shoot with her on Winry’s first Birthday in October 2012.
It was so lovely and relaxed, the images were so natural and vibrant and really portrayed our real personalities…

Photographs are Keepsakes like no other, they capture a precious moment in time, they have attatched to them so many memories, sentiments and emotions. When you find a good Photographer you can look at an Image of yourself and cherish every Imperfection. See yourself through someone elses eyes and grasp the fragility and magic of Life, not caring about a double chin or muddy shoes.

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Babybump-26

We had a studio shoot when Winry was two months old with a popular infant photographing chain and sometimes I look at the pictures and they don’t really look like her… The artificial light, the awkward pose… They are lovely to look at but they evoke very little emotion …

So when we wanted more pictures we went back to her of course …
We had 3 more shoots – a Bump Shoot in July 2013 when I was very pregnant with Sameth, a Newborn Shoot in September 2013 when Sameth was 3 weeks old and most recently a lovely Family Shoot in October 2014.
This will be our last shoot for the forseeable future as Jessica is taking on her own personal journey to halfway across the world…

So this is a thank you (for now) for our wonderful Images and for capturing us in this gorgeous natural way – your work is most treasured by us !!!

I dont want to write too much in this post but rather share some of my most favourite pictures. Show how our family has grown and developed through her work πŸ˜‰
I love every Image – You are one talented Lady with the most mezmerising personality πŸ™‚

Enjoy…

( all Photographs taken by Jessica from http://www.photosbyjessica.co.uk/index.html )

3 Family Portraits

Winry-108

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RebeccaCraigWinrySameth-65

Taking steps

Winry-94

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Mummy and her Girl

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Babybump-5

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Mummy and her Boy

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Siblings

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Sameth 3 weeks and 13 Months

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Winry 1 year and 3 Years

Β Winry-40

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Close Knit

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How 3 Became 4

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Daddy with Winry 12 months and Sameth 13 Months

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This is us 4

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My whole World

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Until next time …

Ta da