Tag: home life

A month ago …

… we sold and left the house we’ve lived in for eight years.  The house where we took little T home from the hospital in Exeter and I was too scared to bathe her, I feared accidentally dropping her in the water.  She had her first birthday in that house.  We celebrated it with the just the three of us.  I baked a cake and we bought her, her first toddler bike.  Little T said she misses it.  “I have lots of memories in that house mum” said my nearly six-year-old little girl.  She asked me if I miss it.  Oddly, I don’t.  I feel a bit guilty saying that, especially like T mentioned, we have so many good memories in that house.  But we’ve outgrown it and I knew it was time to move on.  When you know that it’s time, there is just no turning back, isn’t it?

And now we’re here in the new house.  It’s only been a month and yet, I feel like we’ve been here for ages.   Already these photos look like a fading memory – how weird is that?

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We slept on our mattress on the floor on our first night, as you can see, Boots was settled in even on the very first day of the move.

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This was little T’s bedroom on that very first day.

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And the conservatory.

The house is now looking more like our house right now, there are hardly any boxes in the rooms anymore, well except for the boot room and the conservatory.  It still looks a bit like a dumping ground.  But with lesser things and you can now actually see the floor.

There are still pictures and a few paintings to hang.  We’re getting there slowly.  As mentioned on the previous posts, our pets are settled, little T loves it, albeit missing the old house.  My husband loves his study and likes that all his history books are in one room, easy for him to work now.  He may be a historian, the irony though is that he doesn’t like old houses.  He prefers modern houses that look like boxes, with walls of glass windows all around.  That sort.  Every time he bangs his head in the eaves (and he isn’t that tall, just average), I hear him curse the house.  He dislikes the creaky floor boards and uneven floors.  I love them all.

And yet, he loves the space we have here.  As mentioned, he loves that he can work easily now.  He likes the big garden and the fact that he can finally have his vegetable garden we’ve been talking about for the longest time.  He likes that we can invite friends for dinner and not have to eat with our plates on our laps because our table and kitchen is too small.  He loves that T can invite friends and they have so much room to run around like loonies in the garden.  Same with our pets.  I guess you could say, he loves what the house has brought to us.  We are now making so many good memories and it’s only been a month!

What about you?

Do you prefer old houses with character and so much history behind it or shiny new modern houses straight out of one of those architectural magazines?

Do share.

An Update

And so we’ve finally moved. Our book are on the shelves, well most of it, we’ve actually ran out of bookshelves! My husband actually thinks our books somehow bred over night or in transit, but actually the reason for this is that the shelving that worked for our old house isn’t working in our new home, so we had to make do with what we could use. I’m excited about the idea of buying new shelves because that would mean more space for new books!

Let me introduce you to Small Hill Cottage. It’s a four hundred year old house in a very rural setting. The old village where we used to live suddenly feels very urban compared to where we are living now and I love it! The floors are uneven and sometimes when I’m standing up stairs I actually feel like I’m being tipped over. The floorboards are creaky and the plumbing is noisy. I love everything about it.

The house is perfect but we don’t have internet yet!  BT was scheduled to connect us last Tuesday but didn’t arrive.  They promised to come again next Tuesday, hopefully they’ll be true to their word and yes I’ve missed my little bit of cyber space and can’t wait to get back to it.  I’m here right now in little T’s gymnastics club using their internet hopefully the next time I write a post it will be from the comfort of our home.

Let me give you a little tour although we haven’t fully unpacked yet, we still have some pictures/paintings to be put up on walls and wardrobes have yet to be delivered.

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We have yet to find space for our books, as you can see, the shelves are overflowing.

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I love the kitchen with its slate floors.

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The much coveted study.

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And here’s T dining al fresco.

Hope everyone is doing good … more updates from the sticks soon!

Back to the Daily Grind of things

Now that Easter break is over and done with, we are back in the daily grind of things.  The husband takes T to school, he then goes back to his work, I walk Doc and then do the afternoon school run.

On Mondays after school, T used to go to Starmakers, an after school activity held at the village hall.  She seems to have lost interest in it and we all decided that she stopped going.

