Thursday, 29 October 2009

THE T-Shirt

There's no place quite like the Blogosphere is there? (Well, apart from the Caribbean, or Thailand or anywhere else with a bit of sun really). But you get my drift.

Just over a week ago I posted a picture of something my five-year-old daughter had written. Amongst the comments I received was a suggestion from English Mum, that it would look great as a T-Shirt, closely followed by another coment from Brighton Mum explaining the best way to do it. And while I sat back and wondered whether I had either the energy or the inclination to get off my rather lazy behind and actually do something about it, I received another e-mail. This time, it wasn't just a suggestion, but an offer.

'I can put it onto a t-shirt for you. Would you like me to?'

Erm, now let me just think about that for one milisecond.

'Yes please.'

And that's all it took. Seriously. And to think I was considering attempting to do it myself.

So, without further ado, here is THE T-Shirt.

How amazing is it? And how kind and wonderful is the person who did it for me? And all of this because of a little something called the Blogosphere.

Thank you kind people. I think I'll be sticking around for a while yet.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Yes, even more awards

So apparently I'm not Scary enough. I didn't win the 'Scary Mommy' competition and in light of that I am now miserable.

My husband has tried to cheer me up, in his typically dismissive fashion,

'Well did you really want to be scary anyway?'
'Well, no. But that's not the point. I wanted a Flip Camera'.

So in an attempt to lessen the blow, I am going to have to pull out all the awards I've been harbouring and haven't yet got round to posting....Bear with me...we could be here a while.

First up is the 'Queen of All Things Awesome' award which has been bestowed upon me by Very Bored Housewife. Thank you lovely lady. I think this will look rather wonderful on my sidebar.
The rules, as ever, are to pass it on to five other blogs which I feel are just as worthy. So, step up wonderful people, this award is just for you.

Next up is the, now infamous, Zombie Chicken award, given to me by The Wife of Bold and That Girl. Thank you my darlings. The rules for this one are as follows...

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."

I hereby pass this on to the following five blogs.

Next up, it's the 'I Love Your Blog' award which has been given to me by Baking Mad Mama and Linda at You've Got Your Hands Full. Well, I love all the blogs I read, but I don't think I've passed on awards to these lovely people before, so here goes, the award is for you.

The 'I Love your Blog As much as cake' award was offered to all the readers of Clareybabbling and Life with a Little Dude, so hey, what's another one while I'm here? Thanks ladies. I hereby pass this on to the following blogs. All as yummy as cake...

Your Blog is Bloody Brilliant was given to me by 20-Something Mum. Thanks sweetie pie - and yes, it was great to meet you too. The following blogs are Bloody Brilliant too...

The penultimate award is the 'Kreativ Blogger' given to me by the wonderful Whistlejacket at Babyrambles. Thanks honey - I'm totally chuffed to have been given this...because, well since the Pom Pom and Purse-making episodes I was hoping someone might have noticed my creative side! However, the following blogs deserve this award much more than me...go and check them out for yourselves.

And Finally, I am very honoured to have received the Circle of Friends award from the ever wonderful That Girl at Forty Not Out. It's actually a huge struggle to pass it on because I genuinely feel as though I am friends with all of my fellow bloggers and I wish I could pass it on to everyone. But the following people have been here for me from the very beginning.

Island Mum of 2
Metropolitan Mum
And that concludes the award post which has taken me four whole days to compile!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Am I a Scary Mummy?

There's a blogger from across the pond who goes by the name of Scary Mommy. Between you and me I think she's a little pussycat, but shhhhh....don't tell her I said that.

Anyhoooo, she's running a competition to see if she can find the Scariest Mommy or (Mummy) out there.

So, never one to shy away from a challenge, especially one as fabulous as this, I have decided to throw down the gauntlet...

But, firstly, you may ask, what defines 'Scary'?

Well, Scary Mommy herself defines it as...

....a mother who doesn’t leave the house wearing lipstick at all times.

So, yep, that'll be me then. Don't actually own any lipstick. I know, I know. It always seems just a little 'too much'.

...a mother who loves her kids to death, but will admit to feeling totally overwhelmed and exhausted by the gig.

Hello??? My middle name is exhaustion.

...a mother who doesn’t really care what other people think.

If I cared, I'm sure I would never have told you about the grey pubic hairs.

...a mother who thinks that all mothers win when we admit our weaknesses.

Did I mention that weakness was my other middle name?

So, there you go. Having established, that yes, I am the Scariest of scary mothers, how do I go about winning this thing?

