Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Quart into a pint pot...

.. that's how this move is starting to feel! I have sold lots, given away lots and dumped lots but still seem to have too much in my house...

The kids are losing a playroom and getting a smaller bedroom. I am losing 3 bedrooms, a dining room and my bedroom is shrinking by 75%...

They have lots of toys/DVDs and I have lots of books/photos/memorabilia and I have no idea how its all going to fit a) into the Luton van I've booked b) into our new house!

Aargh - my parents are panicking about how much is going to end up in their garage ;-)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A Tale of 4 Moves...

In advance of my 4th move in 11 years I started to reflect on how different each were and what significant changes they represented ...

Move 1 - First Own Home

My parents must have let off great sighs of relief when I finally moved out of their home at the grand old age of 28! A combination of student debt and high property prices meant I wasn't in a position to afford a mortgage until 4 years after I left university. This was a low key removal affair - my dad and I with a large transit van doing a couple of shuttle runs to move my hand me down furniture and personal possessions the 10 miles down the road. It was only a 2 bed flat so I needed very little and got a good deal buying my new cooker, fridge/freezer and TV as package. The only brand new furniture was an MFI wardrobe.

Move 2 - Togetherness

This was the start of life with my fiance. He had just agreed the purchase of 4 bedroom house to make more space for his 3 children to visit. I only saw the house the week we moved in. This time as we were combining two 2 bedroom properties we hired a Luton Van. With the help of a couple of mates we spent a day driving from one side of town to the other. Between us we completely furnished the place and only needed to buy a larger family size fridge freezer.

Move 3 - Expanding Family

When I became pregnant my husband wanted to reduce the mortgage payments and still have more space to we moved 100 miles to a 6 bedroom Edwardian terrace needing lots of renovation. I had sold my flat a few months previously so we had the funds to pay for a complete removal service. A team of men spent several days packing up all our possessions and transporting them in a full sized removal lorry. They transported the seats from my car so I could transport 2 rabbits plus hutch and a tropical fish tank plus its inhabitants.

Move 4 - Family Breakup

This latest move is having to be very low budget as I am on limited income. I've hired a van and hopefully a mate is driving or I have a quick round trip! Packing is going very slowly around other commitments and is being done by myself, a friend plus my parents when they can visit. I am going to a house about 1/3 the size of the current one and so have to dispose of a lot of things from the house. Some things that moved here from the previous property should have been binned before that move!! Selling some of the items is quite disheartening as you get nowhere near what you paid for them but they have to go so getting something is better than nothing...

I will be in the new place for a minimum of 12 months as that is the length of the lease so will probably be moving again in a year! At least by downsizing our possessions now that should be a lot less stressful - well I hope so...

Friday, 16 July 2010

The Gallery: Sleeping Beauty

I've missed a few galleries but its now week 20 so I'm jumping back in with Tara's latest challenge to represent a novel or children's tale. As I was going through iPhoto I came across my Sleeping Beauty so here she is:

This was at a medieval festival and I had taken her to the beer tent in the cart!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Attitude or Emotion?

My 6 year old daughter's behaviour is driving me round the twist even more than normal since her brother came back from his holiday away. She is doing lots of things that are either her just going through a phase or as a result of what she is going through. It is very hard to tell which and therefore how to deal with them!

Her attitude is more 13 than 6 with her not listening to what I say, stropping about things and doing things her way. Lying is a more regular occurrence - sometimes for the right reasons but more often to try and get out of trouble. She has cut her hair and her clothes - including a brand new top. From somewhere she has picked up spitting in mine or her brother's face when not getting her way.

Emotionally its like a roller coaster and with her being a good actress its not always possible to tell if its real or false. When her dad first left she was very clingy but this had eased off. It is now back in force. One day this week I said goodbye at school before assembly but not afterwards (well I'd already done it once!). Apparently once she realised I'd gone she hid underneath a table and cried most of the morning. When I came back at lunch she was right as rain with no sign of anything having happened.

Whenever there is a suitable replacement "father figure" around she engages in very physical play with them. This is true even when she doesn't know them very well and I ask her to stop! There are plenty of bemused men in my social circle at the moment luckily many are dads themselves and can cope but I need to get her to moderate this.

I am not sure how much of this will stop once the stress of moving is done and dusted and how much will carry on in the longer term. I don't want her getting a reputation at her new school as her current one know what a delightful child she is most of the time. All I can do is tell her I love her and praise the positive lovely side and try and ignore the minority bad.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Blog of Substance Award

The gorgeous Mrs L J Hall has nominated me for a Blog of Substance Award 

1) Give groveling gratitude filled thanks to the blogger who awarded you
2) Share your five word blogging philosophy
3) Nominate further bloggers of substance

The easy bit is the first one. It's lovely that such a fab blogger thinks I'm worthy of an award - so please go and check her blog out especially for support on getting through divorce and crappy ex husbands ;-)
So now the first of the hard ones my five word blogging philosophy:
  1. Release
  2. Sharing
  3. Caring
  4. Fun
  5. Community
Phew got that out of the way now to nominate some other lovely bloggers.... so many I could choose but many have been nominated already so here are a few that I really enjoy:

Over to you lovely ladies ;-)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Situation Vacant

Job Title: Father Figure

Requirements (as per DD): Good looking, slim, rich, fun, have a dog

Applications: to DD as she will vet any potential new man in my life

Time frame: if DD had her way tomorrow, for me not until dust settled on divorce

So far she has offered me the potential of:

  • a recently separated dad from her school
  • "John the Plasterer" who's van we keep driving past
  • the security guard who offered to buy me a beer after I gave him some sun cream
  • Steve Backshall from Deadly 60 - she does sometimes have good taste ;-)

This could be a long drawn out process and hopefully once she has her Gramps in her life on a regular basis she may not be so desperate!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Perpetual Picnics

This is something I mentioned in a previous post about going to Legoland and I thought I would expand on it!

