Tag: blogs

June Chat with a Dad: Grant of Looking for the Postman

Tell us something about yourself, your blog and your little ones:

Historically, I’ve been involved mostly with the music industry. I worked with bands and artists doing remixes. I also worth with MTV, New Line Cinema, Electronic Arts and toured / DJ’d with countless bands. I still dabble with music, writing original tunes and soundtracks for short film.
In recent years, I started blogging. Initially, it was observations about online competitions. It eventually expanded into a blog on family life, told with tongue firmly in cheek. If you’re looking for advice on how to be a better person while nurturing your family, then I’m probably not the best place to visit. If, however, you are interested in humorous views on things that Dads encounter on a daily basis, you should drop by.

My family blog pieces are inspired by my Mrs, Emma, and our combined total of four kids. Rachel (my step-daughter) is about to turn 18. Jack is 13 and lives with his mum. Jenny & Eve are 4 and 3 and could power a blog by themselves with their antics.

dsd-04

What were their birth stories like?

I’ve written in depth about the births of Jenny, Eve & Jack. (Given that Rachel was born eleven years before I knew Emma, it would have been extremely awkward if I had been there!)

 Jack was born C-section. He went breach at the last possible moment and has been just as contrary for his entire life!

 Jenny went back-to-back and the docs were hanging around with an emergency C-section kit but didn’t get to use it. Emma got two horrible cuts and out she came.

Eve was trouble. Emma’s waters broke after 30 weeks. She was hospitalised because of risk of infection, but managed to hold on for another 5 weeks. Trooper. Eve was 5lb 5oz and wouldn’t eat. She dropped down to 5lbs and went to a specialised ward before she changed her mind and decided to eat after all. She was a long baby. Purple and not an ounce of fat on her.

What you wish about being a dad before becoming one?

I wish I’d been better with money before I had kids. I also wish I had learned about woodworking and suchlike so I could have made things for my kids – cots, beds etc. I didn’t appreciate things like that when I was young. Nevermind. There’s still time to make them things as they grow up!

How do you manage your time between work, blogging and fatherhood?

I try my best to write blog posts when the kids aren’t there. I’ve got to be in a particular mood to write. When I get into the zone, I can write quickly, but that level of concentration just isn’t possible with the kids around, nor is it fair to expect them to be quiet so I can blog!

How do you manage child-free time with your wife/partner?  Do you have date nights?

We cook for each other all the time. We do try, on a Saturday, to wait until the kids have gone to bed and then we cook something special. Even better is a date night where we go out for a meal. It’s all about sharing good food with the person you love!

11703296_10203207191339884_8426174138229633756_o

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Jenny’s comments have me in stitches. She just waffles on and comes out with gems. Age 3, when talking about her little sister, she said “Eve is just an egg with shoes on”. When she saw a black and white cow, she described it as a “horse panda”.

11221420_10203076119503170_3222206582352052819_o

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

The best things about fatherhood are the relationships you develop. Watching my kids grow, and sharing that with my wife. Experiencing things through their eyes and watching as they discover new experiences. I spent almost all my time at Disneyland Paris watching my kids, wide-eyed, and loving it.

If there’s anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I dislike:
- being woken during the night.
- when the kids finish their dinner and it’s something I like so I can’t have the leftovers.
- arguments & having to put a child on the naughty spot.
- when a child hurts themselves, falls or cries.
- discovering that one of the girls has shoved nappy pants in with the laundry but only after its been through the wash and exploded.
- nits.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Yes! I’ve been self-employed and worked from home before. If I could be a combination of a self-employed writer / composed and stay at home dad, then that would suit me perfectly.

Best advice you’ve received about fatherhood?

Not advice, per se, but I do take inspiration from other parents. Everybody remembers their own parents and makes their own judgements on what they remember. So, there’ll be things you want to retain from your own parents and some things you want to do differently.
 Out with that, my role model would be Emma’s father, Ray. He’s so patient with the children, self-less and generous. He just immediately says ‘yes’ whenever anything is asked of him and always says the right thing.

dsd-03

If you could give yourself advice before becoming a dad, what would it be?

Advice?
 Um, don’t worry about your kid’s behaviour too much. At a young age, everything is a phase.
 Be patient. If something is stressing you out, that’s your reaction to a situation. Since the reaction is yours, you can control it. Take a moment, a deep breath and then re-evaluate. 
Remember that your kids only get one childhood. Do everything to make it the best that you can.

Thank you so much Grant!

If you enjoyed getting to know more about the dad behind the blog Looking for the Postman, do check out his blog for more of his musings.

You can also follow him over at Facebook, twitter, G+ and Youtube

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat wit a mum, do come and have a read.

April Chat with a Dad: Danny of Danny UK, the Bearded Blogger

I have been following Danny’s blog for some time now but have only sort of gotten to know him since joining the blogger groups on Facebook and I must say he truly is a genuinely nice guy, especially since he has kindly answered and helped with some technical questions about blogging.  And no, I’m not writing this all down just because it’s April Fools Day, definitely not a prank! 😉

So come and have read and find out more about the dad behind the blog, Danny UK, the Bearded Blogger.

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

Me?  I’m a dad-of-four living in Essex in love with a mum-of-tea living on the Wirral.  The blog? It’s been around in various forms since 2004, so this is the 12th year in a row that I have blogged.  My kids?  Well my four were born in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 whereas the stepkids were born in 2005 and 2007. They all get on better than they could do, and each of them make me smile in many different ways.  I’m lucky to have such a great family.

