Tag: lifestyle

Sundown at Tamar Lake

The weather has been really bleak the past few days  Temperature has definitely dropped and we’ve been constantly wrapped under a grey depressing blanket.  The worse bit is that T has a really bad cough and like all bad coughs, it gets worse at night.  She wakes up coughing, as if gasping for air.  It’s horrible to hear and watch your child cough like that and you feel helpless because there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help ease the discomfort.

So here I am conjuring up happy days when the sun was out and T was happily playing in the sun and sand without a bad cough.  About a month ago (or maybe even more), we went to the Tamar lake so the husband could try gig-rowing.  It was early evening when we arrived at the lake.  The sun was still out and a soft breeze was blowing, but it wasn’t cold.

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Lucky for T, her best friend F and his mom came with us.  So while my husband and F’s mom tried out gig-rowing, the kids and I had fun at the playground.

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That’s T with her Abney doll (Thank you Uncle P and Auntie P!)

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F playing by the slide.

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A man pulling his kayak.

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A couple enjoying the evening-out.

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The beautiful and serene Tamar Lake.

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T and F enjoying the warm evening playing in the sand.

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A lovely warm evening … Can we have one again please?

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A memorial of someone who obviously enjoyed the lake …

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Since they only had one boat, the female rowers had to go on it first.

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And then it happened …

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Sunset over the Tamar Lake.

After a nice little picnic of sandwiches, cake and coffee provided by F’s lovely mom – it was time to go home.

This post was linked-up with Coombe’s Mill Country Kids.

September Chat with a Mum: Sonya Cisco

I’ve always seen female bass players as the epitome of the word “cool”.  I mean just think of the famous Kims: Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Kim Deal of the Pixies/Breeders, two really good bass players (if not two of the best!) in the world right?   Now if someone would ask me why I enjoy reading Sonya Cisco’s blog, The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock & Roll Mum, at the top of my head I would say because she’s real, candid, funny and guess what?  A bass player!  For fifteen years, the lovely woman behind the blog was a bassist of a band who played in festivals around the UK and Europe.  Actually when I first started following her blog, I didn’t even know she was a bass player.  I only found out when I clicked on her about me section, that was really just the icing on the cake.

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

My name is Sonya Cisco, and I am a 40 year old mother of three. My children are 17, 9 and 2. Quite the age range! I had my first at 23, and my last at 38. And I can safely say each age has its own advantages.

I am much calmer and less anxious as an older parent, but definitely had more  energy and felt the sleepless nights less as a young parent.

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What was your child’s birth story(ies) like?

My eldest child and only daughter was induced at 38 weeks, as I had developed pre-eclampsia. During my pregnancy I had some airy fairy ideas about water births and aromatherapy oils. All that went out of the window as I was stuck on a bed attached to several drips, and fairly seriously ill. Luckily the labour iteslf was quick and striaghtforward, taking only 4 hours from when my waters were broken. Unluckily my kidneys and liver were failing so I spent the first night away from my newborn in intensive care. She however was fine, and the following day we were reunited. My subsequent two babies were much more straightforward. My middle one was my only spontaneous labour, and again was born within 4 hours of established contractions. My youngest had to be induced at 13 days overdue. He positively whooshed out, he was born just one hour after my waters were broken. A very painful hour I should add, but I know to those of you who suffered 48 hour labours that is of no comfort!!

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

That it would be without a doubt the highlight of my life. Hard work, lousy pay, and no holiday time. But wonderful nonetheless.

How do you manage your “me-time”?

Sorry?! What is that!? HA! Seriously, at the moment my youngest has only just turned two, has just stopped napping, and I am a stay at home mum. My me-time consists of flumping on the sofa for a couple of hours in the evenings watching terrible TV while hoping nobody wakes up and requires me to move. However the advantage of having older ones is I know this all consuming phase is so short, and I am treasuring it, as he will definitely be my last.

Once your children are older, and at school, it becomes so much easier to find time for yourself. And you must! We all need time to be ourselves in order to be happy, and happy Mum equals happy kids generally!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little one(s)?

All of my children are hilarious- intentionally or otherwise. My eldest once terrified a male visitor by making him involved in the following conversation:-

“You are a boy aren’t you” says 3 year old Betsy.

“Yes.” replies my friend.

“That’s because you have a willy. Do you know what I have got?” she responds.

“No?!” replies my friend, with a degree of trepidation.

“An electric toothbrush.” says my small and tangent ridden child.

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What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

The love, the laughs, the hugs.

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

No sick time. Having to do your Mummy job while feeling ill is an awful experience. Thank goodness for DVDs and biscuits on such occasions.

