Just January

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So we have finally come to a close on the first month of the year and I must admit it certainly hasn’t been the worst I’ve had. Long yes, bad no. Nothing amazing has happened, we did paint our living and dining room and I started to ‘Marie Kondo’ my drawers but that’s about as whizzy as it got. BUT and a big but was I didn’t expect much from it and that was the key and something I probably had never done before… It was always going to be better that that of 2018 which was a bit of a shit show for a number or reasons but even in spite of that I’ve certainly come out standing tall, so to speak.

I think the pressure of January can upend many and really what I’ve learnt is if you are just a bit kinder with your goals and expectations then in fact February may well be a month where more will get achieved.

Next month food and fitness are the focus in our family for February-all the ‘F’s. Moving my body is something I never regret as much as I mostly dread it. Food is a focus for the boys..Max is a much better eater than Josh but is not without some of his older brothers bad habits. I plan to bounce them of each other, snack less-try some new things, even if it’s a tiny bite and work towards a better overall eating plan for them both. For us it’s moving more and making it consistent, it can so easily fall off the weekly routine when busy or tired so trying to make sure we fit it in is key.

So that’s it.. again no big goals just a re focus for February. Spring is here so brighter evenings are something to look forward too!

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Anxiety is an asshole

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I’ve written about this on here before but as this year comes to a close and I reflect on the last year, previous posts and all that has happened one overriding feeling unfortunately was anxiety.

This year for numerous reasons has not been our best. I don’t say this lightly as I detest negativity and I prefer to have a positive outlook but for me this year old habits have crept in and I feel there was a method of survival taking place.

My ‘safe place’ is that old feeling of fear and yet when I’m in it I feel very far from safe. The worst part of the pattern of behaviour creeping back in is that in a small way, despite me thinking I’m hiding it from him I think Josh has picked up on my ill feeling and I suspected this before-kids are clever and resilient but this is not something I feel he should need to feel/see or experience on any level. He’s already sensitive and very in tune and it’s my belief that it could be, even in a small way affecting him so for this and for me I have to get out of these habits-make positive changes and make these feelings keep at bay at a less regular occurrence than they have be in the year that has been 2018. It’s for me, my husband and both my boys.

Routine, exercise, fresh air works well for me and consistency. I’m lucky in so many ways so I get annoyed at the way I feel at times but I know regardless of what I have or don’t have true anxiety is not based on this. With kids you can not always predict a day or a week sometimes with sleep/moods or just general #parentlife stuff.

Changing habits will be key for me I feel in the first part of the year so that may mean stopping or slowing down things I enjoy… eating celebrations for example-lols. No seriously , one thing that’s a daily habit that I do enjoy for both personal and blog purposes is social media but for me and so many it’s such a habit forming behaviour. So for January, just to break the ‘habit’ there will be no daily stories, only very grid worthy sharing and some highlights dotted throughout the month… I enjoy Instagram but spend far too much time scrolling so if this habit break makes me meditate, read or even sleep more then it’s a habit worth breaking. Bye bye big WhatsApp groups too as looking at my overall screen time with such apps nearly gave me heart failure in itself!

So no new year new me, just back to ‘me’ for now will do!

Happy New Year and thanks as always for reading my ramblings.

Christmas Traditions with Dealz

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I was working with Dealz again this Christmas which if you watch my stories regularly, you will see is a no brainier for me. I’m already a regular shopper and got so many questions about the elf light that I shared earlier this month and we still love. I’ve been picking up lots of lovely bits late November and early December with décor and gift wrapping starting at only 1.50.

 

Anyway some of the products I’ll be showing you is around traditions and as a mum, building traditions wimy boys is very important to me and never more so than at Christmas time. As the get older some of those are changing, this year writing the santa letter, the toy show and selection boxes were a big deal. 

 

We love to go into town and see the live crib and the gingerbread houses/train in the Shelbourne. There is the annual Santa visit and Christmas Eve in town.. All these things add to the excitement and special time of year that it is.

 

This year is the first year of Josh in school at Christmas so we have had Christmas shows and carol services. We have teacher to consider too so we made a card and a kitty’s was added to to thank her for settling Junior Infants in so well this first term. 

 

We’ve done a Christmas Eve box the last few years and with shops like Dealz it’s made even easier now-I just add new jammies to wear Christmas, a little toy/game and a treat along with a book to read Christmas Eve night. Now with Pep & Co in lots of the Dealz stores nationwide you can get all you need under one roof which makes it super handy too!