Before the break, she’s been saying she didn’t want to go anymore. We never push T to do things and she seems adamant that she doesn’t want to go back to it.  We’re not that bothered, since this particular activity is really more like play, a bit of drama, song and dance.  She used to really enjoy it especially since most of her friends were going, somehow she has outgrown it. And it’s only fair to stop going, especially if it means opening up a slot for another child who really wants to join the class.

On Tuesdays, she has her cello lessons.  But luckily for her (and for the other kids as well), the lessons are done during school hours.  I just don’t know what the other kids (who don’t do cello or violin) do while the small group who are doing music lessons are away from the class.

T goes to her swimming lessons with her other friends on Wednesdays.  The lessons are held at a holiday park here in Cornwall, so we always end up having dinner there with the other kids and their parents too.  The children enjoy this as they get to have a play while waiting for dinner to be served.

Thursdays are free days.  I love Thursdays.

And today, T goes to her gymnastics lessons after school.  She’s excited because one of her friends from school is coming along to see whether she too would like to join T’s gymnastics club.  Hopefully her friend decides to join her.

The weekends are our laze-about-days, which consists of wearing our PJs till midmorning, doing some homework and for me, it’s also doing chores in between.  I’m afraid for some of us (parents), it’s never entirely a bugger all day isn’t it?  There’s always endless chores to be done.

We don’t have anything planned over the weekend.  The historian has a lecture to do in Plymouth, so that will leave T and I alone at home with Boots and Doc.  Luckily for us, the good weather we’ve been experiencing (lots of lovely blue and white clouds) will continue over the weekend.  That is, if the weather forecast doesn’t decide to do a dramatic change and suddenly announce rainstorms, hale and thunderclouds. Hopefully not!  We might meet over with some friends on Saturday, but we’re all just playing it by ear.  There won’t be any rushing, just relaxing about.  That’s what I love about weekends.

My word of the week is: routine

The Reading Residence
What about you?
What do you love about weekends?
Do share.

And just like that …

the light did come in!

Nope, we haven’t sold our house, our circumstances has not changed since I last blogged about it. I’m being literal.  It’s been glorious here the past few days.  Yes, we did have a couple of really misty ones too, but mostly it’s all been about the sun.

I love when the sun is out, everything seems to be cheerful and the way natural light floods the room is just lovely.

And the best bit is that you can leave all the doors open, especially the one leading into our little garden and instantly, our house feels so much bigger!

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I don’t think T wants her smelly dog inside her tent.  Poor Doc barred from joining in the fun!

Now if only all days in England were like this one year-round, then life indeed would be perfect!  Admittedly, it can still get a bit chilly especially when there’s a breeze, definitely not paddling-pool weather yet.

And the flowers, I just love having them around the house.  I can’t seem to get enough of them!  Small joys – that’s what they are.

I should have entitled this one “A Rambling Post”, because that’s what I”m doing.  And all I actually wanted to write about is the light.

Which reminds me, I haven’t been blogging.  I have loads of drafts though, but never finished ones.  Yep, it’s one of those days, or rather weeks, and here I was thinking a fresh-new-blog-look will inspire the muse.  Nope, she has rebuffed my offering, so excuse me for blathering mindlessly here.  Then again, isn’t that what blogging (at least for some, I’m not saying all!) is sometimes all about? A platform for mindless chatter?

Anyway, have you been loving the sunshine too?

November Chat with a Dad: Mark of The Adventures of Sonny & Luca

I’ll keep this intro short, since this is a bit of a long interview but so worth the read!  For this month’s November Chat with a Dad, let me introduce you to Mark. He is the man behind the funny, fresh and very candid blog: The Tales of Sonny and Luca.  This blog, btw belongs to my top blogs written by a Dad.  If this blog isn’t on your list yet, I suggest you add this to yours too.

Tell us something about yourself.

My name’s Mark and I live with my partner Janet and our two boys Sonny (4) and Luca (3) in South Manchester.