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

In term time the early mornings are the busiest time of the day. Breakfasts, lunches, lost homework, endless shouting at a teenager to get out of bed, frantic dressing. I swear I do more in that first hour than the rest of the day put together. But after the big two are safely out of the house, me and the small chap have a much more relaxed time. We go to several playgroups/activity sessions through the week. Meet friends for coffee. Make the daily hellish visit to the supermarket where I stand dazed in aisles desperately trying to think of what to feed the family for dinner. We currently spend a lot of time with playdoh. Then post school there is homework to nag about, dinner to eat, baths, bedtime, then gin o’clock (also known as kid’s bedtime.)

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

I don’t know, I am terrible at listening to advice.

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

Nobody is perfect. We are all just doing our best, and you are the best Mum for your child.

How do you manage your time between work/blogging and your little one(s)?

At the moment, badly. It is the school holidays and blogging has taken a huge back seat. If I have time to think of something to write, I can’t actually get to my laptop to write it, as someone else is always on it! But generally, I am lucky, my blog is not a job, it is a hobby, and the only person I have to please is myself. I do it when I have ten minutes, or when I am inspired. I often write blogposts on my phone, still in bed, early in the morning. Then have to correct them when coffee has reinvigorated my ability to spell. I hugely admire those of you that manage to do this parenting lark and work without exploding. Not sure I could! Although having said that, I have always returned to work when my children have started school, and while that is still not easy, life does at least have a more consistent timetable than when you are at home with a tiny human!

Thank you so much Sonya Cisco!

Now head off to the cool Ramblings of a Formerly Rock & Roll Mum this very minute!

You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

June Chat with a Dad: The Secret Father

Here in the UK, Father’s Day is celebrated on the 16th of June, so in honor of Dads, instead of doing my monthly Chats with Moms, I’ll be doing a June Chat with a Dad instead.  And my first feature is a really cool and funny Dad who is known in the blogosphere as the Secret Dad.  If you want to know more about him, read on and then head off to discover the secret life of this Dad on his blog.

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

My professional life has largely been as an emergency humanitarian aid worker (which means I get deployed in international disasters like floods and earthquakes). When I was much younger I did some incredible jobs such as working on a farm (superb), working in a high performance car manufacturing business (brilliant) and on the conveyor belts at a chicken factory (cold).

My three favourite people on the world

My three favourite people in the world.

My daughter is 3 and my son is 15 months. They are both incredible and quite different personalities. I love them both dearly, and differently. My daughter is a force of nature – beautiful, charming, charismatic, funny and loving at best. And at worst a screaming banshee of emotional turmoil. My son on the other hand is a chilled out little soul, perfectly content to play on his own for hours on end. He is so quiet we often forget where he is. In fact where is he…….?

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

I am actually in the process of writing a blog about the birth of our first, my daughter, because it was such an incredible experience. The arrival of my son was a very different affair. My wife went into labour on Boxing Day and had a beautiful, straightforward water birth. It was such a calm experience after the craziness of my daughter’s birth. I often wonder if these birthing experiences had an impact on their early personalities (see above).

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

That it would be really hard work. I mean REALLY hard work. I actually doubt that there is anything that could have truly prepared me for how challenging it can be – except perhaps for attaching a pneumatic drill, with no off switch, to my hip and carrying that around for 4 years.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

With great difficulty. While I am in the UK I have become better at keeping my work hours fairly reasonable so I can be back in time to get the dinner ready / help with the dinner, play with the kids and take them through the bedtime routine.

However I travel a lot with work and that is a real process of negotiation between my wife (who also has a professional career), my company and the rest of the family.  This leaves very little time for me, which if I am being honest I often do find hard to reconcile.

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

While having children cemented our relationship and bought us closer together in many ways, having children has also negatively impacted on our relationship in many other ways.

There is often little opportunity to connect in ways that we used to. A lot of our day to day conversations are very pragmatic and centre on logistics and planning. We rarely have time to check in with each other on an emotional level and talk about hopes, fears and dreams like we used to. Sleep deprivation can be tough for everyone too, and it can make the smallest things seem like major obstacles.

However, we are just starting to get out again now that the little one is a little older. Up until recently we hadn’t been out together on our own for about 2 years. The thing is I found that I didn’t really want to. By the time I was getting any spare time, I was just using it to catch up on jobs around the house, personal admin or simply catching up with sleep.

Recently though we went out to a rock concert together which was great and we have found a trusted babysitter, so we are hoping to get out some more in future.

Any favourite anecdotes about your little one(s)?

I am generally a pretty good, organised and hands on father, with strong emotional intelligence that can cook for, look after and nurture his kids.

However…..

My favourite anecdote is describing the look on my wife’s face when she walked into the room after a calming and reflective week away on a residential leadership course.

