Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Nesting or compensating?

The first three months if pregnancy were exhausting. I became very intimately acquainted with the sofa - as a dozed my way through the weeks. By the time I  had walked that dog for an hour or so I seriously limited energy until the school run prompted the next bout of frenetic activity.

After three months the toll on the house was apparent. I'm not particularly tidy but, believe it or not, I have my standards, and things were starting to get me down. Besides when Beanie is born we will need to shoe horn in somewhere for his cot and his stuff (babies do have stuff, and alarming amounts for such little people).

Is this what nesting is all about? Being so exhausted that you can't do the housework until it can be put off now longer, then you have to blitz through the backlog? 

Things I have learnt while I have been blitzing the clutter:

-I am not a tidy person, but that does not make me a lesser mortal, I'm just an optimist and see the good side of things and can mentally airbrush away a few rough and ready details.

- I really don't wear 5 inch heals that often but I know they are almost irresistible (particularly when in the sales). I haven now taken up every spare nook in my room housing my expanding collection, and this must stop. 

- I was skint in the Pickle's baby years for a reason, a wardrobe full of Monsoon fairy embroidered jeans and delicate cotton dresses was not essential to her well being - but, boy, she did look cute!

- I used to believe that style is timeless. Looking at the Mumster this weekend in her once stylish culottes and 'Lady Di' high necked blouse,  I have had a rethink. Time to purge my wardrobe and make way for a little space. 

- Quentin Crisp says "After four years, you don't notice the dust." I am not going to test that theory.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Back in the Beginning

This is a really hurried post for Flash Back Friday. I love the posts and don't want to miss sharing this prompt.

I started this blog mainly thanks to Josie's writing workshop on Sleep is for the Weak (you can see the badge for her workshop. So often when I read a blog I noticed that it was linked to the workshop - either I am slow on the uptake or I just tend to do things my way rather than being a 'joiner'. Anyway, I was inspired and I set up this blog.

Looking back to the beginning I was pondering life at 40 and the impending big birthday. This is a pretty terrible photo, but it does say so much. It is me at our 90th Birthday birthday party (I was 40 and the Hubster was 50) being a friend and mother. The Pickle looked as if she needed a little Mummy attention, so I was carrying her while friends eat, drank and got very merry.

Three cheers to inspirations blogs, friends, family and all that make my life so wonderful. It has been great sharing the journey and it is not over yet.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Picture this Blog!

I have been flummoxed by Tara's Gallery Prompts for a few weeks now - but this week I was not prepared to be beaten again! The theme is: My Blog

My blog - is about family life, and musings about it. Life here is not all neat and tidy, but it is almost always fun. You can see the Pickle, grinning from ear to ear, wearing her hat back to front (she makes her own style statements) and her Daddy's paint splattered fleece. We are sitting in the garden, eating yummy home made food.

It may be a little rough around the edges, but it is full of home made love and laughter - that is my Pretty Good Life!

If you want to check out any more of this week's inspired posts, pop along to The Gallery

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Perfect Day

Having one of those simple but perfect days! We had a picnic in the most amazing field - a phone picture can not begin to show the flowers. There is a carpet of Snake's head fritillary - my favourite flowers. Up until a few years ago I had only ever seen small clumps planted from expensive garden centre bought bulbs, so imagine being lead to a field where wild fritillary stretch out into the distance. We sat by a river eating our sandwiches, watching the butterflies and listening to the birds - and as we were taken by a botanist - we also munched on a natural salad of ransoms and other random leaves that I normally dig up and throw straight into the compost.

Just imaging a hundred or so years ago fields across the country were bursting with flowers and wildlife like this one - but for now we just felt lucky to have been able to step by in time and enjoy the simple life!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Flash Back the beginning

So pleased that Karin of Cafe Bebe has given this wonderful prompt to have a Flash Back Friday.

The Pickle is now 4 1/2 and I can barely remember what the early months were like, except the profound love I felt for her that over came exhaustion and the whole nappy glamour. Well, Beanie is due in August so I had best start remembering...

Wasn't she cute. Can't wait to meet Beanie!

Have a lovely weekend

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A reflection on Mother's Day

I have been reading the most amazing range of responses to motherhood and mother's day. I was particularly inspired by Carol at Dance without Sleeping piece on 'Mothers Day is not always Special' and by Vegemitevix's 'What kind of a Mother are you'

With Vix there were many wry observations about parenting; she compares her 'band aid and hugs' parenting style with that of her Mother, and the modern tendency to molly coddle. How can I compare myself with my Mother who was notable only in her absence? I feel that I am bungling along with no role models other than common sense and what I have picked up about psychology. Is it easier to spoon feed as a way of feeling that you are being a good parent,   rather than allowing children their wings?