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I used to masquerade as a Sales Rep but was fortunately offered voluntary redundancy before they discovered I was a truly terrible salesman. In hindsight it was a blessing as Janet really wanted to return to work whilst I felt I was missing out on so much of our boys early years because of the long hours I was working.

Financially it was very difficult and we’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices but thankfully Janet found herself a great job as a Researcher which she really enjoys, and this allowed me to become a full-time stay at home dad, which is what I still am today.

 What was your little ones birth stories like?

Sonny’s was relatively straight forward and dare I say easy (only a man could say that!)

Polaroid-Original

Labour was short and without complication, and Janet being the woman she is took everything in her stride. Unfortunately some of those strides were on a tennis court with her nephew when she was 8 months pregnant, much to my contempt. She strained a muscle, or rather a few muscles, and we ended up in A&E with her being lambasted by the doctors. I said nothing. I didn’t need to, she knew in my head I was saying “I told you so!”

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Luca’s on the other hand was traumatic from the very start. She fell pregnant only three months after Sonny was born. Three months later she was pretty much bedridden for the remainder of the pregnancy with high blood pressure and severe gestational diabetes. From five months we were at the hospital two or three times a week for a multitude of tests, and were never more than a couple of days away from the prospect of an emergency c-section. During this time I was under the constant threat of redundancy, struggling financially, had a newborn to look after, and a house move to organise. With Janet needing to be stress free I hid most of the problems from her, then not long after Luca was born I suffered a mental breakdown. With hindsight it’s not surprising and I should have shared the burden with others but being a typical bloke I assumed I’d cope. Clearly I didn’t but that’s a whole other story.

 Thankfully Janet somehow managed to make it to full term and Luca was born a healthy yet small 6lbs; exactly the same as his brother.

 After both births I went to the toilet in the delivery room and inadvertently pulled the emergency chord thinking it was the toilet flush handle. On both occasions I caused untold panic in the Maternity ward!

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

So much. To fully appreciate every opportunity of sleep. That sometimes there is no fathomable reason for them crying. That every involvement you have no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time is priceless. That powdered milk and nappies are bloody expensive.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

 Luckily it’s not an issue for me now as a stay at home dad. If anything I have too much time with them, weekends can sometimes feel like unpaid overtime! With Janet working I try and make sure we all eat together at night and I take care of the dishes etc so she can spend what time she has in the evening playing with them.

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

Until recently we’ve managed it very badly. A few months ago we both realised how little time we were spending together without the kids so decided to do something about it. Thanks to a very helpful Granny we’re now trying to have at least one or two date-nights a month, whether it be going for a meal, the cinema, or seeing a band/comedian etc.

 It’s possibly more important for us as Janet first fell pregnant after we’d only been seeing each other for three months. We’d been going to see bands as ‘mates’ for a few months prior to us becoming a couple but still, our whirlwind of a honeymoon period appears to have included a weekend in Madrid, moving in together, and two babies? It’s a good job we get on!

For the last couple of years we’ve also managed a weekend away for my birthday. Janet’s sister kindly comes down from Edinburgh to look after the boys so we can have a couple of nights away. We only go up the road to Manchester but two tantrum-free nights of full sleep are wonderful. I’m not sure if when Janet’s sister first agreed to take the kids she knew it would become an annual tradition, but then if she had it possibly wouldn’t be.

 Any favourite anecdotes about your little ones?

There’s a few, pretty much all of them on my blog already though. My favourite and most embarrassing ones were Sonny’s fight with a Dyson Hand-dryer and more recently our impromptu R.E. lesson in a lift.  (Click here to read the Dyson Hand-dryer post).

Two weeks ago,  I entered a lift with the delusion of being a religious scholar, and left a broken man.

Here follows the transcript of what broke me….

*DOORS CLOSING*

Sonny:      “Why is that man hiding?”
Me:           “He’s not hiding, and it’s a lady”
Luca:         “I can see you!”
Sonny:      “Is he playing hide and seek?”
Me:            “SHE is not playing hide and seek, you’re being really rude, now quiet please.”