She came home (unplanned and hours early I must add) to find toys, cushions and books strewn everywhere. She came in to find my daughter head first in the laundry basket, cackling and laughing as she was throwing clothes out all over the floor. She came in to see my son screeching and head banging the wall to relieve teething pain. She saw me burning dinner in the kitchen. The smoke alarm was going off. The room was thick with smoke.

Even though I was in the middle of it, the look at my wife’s face made me realise that to her it probably looked and sounded like a war zone. Her face was a picture, and to this day it still makes me laugh to think about that.

What is it about fatherhood you love?

I love the moment I walk into the house after a trip away or a day at work.

My daughter will be the first to come running, arms pumping furiously, huge dimpled smile, curly hair bobbing. She will crash into my knees, sticking like a limpet to my legs and screaming with joy.

My little man will come crawling soon after, head down, hands slapping on the floor, little bottom waddling like a duck, big gummy grin, squealing with happiness, arms outstretched imploring for a hug.

I literally get bowled off my feet with a tide of pure, sticky joy.

It is at these moments that I’m reminded that fatherhood is the most important job in the world.

It is these moments that I want to last forever.

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

I dislike having lost my old self; the old me who used to stay fit and healthy playing soccer three times a week; the old me who used to cycle everywhere; the old me who used to go running; the old me who always had time for people; the old me who used to be so spontaneous and carefree; the old me who used to be an excellent friend, son, husband and brother.

I guess it is about coming to terms with the death of my old lifestyle and the old me. I have read that you need to set time aside to mourn the passing of your old self when you have children, and equally set time aside to celebrate your new role as a parent; and I think that is true.

However I still have to come to terms with the fact that the old me has gone now. In truth it has taken a lot of time for my own expectations, and those of others close to me, to adjust to this new reality – the reality of fatherhood.

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

I love my kids, really I do, but no, I couldn’t do that, not at the moment. It would drive me insane! I wouldn’t rule it out in the future though and I would like to reduce the hours I currently work, so I get to spend a little more time with them

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

The best advice I ever heard, and would like to share back is simply to trust your instincts. By all means read books and listen to advice and opinion, but at the end of the day there is no one who knows your child like you do. You are THE world expert on your child. That is a powerful and empowering statement, when you think about it.

I also wanted to share the best thing I ever heard about being a parent. As an eternal pragmatist (and optimist) I know this following statement may sound a little pessimistic (to some readers) but it truly spoke to something inside of me.

“Neither the good times, nor the bad times, will last”

That statement has got me through some pretty dark times, particularly around the arrival of my second child, when I was getting NO sleep and my day job was becoming incredibly stressful. It helped me reflect that it wasn’t forever and that it was just a phase. I saw light at the end of the tunnel when I accepted this.

And it has also been good to reflect on this statement during the lovely times, when everything is perfect, because it has helped me to live in the moment, take nothing for granted and enjoy everything while I can, while it lasts.

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

Quite practically I think it would be to give my first child (my daughter) a little more space, and to pay attention to her body language with a little more mindfulness. It was only after 3 months that I started to realise she was giving me important information through her body language.

Up until that point we had struggled with what we thought was a colic-y, temperamental, emotional child. In hindsight, we probably misread a lot of her cues, and she might have simply been tired. We (think we) got it right with number two though……..

Also a key reflection is probably that I should have liked to have become a father a little earlier. At 38 I was quite old to be a first time father and it breaks my heart to think my father never met either of my two little ones (he died just before my daughter was born). I know he would have loved them, and they would have loved him.

I also would have liked to have become a father a little earlier because not only would I have been able to deal with the lack of sleep much better (I had incredible stamina in my late twenties and early thirties) but I realise that my time with them is precious, and I want to spend as long on this planet with them as possible.

You can connect with The_Secret_Father via twitter or email

The_Secret_Father@Hotmail.com

Or check out The_Secret_Father blog for more tongue in cheek posts and musings on modern fatherhood.

Thank you so much The Secret Father!

Let me share a secret with you

When the husband goes out to work, I stay in bed as long as I want, not really asleep though, because my daughter is an early riser.  So we usually just cuddle or I lie and she plays on our bed until she gets fed up and nags me “Get off the bed Mom!”  I then grumble out of bed and for the rest of the day, she and I are in our pyjamas, slouching like a pair of slackers.  I leave the dishes unwashed, beds unmade and the leave the living room looking like a bomb has just hit it – till he lets us know that he is on his way home.   Then I do a cleaning frenzy.

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I don’t do this all the time.  Honest!

Shh.  Please don’t tell him that his wife is a loafer and please don’t tell my mom too.  I may be 40 now, but she still scolds me like I’m still a little girl sometimes.

What about you?

Do you have any secrets?