Well, I have to submit a post by today (nothing like leaving it a little on the late side - further evidence that I am indeed very Scary), proving that very thing - that I am SCARY with a capital 'S'.

Now regular readers of this blog will have already read this one (well I did only write it three weeks ago). If I say the word 'massage', does that ring any bells? If not, then read on.

So here goes. Is this Scary enough for you, Scary Mommy?


And apparently Scary Mommy will take into account, when choosing the winner, the comments left at the end of the please lovely readers of my I not the Scariest of Scary Mummies???


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Don't kill animals

Renée, my five-year old loves animals. When she grows up she wants to be a vet or a farmer, or a marine biologist or a zookeeper. Anything, in fact that means she will get to spend her days with animals. This evening, just before bed she asked me how to spell 'become', 'extinct' and 'future'. I had no idea what she was doing, but called out the spellings anyway.

What she had written almost brought tears to my eyes. So I just thought I'd share it with you.

Friday, 16 October 2009

She's Not my Daughter

There was once a time when I was an embarrassment to my husband. I know - surely not you cry? Not me. Not me of the effortless 'I just got out of bed and look gorgeous image'. Yes, I know - I do like to make myself laugh on a Friday morning.

But, yes. Me. Me dressed in an ill-fitting, so-huge-you-look-like-a-blamange-in-a-duvet ski suit who isn't able to (a) walk a step without tripping up in ski boots or (b) carry those stupid skis that won't stay together even if they're glued, let alone rest nonchalantly on my shoulder and allow me to look at least a little bit cool.

It was truly hideous. Did I ever say I hate Skiing? Well I do.

Husband, on the other hand, is not only French, but was born and brought up in the Alps. He is, I say through gritted teeth, the epitome of French cool. Remember that ski scene in James Bond - The World Is Not Enough or the one in Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason? Well, he filmed them.

How we ever ended up together is anyone's guess.

But we did. And there we were, pre-children, pre-marriage, hanging out in Courchevel 1850 being cool. Well he was. I was just waddling after him trying not to slip up in those pesky ski boots.

And that's when it happened. The moment when I realised he was embarrassed by me.

'Oh hello (insert appropriate French name - I fear I may have blocked it out). So good to see you. It's been such a long time. No, no. I'm just here for the weekend. Oh right yes. This? This is my, er....friend, Emily'.

I grimaced.

Friend? Huh. Bloomin' cheek. I think the word you're looking for, husband-to-be, is girlfriend. Fiancée even. Future wife possibly. Partner. Love of my life. Anything. But not your bloody friend like we've just met and I've been hanging around like a bad smell.

So I think I may have not spoken to him for a while.

But it's fine. I'm over it. Really I am. Ahem.

Anyway, me dressed up as Bridget Jones isn't really the point of the story, but it's good to be reminded...

Because a couple of days ago I took my darling Renée, her of the 'I may only be 5, but I can swim and cycle and climb and run and generally do all the things my Papa can do just as easily', to the swimming pool. And do you know what? Part of me thinks it can't be true. But I'm going to confess anyway. I think I may have been a little bit embarrassed.

As I sat on the side of the pool, with the other Mothers (all of them who's children seemed to float, rather than sink), my heart fell. Why was she sinking? She's normally really good (of course she is, she's my daughter). But, seriously she is. She loves swimmng. And if she didn't, well she'd have no choice anyway because she's been going once a week since she was 4 months old and I dread to think how much money we would have wasted otherwise.

Now I'm still not sure what actually happened, other than the fact that she had temporarily forgotten how to swim, but when another Mother asked me which one my child was, rather than saying

'That one there. The one that's coughing and spluttering and sinking, and heaven forbid, possibly drowning',

I chose to be rather evasive, and instead muttered something along the lines of,

'Oh she's somewhere there. I can't really see her. They all look the same with their hats on, don't they?'

I am an awful mother.

Renéee I love you.

Husband you are forgiven. I finally understand.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Pregnancy Lows - where do I start?

When Peggy over at A Mother'Secrets asked for new posts on the subject of Pregnancy Lows, I have to admit to taking a huge breath in. I mean, seriously Peggy, how many posts can I submit? If it's not morning sickness, or bleeding, or the fear of miscarriage, then it's heartburn, leg cramps, sleepless nights, exhaustion, scary diagnosis during scans. The list of things to complain about during pregnancy really does go on and on and on.

I have a feeling that if you enjoyed your pregnancy, then you're one of the lucky few.