*LEVEL SEVEN*

Sonny:       “Is he wearing a costume?”
Luca:         “Like Batman?”
Me:            “No. It’s not a man, and SHE is not wearing a costume. Shush please, we’ll discuss this later.”

*LEVEL SIX*
(C’mon now, why is this lift stopping, no one is getting in!)

Luca:         “Is she a Power Ranger?”
Sonny:      “Is it Emily?”
Me:            “I’m really sorry! No she’s not a Power Ranger, she’s wearing something called a Burkha, now be quiet PLEASE!”

*LEVEL FIVE*
(Seriously, why is this lift stopping on every floor?)

Luca:         “What’s a Burkha?”
Me:            “It’s something people wear.”
Sonny:      “Can I have a Burkha?”
Me:            “No.”
Luca:         “I want a Burkha too!’
Me:            “You’re not having a Burkha. You’re not a girl, or a Muslim.”

*LEVEL FOUR*

Luca:         “Do you want a Burkha Sonny? I want a Burkha. Daddy, can I have a Burkha?”
Me:            “No one is having a Burkha, now quiet! PLEASE!”
Sonny:      “Burkha’s are silly. What’s a Muslim?”

*LEVEL THREE*
(Who the hell is pressing the buttons? Every damn floor?)

Me:           “We’ll talk about this later. I’m so sorry!”
Luca:        “I want to be a Muslim”
Me:           “It doesn’t work like that.”
Sonny:     “What’s a Muslim?”
Me:           “Someone who believes in God. ”
Luca:        “Granny likes God!”
Sonny:     “Is Granny a Muslim?”
Me:          “No … do you know what, yes, yes she is!”

*LEVEL TWO*

Sonny:      “The Wise Old Elf’s a Muslim.”
Me:            “No he’s not.”
Sonny:     “But you said he was!”
Me:           “No I didn’t.  Right, out of the lift boys!”
Sonny:     “This isn’t our floor. You said we were going to the 1st floor!”
Me:           “OUT! NOW!”

Click here to read full post.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I love watching them grow, develop, and discover new things. The precious moments when they laugh uncontrollably at the strangest of things. When we’re playing on the floor and I’m lost in their weird and warped imaginations. And from a selfish point of view when they assume I know everything and then believe whatever gubbins I tell them.

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

Lack of sleep! I miss having the time to do my own thing, and the constant feeling that I should probably go to bed when it’s only 9pm. I’ve also had to put a temporary (I hope) halt to my love of discovering new music until I can find time to listen to it. Football! I miss being able to watch a game of football on the TV without the constant barrage of “is it finished yet?”

Wow, more than I realised, I wish you hadn’t asked now!

 Is there anything about being a stay at home dad you like/dislike about?

I feel really grateful to have shared so much of their early years. We’ve been able to have days out when everywhere is wonderfully quiet. We’ve visited the zoo, museums, art galleries, playgroups, parks, the list is endless. I’ve been so lucky to have shared so many of their ‘first’ moments, and to have been able to play such an active role in their development (for better or worse?)

 The only thing I dislike a little is the lack of adult interaction. I say only a little as it’s become quite apparent I’m far happier in the company of children than I am adults. It’s only when I’m offering the builders ‘fizzy pop’ I become aware of how unbalanced my child/adult time has become.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood.

I’m not sure I’ve ever received any.

I was asked recently to contribute to a light-hearted open letter to Prince William about fatherhood though, so this is some advice I gave on the subject.

 Sit on the Floor and Play. Eat, drink, and play. Talk, and play. And never forget to PLAY.

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

 It’s hard to answer this without it being riddled with clichés. Savour every minute you have with them. Don’t spend the first year or so wishing for them to reach the next stage of their development as it’ll come too soon anyway. And sleep when they sleep. NEVER miss an opportunity to sleep!

 There’s clearly a theme running through all my answers and it revolves around the LACK OF SLEEP!

Thanks so much Mark!  

C’mon everyone head off to his blog NOW for more tales from this funny-and ever-so-cool dad.

You can also connect with him through twitter

and don’t forget to like his FB page too!