 DannyUK kids and step kids

What were their birth stories like?

Well I can’t speak about the stepkids as I wasn’t there, for obvious reasons.  My kids were all planned C-Section due to complications that my (now ex-) wife, Mel, suffered with a previous birth and ultimately lost a baby aged just a few days old.  That means that I’ve never done the whole “in labour” thing, and never had to rush to hospital with the risk of getting amniotic fluid on the car upholstery!  All four of our births were fairly simple affairs.  We rolled up to the hospital on a Wednesday morning at around 6.30am and got booked in.  Three of the kids were delivered before 10am and one was delivered in the afternoon after being bumped down the list by more urgent cases.  There was never any of the normal stress associated with birth as the doctors and nurses were keen to keep a close eye on Mel due to the previous birth issues, and that was the case with all four kids.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

I wish I had realised how kids can affect a relationship.  I think that I was so worried about trying to be a good dad that it never occurred to me that each baby added an extra weight to us.  All I remember from the early years is a constant blur of being on the go, whether that was with the kids or it was trying to bring in enough money to pay the bills.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

It’s far easier now that Mel and I are divorced, and now that the kids are getting older, unfortunately.  The kids stay with me every other weekend, though they are at an age when all they really want is someone to taxi them about more than to sit down and play games which was the case a few years back.  I have always worked during the week, and historically have had jobs that finish past 8pm.  That fits in well these days with the kids as I don’t have them during the week, so I can work as late as I need to.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife/partner? Do you have date-nights?

When I was married to their mum, we didn’t get any child-free time together.  The closest we ever got was time alone when Mel would take the kids somewhere on a Saturday morning and I would return the favour the following day.  Finding someone to babysit four kids is incredibly hard. These days we are both loved up with other people, and because we have the kids on different days, we both get to spend time alone with our other halves.  As I said above, having kids put such a strain on us as a couple just through sheer circumstance that I’m surprised we lasted as long as we did.  Bizarrely, though, I wouldn’t change any of it for anything.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Loads!  But when I get asked, can I ever remember any?  Of course not!  There was the time when we were potty-training middle daughter and couldn’t figure out why she had green poo… until we noticed a missing green crayon and traces of it in her mouth where she’d eaten it.  There was another time that our youngest daughter, still in infants, declared that she wanted to be a cat when she grew up.  Even in recent years we’ve had conversations from the kids that have included phrases like “why are they called buildings when the actual building work has finished?  Shouldn’t they be called ‘builts’ instead?” and “If Cinderalla’s slipper fitted on her foot so perfectly that the prince was able to find her by that method, why did it slip off of her foot in the first place?”.

DannyUK kids

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I love that my kids make me proud.  I think that is probably a fairly egotistical answer, but they are remarkably well-adjusted and polite kids considering they come from a broken home.  I love the fact that I can see elements of me in them; the way they act, or the way that they approach certain things.  Being a parent is probably the hardest job in the world, and it brings with it a whole world of hurt, worry and problems.  But by God it’s great too.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I hate the stereotypes that mothers are more natural parents than dads, but I can’t say that it effects me much.  If there is one thing that I really dislike about being a dad, it’s the worry that comes with it.  We live in a – frankly – shitty world, and though I’m confident that I can take care of myself, I have to trust that my kids will get through life unscathed as I can’t live their lives for them.  I don’t think it’s coincidental that since becoming a dad I have tended to steer away from watching the news.

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Back in the day, yes.  When the kids were babies and toddlers, and I was involved in their day-to-day lives by virtue of living with them, I’d have loved it.  It was never, ever a financially viable option though.  Leaving Mel was the hardest thing I have ever done.  Not because of the trauma of separation and divorce, but because I went from seeing and being with the kids every day to spending time with them just once a week.  It was heartbreaking.  It was difficult.  But over time, you adjust.  These days, many years down the line, I’m sadly not used to having them full time.  I’m not sure I’d cope as easily as I did back in the day.

Best advice you’ve received about Fatherhood? 

I grew up without a father figure in my life, so I never really had anyone passing down fatherly advice.  I tend to look back on how my friend’s dad treated us all growing up.  I spent so much time at their house in my teens that I was virtually an honorary member of their family, and I always remember his dad being warm and friendly.  Always welcoming, and always there to drive us all about whenever we needed it.  As he says even today, he would rather know we were safe than to not bother and risk something happening.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be? 

Relax. You will take to fatherhood without a problem. You’ll learn that there are bigger worries than holding a baby or changing a nappy.  You might want to start saving some money, though…

Thank you so much Danny!

And if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a mum, you can have a read here.  As for past chats, feel free to have little peek over here.

Do head over to Danny’s blog now.

You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+, and Pinterest.

January Chat with a Mum: Cash of Comeback Mum

It’s the first day of 2016!  Welcome.

And as always, when the new year comes, I always like to start it with a bang.  And this month’s chat with a mum is the best choice to start a new year with style.  For one, she certainly has style and she’s a mum with an attitude and it’s not the negative kind.  It’s the kind that one would hope to be like, outspoken, smart, and unique.  It also helps that she has a story to tell, one that she tells very well and makes her blog different from others.  And it’s no wonder that she was nominated by no other than author/journalist Lionel Shriver for not just one but two categories (Best Writer and Best Campaigner) at the recent Mumsnet Blogging Awards 2015.