Carol talks heart breakingly about the absent mother and feeling alone and abandoned. My Mum never strictly speaking abandoned me, she was always around but never in my presence. She was so busy being busy that my first memory my parents was asking who were the lovely people were giving me such nice presents at Christmas. I can't blame my Mum - I believe that she genuinely did her best, just she had no idea or capacity for being maternal. When we were a little older (maybe six) I recollect going downstairs and diving into her bed; she would be giving my Dad a manicure while he slept and she was totally bemused by our presence, but at least she did not just shoo us away.

At least I can't fall into the trap of outdoing my own Mother's style of mothering - the Pickle has already had many more hugs in a week that my Mum gave me in a lifetime. I love the idea of being a Band Aid and Hugs Mum - but it is still early days; the Pickle is just 4 1/2 and Beanie a bump.

Carol suggests 'not to think about the past and focus on the future' I can't guarantee I'll be that reflective. In the heat of the moment I'll be bimbling along, clueless as to what to do - but we will all be having great fun (and normally mess) doing it.

Mother Love

Another Gallery post - and I was in doubt if I could deliver as my main computer was down and my camera is having battery issues. I originally discounted this picture then it became the perfect post.

There in the centre is my Mother in Law - and she is an inspiration. She has five amazing children and not one went off the rails, or is anything other than a caring and fun individual. Those five children have become excellent parents and grandparents. She could not have done this alone, by her side for 60 years was Leon, her husband my father in law. Together they created a warm loving family that enhance the lives of so many others.

The photo was taken at the Pickle's birthday party - and interestingly one person who is not there is my Mumster. She initially accepted the invitation but then declined when she realised that she had an important bridge game to attend the following day.

So I propose a toast, to amazing Mums and the support and love of Dads, if they to it right the love can last for generations!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Paris and Disneyland - We did it!

I lived in Paris twenty years ago, so it was strange going back en famille. Back then I stumbled out of the pub or clubs to go to college, fun but part of my past! So I was off on holiday, but it needed some research, as not only was I going with an imaginative and lively four year old but the focus of the trip was the Mumster's 70th Birthday.

Finding a hotel was not that easy - child friendly, Granny friendly and available. Availability was the first issue, as but seems that family rooms book up early. Eventually settled on a small, boutique style hotel near where I once lived. Parc Monceau became our refuge at the end of each site seeing day - we could escape from the Granny circus, and swing on the swings, explore the worlds inside the bushes and even ride on the ponies at the weekend.

I researched all about what to do with a toddler buying special guide books. As it happened my tour guiding skills were demanded by the Mumster and apart from escaping for a delicious ice cream on the Isle Saint Louis we did not have the luxury of making our own decisions. Having said that, I would still recommend the book with maps, as we had so much fun before we left shuffling through the cards making plans together.

My favourite morning was the one spent with just my Godmother, the Pickle and Hubster. We wondered to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. They had an Animal exhibition, so we saw an antique frock coat made for a monkey, a life size brass rhino that served as a cocktail cabinet and other wild and wacky things. They we took a lift to the top floor and the 1920s and then we ambled down , moving a decade forward towards the present with each floor, seeing room sets and furniture typical of the period. Half way down there was a large picture window the perfectly framed the best aerial view over to the Eiffel tower.

 Paris is expensive! The Euro is not at a favourable rate and where ten years ago you could get a decent meal for under a tenner, this time I was really quite shocked by the prices and, at times, the quality of the food. How has this happened?

After four days it was on to Disneyland. By booking via Eurostar rather than Disney I saved hundreds of pounds, so that put me in a good mood before we started. The Pickle chose the hotel, the Sequoia Lodge based on the picture of the swimming pool. From the maps it is not so clear. but having  visited I would say that with the exception of the seriously posh Disneyland Hotel - all the hotels seem to be a similar walk away. Sequoia Lodge was great at times, particularly down time drinking fruit juice cocktails in the bar which almost helped us forget the holiday camp bustle at meal times.

The Pickle loved Disney - we bought her a book in Paris so she could stick in pictures and sketch in. At Disneyland it became an autograph album. The place was one large retail opportunity - it could have been hell! We decided to give her a budget to spend at on our last day; then rather get increasingly wound up ever time she got wide eyed over a souvenir popcorn holder, another Princess dress, a helium balloon or yet another treat from one of the hallowed shops we were herded past we could chat about it and say how she could it on her shopping list to see what she could afford from her budget on the final day. Yes, she bought some total c**p but she is still enjoying playing with them - even if they might appall those with Conran-esque taste!

I loved the blossom, the magnolia trees and being able to escape the Parks for the swimming pool. There were oases of value such as Cafe Mikey for a coffee, where meeting the characters in a near empty restaurant was enhanced by the great keepsakes all children got regardless of whether they ordered a glass of water or a full on  sugar or cholesterolfest. I was born with rose tinted specs - and things do seem to be fantastic until I finally get thrown off equilibrium. The Pickle's delight was enough to keep me on my happy cloud! The Hubster was more rational, he awared it 9 out of 10 for Pickle satifaction, but 2 out of 10 for adults. Yes, it was a bit like Butlins with gold cards, but the Pickle is already lobbying for a return visit!