I hated being pregnant. In my case, it was nine months (or nearer ten as both mine were almost two weeks overdue) of pain and torture. I've already written about pregnancy weight and how depressed I felt at putting on five stone, but that wasn't all. During my first pregnancy, particularly, I suffered constant daily pain in the form of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or SPD, where too much of the hormone 'relaxin' is released. What happens as a result of this is that the ligaments literally 'soften' in preparation for childbirth and the front part of the pelvis comes apart.

What that meant on a practical level was that it was excrutiatingly painful for me to open my legs. And no jokes here, please. That couldn't have been further from my mind. Save from sitting down and not moving, there wasn't much I was able to do. Every activity caused me pain, from walking and climbing stairs to turning over in bed at night and getting in and out of the car and bath.

Although anyone can suffer from SPD, I always felt like I was predisposed to it. It may be a joint and ligament problem, but the root cause is hormonal. And for me, that came as no surprise. A few years earlier I had been diagnosed with a pituitary tumour (something which Liz from Living with Kids has also experienced). The pituitary gland, which is situated at the front of your brain, controls all the hormones in your body. Although benign, the tumour had begun to press on my optic nerve and following a course of drugs, had failed to shrink. So eventually it was removed by breaking through my skull and literally sucking it out through my nose.

The results, thankfully, were great - so much so that I was actually able to get pregnant in the first place. However, I couldn't help but think that, as a result, my hormone production was slightly up the spout. Could my body have produced an excess of relaxin which in turn softened my ligaments just a little too much? Who knows. What I do know, though, is that whatever the cause, I spent the whole of my first pregnancy in hideous pain.

During my second pregnancy, at only two and a half months in, before I even had a bump to show for it, I was hit with the same agonising pain. I remember leaving the house one day, walking a few steps down the road and being stopped in my tracks. The pain was so bad I couldn't continue on my walk. I turned around, hobbled home and sat on the sofa and cried. To think that I had seven months of constant pain ahead of me was almost too much to bear.

But, just a few days later, I happened upon an article in a local magazine about an osteopath who specialised in pregnancy-related problems, including SPD. I made an appointment straight away. Unbelievably, I had managed to find someone who made possible all that was impossible during my first pregnancy. Thanks to him, not only was I able to move around relatively pain-free (which is just as well since by that time I had a toddler to look after), but I only put on three stone rather than five.

It's unfortunate that I hadn't had the benefit of his expertise during my first pregnancy, but I have to be thankful that I had it all. My first pregnancy was hideous, my second bearable. But, when I look at my two little monkeys, I wouldn't change it for the world. What's nine months of pain when you have an amazing little creature at the end of it all? Having said that, I won't be going through it again in the near future, if I can help it.

Babies are gorgeous. Pregnancy sucks...

Friday, 9 October 2009

Love for my stepdaughter

Not many of you know this, but as well as being Mother to my two little monkeys, I am also a step-mother to an almost 18-year-old. I haven't ever mentioned her on this blog because, well (a) I've never asked her permission (erm, still haven't actually, so Als - please don't hold this against me) and (b) she doesn't live with us, so on a day-to-day basis my role as step mother isn't a hugely active one. However, I've just read a thread for a discussion on British Mummy Bloggers about being a step parent, and I thought 'well yes, I guess that does apply to me', so in light of that, and the fact that she's coming to stay for the weekend, I thought I'd share with you a little bit about Alex.

I first met Alex when she was five years old, the age that Renée, my eldest is now. Her father and I had just worked together on our maiden job (filming a team climbing Mont Blanc) and we were collecting her from Lyon airport where she'd been staying with her grandparents, to bring her back home to Bath, where she still lives now. Although her father and I weren't 'together' at that point, I was already developing a little crush on him and was therefore anxious that his daughter would like me. (And before you start thinking of me as a hideous homewrecker, her parents had already split-up before we met...just thought I'd clear that up)!

'Can I brush your hair?' she asked me as we sat down at the cafe. 'Tu est tres jolie'. (And for those of you who don't speak French, she told me that I was very pretty). I knew we'd get along...(She also told me that I had hairy arms, but hey, I forgive her. She was five at the time).

And now she's almost 18 and I still find her just as enchanting as she was 13 years ago. I'd like to say that we've had our 'moments', but actually I can't remember a time when we haven't got on. She's been a teenager and slammed doors and wanted to wear clothes that weren't exactly appropriate for either the weather or her age, but I don't think we've ever argued about a thing.