She’s the lovely woman behind the blog The Comeback Mum.  To think that she has only been blogging for a year and yet both her and her blog have gone a long, long way already.  Read on and you’ll find out why:

Cash Carraway Mumsnet

Tell us something about yourself and little one.

My name is Cash Carraway and I’m a blogger, activist and campaigner! I am lucky enough to have a gorgeous 5-year-old daughter who goes by the name Biddy and we live with my husband Ripley and his teenage brother Thomas. We’re a ramshackle bunch but somehow we make up all the components of a family…

What was your birth story like?

Giving birth was hell. When I was pregnant I lived in a safe house for battered women so any kind of birth plan went out of the window. I didn’t go NCT or Anti Natal Classes because I was embarrassed about going on my own so I guess I wasn’t fully prepared for the pain. From the moment I went into labour I demanded all the drugs; gas and air which worked for a few hours and then an epidural which was amazing. But of course that meant I couldn’t feel any contractions and I was too high to push. When my daughter’s heart beat started to drop and they gave me an episiotomy and then shoved a ventouse inside of me. They got her out and she was healthy and safe with a little cone-shaped head but I had 4th degree tears and… now basically Tena Lady is my best friend!

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

This is totally corny but I wish I knew how amazing and life affirming being a mum would be – if I had known this years ago I would have had children a lot sooner. My life was a bit rubbish and detrimentally chaotic before Biddy arrived. Now it is filled with a pleasant chaos! And real love.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Me time?! I don’t even get to go to the toilet alone! Me time is the 5 ish hours of sleep I get each night.

Do you have any favourite anecdote of your little one?

When Biddy had one of her friends around on a playdate recently I overheard her talking about Jeremy Corbyn being “one of the good guys”- it melted my little socialist heart!

What is it about motherhood you love about?

I love feeling love. I love the natural happiness that falls out of my daughter and how she shows me the world from a positive perspective. I love making her feel secure and safe and watching her become her own person. I love that she teaches me so much.

IMG_2339

If there’s anything about motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

The constant state of tiredness, nothing can prepare you for that. Why do kids have to get up so early?!

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

The day feels so hectic despite having quite a rigid routine – school days are just a case of getting up, breakfast, running to the gates before they close, I go home do some work and then pick her up. Its home, a bit of playtime, sometimes a playdate, reading, food and then bed. That sounds dull doesn’t it?! The weekends are routine free though and we get to go on trips and protests or to the theatre – and if we’re feeling lazy just sit on the sofa all weekend watching Disney movies and eating cake…

P1050004

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

One of my friends told me to always accept help from other mums. And to always offer up help whenever you can. It useful to have a little network of local mums who all look out for each other and come to the rescue with a last minute playdate because your train has been delayed!

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Just go with it. There are no rules just do what feels most loving.

How do you manage your time between blogging/work-wise/time with your little one/other activities?

I just try to utilise ALL of that time when she is at school or asleep. You can’t ask little people for “just 5 minutes to finish this paragraph…” but sometimes I cheat and put on a couple of episodes of ‘My Little Pony’ if I’m on a deadline. Nobody’s perfect!

Thank you so much Cash!

If you haven’t read her blog yet, head over for some catching up.

She’s so much worth a read!

 Click here to read past chats with mums and dads.

Again, Happy New Year everyone!

December Chat with a Dad: Ben of Goodbye Pert Breasts

Ben Wakeling, Dad and author behind the popular blog Goodbye Pert Breasts: Diary of a Newborn Dad to which he turned into a bestselling book of the same title not to mention the many books he penned after as well.  Yes, I too wonder where he gets the time to write all those in spite having three kids and a regular job!  Pure genius that’s what!  Read on to find out how he does it all.

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

I’m a dad of three – two boys and a girl who already has me wrapped around her little finger! I’m 31, which is perhaps on the younger age range for most dads with three children; I was changing nappies and wiping sick off my arm with a handful of wet wipes whilst most other people my age were out clubbing! But I’m going by the life begins at 40 rule, and if I get to 40 and life doesn’t begin there’s going to be trouble.

Seriously, though, it was always our intention to have children young. When the children are old enough to be a bit more independent we wanted to still be young and agile enough to have a life of our own. We might just have to take some Tena pads with us wherever we’re going!

My two boys are Isaac (8) and Noah (5). They’re like chalk and cheese: Isaac is intelligent, loves history and is a complete nerd. Noah isn’t the sharpest knife in the box but has so much energy and charisma he’ll always land on his feet whatever he does. Jemima is just 3 but she already knows how to get me to do whatever she wants! She’s hilarious and is such a daddy’s girl.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

They were all pretty straightforward, but that’s just coming from me – I didn’t do any of the work! I was a bit useless during the first birth: I felt a bit helpless and at one point broke a Digestive into quarters and put them on the pillow next to my wife’s face so she could just turn her head and eat a bit when she wanted. She told me afterwards it was the dumbest, most irritating thing I’ve ever done.

Thankfully there were no scare stories. Isaac and Noah were both delivered using just a TENS machine as pain relief. By the time Jemima came around my wife had decided that she wanted to take everything the NHS had to offer, so she had an epidural. Apparently, it was brilliant!