  • So what is a perpetual picnic and when do you need one? 
    It is a picnic that lasts all day and you don't need to sit down to eat it! So ideal for trips to theme parks etc. when you don't have time to stop or you are spending 30 minutes plus in a queue for a ride.
  • What sort of things are good for a perpetual picnic?

    Anything that you can eat holding in your hands without needing a plate and won't melt or make a big mess:

    crudities and dip
    cherry tomatoes
    bread sticks
    small sandwiches
    mini sausage rolls
    mini pork pies
    mini egg bites (basically anything bite sized from your supermarket!)
    melon slices
    pre-segmented mandarins etc.
    dried fruit
    fairy cakes
    small non-chocolate biscuits
  • what about drinks?

    small cartons of juice
    bottles of water
    any re-sealable soft drinks
    flask of tea / coffee
  • anything that is no good?

    things that melt in your hand
    if it needs more than a couple of bites its probably too big

So pack up your cool bags and go out and enjoy days out with the kids. Taking a perpetual picnic saves time and money that you can then use on something more exciting ;-)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Swimming with or against the tide?

Having received counseling for depression this month I am now trying to stop seeing things as positive & negative and more in terms of more or less helpful. The man I spoke to was quite surprised I was even remotely positive having experienced all 5 of the worst stresses in life in less than 12 months!

I am in a much better frame of mind now than I was just after the death of my grandfather and the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be getting closer. In less than a month I will be moving closer to my family and the support they can offer. This is definitely one of the most helpful things I can do for myself and the kids. The rental agreement is signed and the moving van has been paid for.

Yes I still have a lot of work to do before I can move but I am no longer panicking about it. Surplus items are slowly being sold off or given away and the amount that I have to take with me is reducing.

The Incredible Years parenting course I am attending is providing me with tools I need to get my kids back on track after the upheavals they have suffered. They seem mostly happy about the move as they have seen their new home and schools. My daughter has tried on her new uniform and is looking forward to starting in September, she also has a place in Beavers in the same village. I just got her school report and she is at the expected level or ahead in all subjects. There are behaviour and attitude issues but these are improving.

My son has had his place in nursery confirmed. He will be eased in slowly so he can get used to it all. Unfortunately if nothing changes he will be in for afternoons only. This does makes the school runs easier as he will finish 30 minutes after his sister and there is no overlap in the morning. It does mean I won't get a whole day to myself unless my parents step in. I was hoping that he could be in for 2 whole and 1 half days a week to help him get prepared for "big" school in 2011.

Having my son away for 10 days gave me a chance to catch up on some sleep even though I didn't get as much done for the move as I hoped! I did enjoy not having the mad rush around of double school runs but filled up the "free" time with helping out other people or catching up on paperwork / meetings... My daughter loved having me to herself and we packed a lot of girlie time in (despite me giving myself food poisoning!!)

Last night's bedtime shenanigins did wear me out but I've really enjoyed spending time today with my son after his holiday. He has given me lots of cuddles and kisses and it's been lovely. Big sister will have to get used to sharing me again and hopefully if she catches up on her sleep she will be back to her cheerful self...

So let's hope I am now swimming with the tide and no longer going against it and feeling like I am drowning.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Bedtime merry-go-round

Having been spoilt for 10 days of only having 1 child to get to bed I'd forgotten how bad bedtime can be with 2...

  1. Child 1 upstairs, persuade into PJs, clean teeth, story, bed
  2. Go downstairs "mummy can I have a drink" (child 1)
  3. Take drink to child 1
  4. Child 2 "mummy I'm hungry/thirsty"
  5. Make snack for child 2
  6. All gone quiet upstairs so start child 2 on bedtime routine...
  7. Discover child 1 still awake
  8. Both children in PJs read them bedtime story into bed
  9. Go downstairs "mummy can I have a drink" (child 2)
  10. Take drink to child 2
  11. False sense of tranquility as goes quiet for 15-20 minutes
  12. Child 2 shouts at child 1 - "shut up I'm trying to sleep"
  13. Tell child 2 to move to my room to escape child 1
  14. Child 1 starts crying as child 2 has shut my door and he can't get in
  15. Child 2 decides to comfort child 1 by letting him join her in my bed
  16. False sense of tranquility as goes quiet for 15-20 minutes
  17. Child 2 "mummy he won't let me sleep"
  18. Evict child 1 from my bed by turning off light so he seeks bedside light in his room
  19. It's all gone quiet (after 3 hours!)