Alex, correct me if I'm wrong. My memory isn't what it used to be! And besides, I still have manflu so my judgement could be somewhat clouded. But seriously, I love you and I care so much about you and despite the fact that you're now taller than me and have bigger boobs (yes, for those of you that know me I know that's not saying much - be kind), I will always feel protective of you.

Alex, my darling, you are amazing. You are everything I could ever hope for my daughters to be. You are so beautiful and bright and clever and funny and kind and kind of cool too. If I was your age, I'd want you to be my friend. I want to hang out with you and laugh and share all the things that you share with your friends. I look at you and know that you could do anything you ever wanted to do with your life. You have that special thing about you. You impress me. Thank you for being such a wonderful person, a fantastic stepdaughter and an amazing big sister.

This morning, your little sister, Edie, was in a bad mood...a two-year-old bad mood which involved a total refusal to cooperate in any way. She didn't want to get out of bed, she cried and made herself rigid when I attempted to put her clothes on, she ran away and hid when I told her that it was time to go to nursery. I thought 'Crikey, this is going to be a looooooong day', but then I remembered you were coming to stay for the weekend and I knew that the moment I told her, she would change her mood around.

And she did.

'Alex is coming to stay Edie', I told her. 'She'll be here tomorrow morning when you wake up'.

She stopped crying at once. She smiled. She even did a little dance. And in that one moment, I was so grateful for you, even though you weren't here, and I just wanted to let you know how much your sisters adore you, as we all do.

Thank you for always loving them and never once feeling resentful that they came along. You are a truly special person.

And by the way, don't think that you'll be sleeping in tomorrow morning because Renée has already told me that the first thing she's going to do when she wakes up is to jump on your bed.

You have been warned.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

I feel like sulking

I hate this weather. I really do. Not only have I had to trade in my flip flops for Winter boots (which I incidentally discovered, following a rather wet sock yesterday morning, have a hole in), but I also feel totally unmotivated to do anything other than sit in front of a computer googling hot countries and last minute getaways.

Oh yes, and eat chocolate biscuits.

And my husband is away so I can even eat chocolate biscuits for supper if I want to.

So that's what I'm doing.

I'm eating chocolate biscuits and feeling crap cos I'm eating chocolate biscuits.

And I think I have manflu coming on too, judging by the amount of Strepsils I have consumed in a single day and the very inconvenient moments at which my nose has chosen to run (whilst Tesco delivery man was asking if I was happy with the substitutions made and at a children's birthday party this afternoon whilst speaking to other mothers). In neither situation did I have a tissue at the ready.

So there you go. I'm ill and tired and can't think of one funny thing to write.

And to add insult to injury my husband has been sending me photos of what he's currently 'working' on.

Maybe I wouldn't be feeling so bad if he hadn't reminded me what my life used to be like before I became a Mother.

Hmph. I'm off to sulk.

And just in case you were concerned, no animals were harmed during the taking of this photo. He's a cameraman. And we used to work together.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Grey hairs in all the wrong places

I found my first grey hair when I was eight years old. Seriously. I discovered it during a Maths lesson. I remember it well because Maths lessons generally saw me sitting at the back of the class, desperately looking around for something else to do other than concentrate on what was laid out in front of me. At the time, I found twiddling my hair to be far more pleasurable.

And so it was in the midst of one of these twiddles that I happened upon the hair, glistening in all its glory amongst the brown ones.

I was shocked, but almost peversely delighted at this very grown-up discovery. I couldn't contain my excitement and felt I had to tell the teacher. I remember the fact that she thought it was paint.

But it wasn't.

And then slowly I discovered more.

And more.

But not all when I was eight. Don't worry. It did take a few years.

And then when I was in my early 20's I decided to experiment with highlights and before I knew it, someone had referred to me as blonde. I looked in the mirror and realised that they were right. But hey, at least it covered the grey.

And then a couple of years ago I discovered a grey eyebrow. I was incredulous. A grey eyebrow at 33? I pulled it out.

And thought nothing more of it.

That was until, I made an even more shocking discovery only a few days ago. One which I decided to share with my husband as we were lying in bed.

"I found grey pubic hairs you know", I told him.

He looked at me, eyes widening, a frown forming. I think I may even have detected distaste.

Crikey, I thought. It's not that shocking, is it? I mean, I do have a fair few on my head, a couple in my eyebrows, and well, isn't that just the natural progression?

I felt rather affronted at his reaction.

That was until I heard his response.

"Who do they belong to?"

I almost wet myself laughing.

For crying out loud husband. Who do you think they belong to? The postman?

They're mine you fool.

I think he cottoned on in the end...