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

That it would turn you completely soft. I’ve never been a particularly manly man, but before having kids I’d rarely cry. Now, though, I start blubbing at those charity adverts with the sad donkeys.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I have a standard 9-5 day job, so it’s fairly easy to split my time. I do have to work most evenings, but I’ll wait until the kids have gone to bed. If I do have to work overtime I’ll make sure I get into the office early instead of staying late – I hate getting home after the kids have gone to sleep, and they’ve not seen me all day.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

Now my children are a little older we’re finding that we have a bit more time to ourselves – they are happy to stay overnight at their grandparents’, and so whilst we don’t take the mick we do try and have a few evenings a month to ourselves. But often there’s no need to make grand gestures to have date nights; it’s not all about candlelit dinners and romantic meals. A date night can be as simple as watching a good film with a bottle of wine in those few minutes when all three children are asleep!

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

It’s weird – my kids make me laugh every day but it’s difficult to bring a particular story to mind! There was one time when Noah tried to take himself to the toilet to do a poo but ended up making a huge mess – I even found a couple of turds in the bath!

Perhaps not the most endearing story…but like I say, all of the kids do or say daft and hilarious things every day. They’re exhausting, but there’s never a dull moment!

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Watching the kids grow up has been amazing, and now they’re all old enough for us to have little conversations. They ask some weird and wonderful questions (how much water does an ant need to take a bath in?), and it’s fun to try and figure out the answer. When they laugh, I laugh, no matter how bad a day I’ve had. There’s not many people who can do that.

If there were anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

The lack of freedom is something which took a lot of adjusting to. I can handle the lack of sleep, and we’re scraping by with the financial squeeze that children bring, but now and again the inability to do something as straightforward as nip to the pub on a nice evening can become quite frustrating. Instead I just drink at home – once the children are asleep, of course!

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

No. It sounds awful, but as much as I love being a dad, I’m not cut out for full-time parenting. I love my children; but they can be exhausting and stressful, and I just don’t have the patience to keep up with them. Some Sunday evenings after a loud, raucous weekend I find myself longing for the peace and quiet of my office! I think there’s a lot of pressure on parents to pretend like they live in some kind of blissful existence where their wonderful children are a constant blessing, but it’s often just not the case.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a bit of time every now and then. Parenting is an all-consuming, often exhausting task, and being immersed in the parenting business 24/7 can end up having negative effects, I think: you become stressed, frustrated, and as a result your parenting suffers. So, even if it’s just a case of walking the long way home if you have to nip out to the shops just so you have an extra few minutes to enjoy a bit of quiet, that’s okay – whether you’re a mum or a dad.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

It sounds cliché, but I’d tell them to take a step back every now and then and take it all in. It seems like yesterday that I was holding my eldest for the first time. He’s 8 now, and I don’t know where the time has gone!

Thank you so much Ben!

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a mum, click here to have a read.

And here for a catch-up on past Chats with Mums and Dads.

November Chat with a Mum: Kriss of Wild About Here

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year.  It’s almost as if time crept up behind us so fast and went boo in the night, just like the way little T and her friends did last night as they went trick or treating around our little village.

It’s the 1st of November and I’m happy to share our last 2015 Chat with a Mum with you lovely folks,  and as they say, I’ve saved the best for last.  Kriss’, the lovely woman, mother, wife, photographer and former journalist, is the writer behind the beautiful blog “Wild About Here”.  She’s one of the few bloggers I really, really admire and probably aspire to be like.  Let her words and photographs speak for itself:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones (age & sex)

DSC01880

I’m a mum and a mom of twins Luce and Theo, photographer and blogger. They actually do call me both Mummy and Mommy, not just because we’re dual nationals, but after two years living in the Hamptons in New York State. They’ll be celebrating their 8th birthday this month.

DSC00846

Now our home is in a rural valley in Sussex surrounded by woods. It’s like being in the middle of a nature reserve! It’s ideal for me too as Wild About Here focuses on learning about nature, photography, outdoors adventures, books and slow seasonal living. It used to be called Over There to Here when we lived in the Hamptons.

Basically I went from war zones to play zones after having Luce and Theo. Previously I was head of the Middle East and Asia as well as global news planning editor (all at the same time!) for AP television news. My years as a journalist involved escapades such as driving around with gun men in Somalia, having coffee with a head of Hezbollah in Beirut after a night out dancing, spending a day on a blockbuster film set or interviewing a huge variety of people from A list celebrities, people in the street to heads of state. I thought you might like to know Dean that I had an exclusive one on one interview with former President Cory Aquino! (Cory Aquino was the first female President in the whole of Asia.  She became our leader from 1986-1992, after winning over President Marcos which ended his long-cruel dictatorship.) 

What were your children’s birth stories like?

My belly was so huge with twins that I started scaring people in the supermarket by the time I was six months pregnant! My twins were born a month early because I was showing signs of pre-eclampsia.

The London hospital theatre was like a party room as there were about a dozen present for the caesarean birth as the twins were officially considered premature: my obstetrician, the anaesthetist and his assistant, two neonatal doctors, two teams of midwives and my husband. It took over an hour and eight attempts before the spinal jabs worked. Unbelievably I was very calm despite this! I only started crying, that is with happiness, when Luce and Theo were delivered. They were beautiful and perfect and healthy and weighed almost 6 pounds each. If they were almost 12 pounds in total (5.3 kg) a month early, just imagine if they had made full term!

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

The beautiful feeling of unconditional love.

The nightmare of packing so much stuff for two babies whether just to go on a shopping trip or a weekend away.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Is there such a thing as ‘me’ time? Maybe when they go off to university… On their first day at nursery I cried. Now I smile when a school term begins.

Actually I focus on my photography, seasonal projects, blogging and social media during the day. I’m lucky as my husband and I enjoy working or reading in the sitting room together in the evenings. We do also try to make sure we have some fun nights out as well!

DSC04630

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Of course, life with little ones is filled with amusing anecdotes. Recently they announced that they planned to marry each other so they didn’t have to worry about asking someone else. I had to diplomatically explain that wouldn’t be a good idea!

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

I regularly go on long walks with just Luce and Theo. One moment they’re making a racket and climbing trees, then the next moment they’ve quietly sidled up to me and I feel them each reaching for my hand as we continue our walk. Oh these moments are pure joy for me as a mother!

On the one hand, if there were anything about motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

How stressful mornings are leaving in time for school!

What’s a typical day like for you and your little ones?

The mornings begin peacefully with a big sit down breakfast then the chaos begins. After I’ve dropped them off at school, I’m off somewhere taking photographs or working at my desk at home. I keep one afternoon free after school, otherwise I’m a chauffeur taking them to some activity such as Beavers, karate, riding, ballet and so on. During school nights Luce and Theo are not allowed to watch television. As a result their imagination goes wild and without prompting they make up ‘stories’ to play together or devise some incredible craft or building project. I have to admit it’s impossible to ever get them to go to sleep early.

DSC02442

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Ask your mother for advice when you need it.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one,
what would it be?

Don’t get so stressed in the mornings. But also don’t worry – you’re not the only parent freaking out about getting your kids to school on time!

How do you manage your time, blogging/work wise and time with your
little ones and other activities as well?

It’s a moveable feast. I have to adapt to the time available. I’m currently working on a time consuming photography commission so I don’t have as much time to spend on my blog.

Thank you so much Kriss!

If you haven’t discovered her blog yet, you’re certainly missing out on something.

Click here if you’ve missed out on last month’s chat with a dad.

And there’s also plenty of time to catch up with the other chats as well.

November Chat with a Mum: Tracie of Life in the Wylde West

Three Reasons why I love Tracie’s Blog Life in the Whylde West, and why you should too.

1. Her photographs are poetry, so if you’re into poetry or photography, or just like looking at lovely photos, then you’ll love her blog too.  They don’t only tell a story, but also stirs feelings inside of you.  I want to be the kind of photographer she is.

2.  She’s a wonderful mother.  One I really admire and if you’re a mother, you’ll most probably relate with her posts too.

3. Her blog-posts are honest.  If she’s having a bad day, she’ll tell you and when she’s happy, you’ll know it too, you’ll feel it in her posts, in her words and in her photographs.

Here at Chats with Mums and Dads I often wonder if I should stop with the Q&A. It’s almost two years now, but reading Tracie’s answers, reminds me why I even started with it.  I started the “chats” because I wanted to hear their stories, the mums and dads.  I wanted to know what it’s like for them, their birth stories, the ups and lows of parenthood.  I love reading all their stories – because they all inspire me.

Read below you’ll know what I mean:

Tell us something about yourself and your children (age & sex)

I have been married 21 years and 19 years of those 21 have been spent being a mama to two boys and then a little girl. Austin is 19, Dylan is 16 and Abbie is 12.

me and motorcyle man

family  then and now-2

What were your children’s birth stories like?

Well first of all, I’m not very patient so with my first baby boy I took my brother’s famous really oily salad dressing for dinner 10 days before Austin was due. That night my water broke, labor began and we headed to the hospital early in the morning. I swore I would do it all natural and I held out as long as I could and finally said “give me that epidural! NOW!!” and then everything was relatively okay, I delivered shortly after and still could feel everything on my right side.

me and Austin

My second delivery was similar, only I “thought I was having a girl because my intuition told me so” HE also arrived early by a week with the same salad dressing, water broke but this time right when I walked into the hospital room I said “give me that epidural now!” I felt no pain whatsoever with this child and it was relatively quick and very painless. (STILL TO THIS DAY HE IS THE SAME AS HIS DELIVERY)

me and dylan

Then the littlest and only girl came along. The salad dressing didn’t work with her, I tried twice. (stubborn little girl) Then when she was a few days past her due date, I said “that’s it!! I drank the Castro oil straight” terrible idea. I drank the oil, went for a walk and while I was walking my water broke. I barely made it to the delivery room and there was no time at all for anything and she came out fast, hard and bloody. I think the castor oil was a very bad idea. So thanks to my little girl, I got to experience child-birth without out drugs at least once.

me and abbie

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

I sort of already knew this, I was told but I didn’t quite believe it. They grow up really, really fast. Like lightning speed.

How do you manage your “me-time”?

I take bathes where I lock the door and read my magazines. I went away last spring to our local mountains and spent a weekend with a group of close friends (all women no children or husbands) and most recently I flew all by myself to Portland Oregon to meet up with kindred souls who also love to photograph anything and everything that makes our hearts sing. It was the first time I had met any of them in real live person. I can’t begin to describe in words how therapeutic and necessary it was to just BE with them. I felt like I grew up a little. I had to rent my own car, find my way around and fly solo. It was good for me.

retreat with women

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your kids?

Austin once said when he saw a rainbow “mama, God is the best artist of all!” It made me smile.

Abbie once said she wanted to marry her daddy when she was 4. Smart girl, he is a catch. She will have a challenge when it’s her turn to find love, the comparisons will be tough.

Dylan said when he was 4 he wanted to marry a man because he didn’t want any children. It’s funny how the little ones think. I wish I could be in their head sometimes.

What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

That those little people (kind of big now) need me. They really do. Even my 19-year-old man-child will come to me when he is sick, when he is sad or when he just needs a hug. It feels so good to be needed.

semi current of all three

If there is anything about Motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

The growing up fast part. Although my oldest will reach out to me still, he is so independent and I can tell is pulling away as each day goes by. I know its normal stuff but it’s still not easy. So I cherish the time spent knowing they will all grow up and go away…hopefully not very far though.

What’s a typical day like for you and your family?

I’m a part-time working mama. Which is pretty awesome. I can get up and get them off to school, head to work, work half a day and then be off work in time to pick them each up from school. It feels at times like a lot of just taking and picking up not to mention any outside activities they are involved in. I somehow fit in housework, walks, and making meals and finding that bit of time for me to be creative, take pictures, blog and things like that. Time management is everything.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

It was from my own mother after I had my first baby. She said “the housework will always be there the children will not. Take that time with your kids, it goes quickly.” This came from someone who ironed her sheets, and cleaned until it was bedtime. It meant so much because it was so different than what she did. It was like she realized and she didn’t want me to make the same mistake.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

That each stage has its challenges and not all challenges are equal but they are equally as important.

How do you manage your time or blogging between work and your family?

It’s not easy. I recently took to writing lists. It helps me get things done. I find time before I leave the house for the day (sometimes I write a quick blog) or as I wait to pick up a kid from school…via my cell phone, or every once in a great while very late at night and sometimes I take the weekends to gather my pictures and thoughts and will write a hand full of posts to go live as the week progresses. It’s the one thing that I really, really look forward to, writing and sharing images via my blog. It’s my outlet for sure. And since I’m often in a rush, my grammar can be wacky or my spelling not quite right but I don’t’ care about that. To me it’s more about getting out my thoughts. It’s truly therapy.

Thank you so much Tracie!

 If you liked what you’ve read in this month’s feature, there’s more of that in her blog.

 Go over and be inspired!

And if you’ve missed last month’s chit-chat with a dad, click here to read.

Have a lovely weekend folks!

August Chat with a Dad: James of Daddy Space

I love discovering new blogs, especially new ones by Dads!  And Daddy Space is a recent find of mine which I’m excited to share with you guys and I guess it also helps that his kids are so adorable too!  So come and have a read with me and let’s get to know James of Daddy Space together:

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

I’m a full-time Precision engineer at a small firm in Plymouth, I have three children Charlie aged 4, Harry aged 3 and Olivia 20 months. We try to have as much fun as possible and we also film everyday and upload them to our family vlog channel ‘The Gibblets’ on youtube.

augchatwithadad

 What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

Remarkably uneventful all three were really normal deliveries. The most eventful thing to happen during Charlie’s birth was the cord was wrapped around his neck. Harry’s birth saw him do a poo but he was well on the way so there were no concerns and everything checked out fine. Olivia’s was totally uneventful it was a text-book delivery the most eventful thing for us was finding out the sex which I had righteously decided I’d like to do this time around as for both the boys we found out.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

This may sound obvious but it’s not until you have a family that you realise that you need to be relied upon all the time, be it for financial reasons or just for being around. I think if I had realised the gravitas of this information fully before becoming a dad I’d have concentrated on getting the career I wanted through studying towards a college or university qualification.

July (33)

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I make sure I do all my overtime in the morning which does mean an unearthly 6.30am start, but this does mean that I’m home with my family by 4.45pm. Then I also get to have Friday afternoons at home which is nice for the kids especially in the winter to have me home during daylight hours. I try not to work lots of extra hours even though the overtime is available because I remember my dad being at work a lot in the evening. It was essential that he work the extra shifts so we had food on our plates but you do not understand that as a child.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

We try to fit date nights in and we have a good number of willing babysitters but we have become so consumed with our routine we just simply forget to plan them. This is something our relationship could benefit from and I think I need to work on this.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

The small things like coming home and seeing their excited faces at the window and getting smothered with cuddles as I walk in the door everyday. This is something Mummy doesn’t get because she is always around.

July (45)

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

As every man would agree I don’t like the “not being listened to bit”, especially from a 4 Year old. It’s an inevitable part of any child growing up, pushing the boundaries as far as they dare, but it doesn’t make it any bit less frustrating.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

Yes I think I would. I often think I never would be able to cope but if I were a stay at home dad that would be my job I’d have a routine and when I think of it like that it becomes a positively exciting prospect.

May (116)

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Every baby is different and nobody has written a book that suits your baby.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Relax and just enjoy every minute, try not to stress about the little things and just enjoy your child because they grow so quickly.

Thank you so much James and your lovely little ones!

Do head over his blog  right now for more of his stories.

And of course click here to follow his tweets.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to give him the thumbs-up over at his FB page.

And lastly, come and view their family videos on youtube here.

This post is linked-up with #PoCoLo

Post Comment Love

On Writing and the BiB Awards

The lovely Samantha invited me to join in the Writing Process Blog Hop.  I love a good Q & A especially if it involves books and writing.  So of course, I couldn’t refuse.

Questions:

1) What are you working on?

This is embarrassing, but I’ve been working on a few short stories for about a couple of years now (maybe even three!)  It’s just so difficult to write creatively when you’re a mum of an excitable three-year-old who is at that lovely sometimes annoying stage, you know the Why do we need hands? Feet? Eyes? so on and so forth stage.  I can barely write a decent blog post!

But I’ve been specifically trying to work on this story I wrote about two strangers who meet in a small coastal English town.  The man is German and in his 80s.  He’s been going back to the same seaside village for the past fifty years.  He likes to sit on this particular bench facing the sea and one time he meets a woman (a foreigner too, though it’s not really mentioned where she’s from in the story) and they start a conversation.  Since the woman lives there, they eventually over the years keep meeting on the same bench.  It’s one of those “talkie” type of short stories, where nothing much is going on and it’s purely conversation which of course, others might find boring.  I like it though.  It’s a quiet and simple story about strangers who form an unlikely friendship.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I write from personal experience, though that’s really no different from others I guess.  While the story mentioned above was loosely based on myself, the German is fictitious of course.

3) Why do you write what you write?

Was it Mark Twain who said “Write what you know?”  But I bet though, other writers before him has said that too.  It’s always easy to write what you know about.  I think your writing also comes out more sincere and not constrained or worse pretentious.

So yes, I like to base my fiction on something I’ve experienced or something I’m at least familiar with.

4) How does your writing process work?

I haven’t had a “writing process” for years now.  I used to when I was single and living on my own.  At the moment, all I can say is that the only “writing process” I have is to sit down and just write as if your very life depended on it.

I wrote the story mentioned above – “Same Time Next Year” in one sitting.  I think my husband took my daughter out for a little outing without me so I could have a bit of a rest.  Instead of putting up my feet on the table, I typed furiously away.  That’s the first time I’ve ever done that.  You know, start a story, from the very beginning and actually finish it till the very end.  I have loads of attempts, first drafts on my files, most of them rubbish actually.  But I think the trick there is to silence your inner critic and just keep writing as fast as you can and see where it takes you.

The German character in that story actually “appeared” to me.  No, nothing ghostly as an actual apparition, but I really saw him vividly in my head, walking up the headland.  What he looked liked, how he walked and I just knew him right away.

I entered that story in a major writing competition here in the UK.  Of course, I didn’t win.  I just figured at that time, no harm in trying right?  The contest had a three thousand word-count, so I had to edit it down a lot.  I want to re-write it and maybe make it into a novella.  Perhaps when my daughter starts proper school, I’ll be able to get down and finally do it once and for all.  And who knows, enter it in another contest and even win?

For now I think I’ll stick to trying to write decent blog-posts in between answering my daughters questions like Why do we need eyes mummy?  

***

Incidentally, I received an email from Britmums inviting me to nominate myself or other bloggers in the 2014 BiBS Awards (Brilliance in Blogging).  I’ve already shamelessly emailed all my family and close friends to nominate me for the MAD Awards.  But stayed mum about it in my blog, however I’ve decided to make a go for it this time (and spare my family and friends from pleading with them to vote for me again), so if you think I have a chance, thank you for nominating me, though I have a feeling it will be a bit like that time when I joined a major writing competition and it went pfft.  I tried at least, right?

I’ve already voted and in case you guys need a little nudge, here are fantastic bloggers who really ought to win and the good new is that there are lots of different categories and I’m sure you can all fit them in.  They are all British bloggers by the way, I’m not really sure if it’s only open to British bloggers or at least bloggers who live in the UK. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

Hurrah for Gin (A sure Winner.  Yay, go Katie!)

PODcast

Coombe Mill

Space for the Butterflies

Over There to Here

Ramblings of a former Rock n Roll Mum

The Secret Father

Englishman in Italy

The Adventures of Sonny and Luca

P.H. Davies

Verily Vocalises

Mum turned Mom

3 Children and It

The Coffee Table Years

The Fat Worm

Thank you!

This post is linked up with #PoCoLo

Post Comment Love

When Life Happens

How many times have you heard the line that only happens in the movies?  Do you believe that?

Here’s one:

A husband and wife both in their early 30s walk home one cold November day after visiting a friend’s house.  The husband pushes his two-year-old in his buggy.  Wife bends down and kisses her little boy, she falls a little bit behind them.  Then out of nowhere, a car comes careening into the pavement, husband thinks quickly and rams his son’s buggy into a small narrow opening.  The car somehow misses them both an inch, before he can even catch his breath, he realises that his wife has just been run-overed by the car, leaving her lifeless.  And before he knows it, his life is never the same again.

Let’s say the movie stars Jude Law, the problem though is that it isn’t a movie.  Sadly, that tragic scene really did happen.  A man lost his wife, and a young boy lost his mum.  He writes about his experience here.

And then there’s this other one – A woman recently gives birth to her son.  When lo and behold, she finds out that her husband is actually having an affair with her best-friend.  Do you picture Kathering Heigl in the starring role?  Yes, it’s a common plot in movies and books, we’ve all seen it and read about it before.  But actually it really happened to this woman, you can just read about how she’s coping here.

There’s this other plot too, you’ll say this only definitely happens in the movies.  A family loses their son.  It’s nothing really new.  The son sadly was born with complications, in fact, it’s really a miracle that he lived that long.  But since this is a movie, right?  There has to be dramatic moments and have to show that he dies.  Sad really.  Then within a few months, the woman’s husband suddenly dies of a heart-attack too.  So now the woman is left without a son, a husband, and her remaining three boys without a father.  This poor woman who hasn’t even really come into terms with the death of her son yet, and now she also has to grieve for her beloved husband too.

How do you get your head around that?  But it’s okay, it only happens in the movies right?  But no, again sadly, there really is a woman who lost both her son and husband within just months of losing the other.

Was it Oscar Wilde who said that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life?

I read a lot of blogs and yes, I read those blogs mentioned above.  And of course, there are other heartbreaking blogs out there written by mothers and fathers who have lost their child, either through cancer or a terrible accident.  You may wonder why am I drawn to them?  As if there isn’t much sadness and tragic stories in the world, what with the recent super Typhoon that hit the Philippines and the on-going war in Syria etc.

I read them because these blogs tell us what happens after we’ve brushed away the tears after the credits have rolled and the theme song from the movie is over.   I want to know what happens to the widow, the suddenly-single mother, I want to know how they are coping.  I want to silently cheer them on, because they do move on.  People do move on in spite the tragedy.  Life happens even when the movie is over.

August Chat with a Dad: Pecora Nera

small

Here at Chats with Moms and Dads, not everyone is a newbie at parenthood like me or most of the other featured moms and dads and our August Chat with a Dad is definitely not one!  Pecora Nera as he calls himself is one of my favourite bloggers.  He mostly writes about life as an expat in Italy married to his lovely Italian wife known in the blogosphere as Mrs. Sensible.  His blog entries will make you laugh so without much further ado, I hand you over to Pecora Nera, an English man in Italy and also a proud father of three.

Thank you so much, for inviting onto your blog, my little ones are now all grown up. In fact my son now has a little one of his own.

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

My little ones are all taller than me,  maybe I am still a bit taller than Lucy.  I live in Italy and they live in the UK. Either I fly to the UK or they fly out here to see me. Sometimes we pick a city in Europe and fly there to meet. Last year Sarah and I met in Bratislava for a weekend and by pure chance there was a beer festival on. My children are all very different from each other, Lucy is a teacher, Richard manages a shop and Sarah has just joined the army. I pity anyone who starts shooting at her.

 What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

In 1988, I spent New Years Eve hurtling up West Street in the back of an ambulance while, Beverley (Ex wife) shouted its coming, its coming. I wasn’t sure if she meant the New Year or the baby. In the end the New Year arrived on time and Richard arrived on the 25th of January. We even managed to squeeze two more frantic races to the hospital before he put in an appearance.

I was told, when a baby is born, it will copy you; at the birth of each of my children, as soon as I was holding the baby I poked my tongue out twice, remarkably they all copied me by poking their tongue out twice.

What you wish you knew about being a dad before becoming one?

What do I wish I knew before becoming a dad? It’s a difficult question. If I knew all the problems I was too face in life,  I might have decided, the time was never right to  have  any children at all. So for me, blind ignorance was best.

I have a great dad, so I tried to teach, nurture and discipline my children the same way he treat me. I didn’t always succeed.

 How do you manage your time between work and fatherhood?

My little ones are all adults now, and we live in separate countries, I try to fly to the UK every 2 months to meet up and go for a curry and a beer. I also fly to the UK for business, so I manage to drop in on my children and grab a couple of extra days with them. I will be in the UK next month to watch my daughters passing out parade.

How do you manage to arrange child-free time with your wife/partner?  Do you have date-nights?

I remarried eight years ago, and Mrs Sensible and I don’t have any children, so this isn’t applicable to me. When we are child free we go out and eat pizza, which are most days…

 Any favourite anecdote about your little one(s)?

I gave Sarah the nickname Grub Grub. She was always digging and grubbing around in the garden; she would dig little holes with bits of sticks. I could shout Grub Grub, and she would come running.

One Saturday morning we were sat in my bed looking at a gardening book.

What’s that daddy? A butterfly, do you like the colour?

Yes, what’s that? A snail, it has its house on its back.

What’s that?  A grub.

Sarah looked at the grub, looked back at me, closed the book and went back to her bedroom. The next day at a video shop a young woman said to me, “your daughter is very cute” Sarah gave the woman a hard look and said “ I no cute, I Sarah Grey!!! There was no way she was ever going to be called anything, but Sarah, and defiantly not Grub Grub.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I loved watching them grow and become independent, the unconditional love they give, the pure joy when they succeed at a difficult task.

 If there’s anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Living so far from them, and realising I should have spent more time playing with them.

 If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home-dad, would you take it?

Oh yes, with both hands.

Best advice you’ve ever received about fatherhood/parenthood?

 Don’t get angry with them, remember your childhood, you were the same.

 If you could give yourself advice about being a father before becoming one, what would it be?

Remember to always love them, breath before you shout, and finally the time you have together is fleeting, make every minute count.

Thank you so much Pecora Nera!

Do visit his blog for some laughter and Italian lessons 😉