Today was busy, with work, shows, some final jobs and shopping to be done but it’s now time to kick back-enjoy the weekend with family and friends and look forward to the peak excitement that will arrive on Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day too. 


Have a happy Christmas and looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings!

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Mid Term with the Monkeys

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It is our first mid term which means a bit of jiggling with days off and camps etc but after after the last couple of months settling into school and not doing very much in the afternoons we have an action packed week ahead.

First up we kicked off our weekend with the yummy Halloween themed offbeat donuts.. no better way to start a weekend I say.

 

Then today we were very excited to head to Lugwoods Halloween Adventure-we loved the Easter event so we were really looking forward to this. I think there are tickets still on sale and it runs until next Sunday. See my stories for more!

Tomorrow we are going to go up to the Halloween House of Horrors which is in aid of the charity Debra.

Then Monday we are off to our fav Scalpwood Pumpkins Patch-this has gotten bigger over the years but we love the simplicity of it and it is a bonus that we can get our pumkin carved there too. There is still some availability for the weekend and early next week here too.

 

Tuesday I am off to a cute Halloween Biscuit Decoration Class in Arboretum Kilquade with Josh-I think this might be booked up but worth calling them for later in the week if it sounds like something you would like to do. We are then off to Airfield’s Halloween.

 

Wednesday is the ‘big day’ so Max has a party in playschool and Josh is with his granny so they will make colcannon for dinner and later we will get dressed up for a fun trick or treat around our estate and the excitement of seeing the trick or treaters arrive to our door. Where we live is full of kids so there is always a lot of fun to be had and the houses are brilliantly decorated each year.

On Thursday my husband is off with the boys so is bringing them to a spooky storytelling in Dundrum Library to finish off a fun filled week!

 

2 years parenting 2

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Max is 2 this day next week. Well that was a whirlwind and I have no doubt the years ahead will be too.

I love seeing their bond grow and as an only child myself it is magical to watch. I have found it quite the rollercoaster and the jump from one to two quite a mountain to climb but I almost don’t want to say it but it is starting to get a littttllle easier. Max is starting to come into his own and Josh is turning into an independent if a little stubborn young boy and I have learnt some things to make it a little easier along the way.

 

Birthdays are always a time for reflection I find and looking back on the last 2 years I can see how a few small changes as we transitioned through parenting 2 has helped. Here are a few of the things that have helped me personally with a lot more to learn I know for sure.

 

Acceptance-I think this is the biggest thing when you suddenly realise any semblance of your old life or whatever life you had left with one child is most certainly changed and will not be reverting back with that glimmer of hope you had with your first child. However this is not all doom and gloom, it is just a different way of navigating and finding alternative ways.

 

Letting Go-As the saying goes-Don’t sweat the small stuff. As life gets busier what has helped me a great deal is just letting go a little and realising that sometimes ‘it’s just not possible’ and being ok with that.

 

Lowering your standards-Again this isn’t a negative thing, for me it has been positive. Whilst I still and always will have a base line standard on some things I have definitely learnt to let go of perfection and have realised sometimes by doing that it is just perfect.

 

Saying No/Making Less Plans-I have definitely said no to things more in the last 2 years than before for a number of different reasons but I have learnt that planning too much into a week or even a day usually does not always end well.

 

Stop Chasing the Sleep-I got this nugget of advice from my return to work coach over a year ago now. At the time I had one almost 4 year old that was still regularly waking and an almost one year old still waking for feeds during the night. Now one year on I am not getting significantly more sleep, my now almost 5 year old takes ages to finally drop off these day which drives me insane and my almost 2 year old still wakes for a bottle ( I know, I know)-my husband has mastered this turnaround in record time but I am accepting that this blurry tired haze that sometimes hits you like a train is just part and parcel. I’ve stopped chasing and just embrace the extra hour or two when I can whether that be an early night or the odd extra hour at the weekend.

 

Keeping things Simple-This has been adopted more and more in recent months in our house and its working well. Of course we still like to go on exciting adventures and I hope for the day that my sons will eat a rainbow worth of food but sometimes a trip to the local park and fish fingers with a waffle is just fine.

 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up-It’s impossible to be the perfect parent and each person makes different choices for different reasons. Sometimes the boys have too much screen time as I get the dinner done or put on a wash, sometimes I shout when I shouldn’t have but we are human and we can only do our best with what we have got. Once a child is fed, loved & happy that is all they really need and some of the mistakes you make along the way is most likely not going to have a big impact on those basic needs.

 

Enjoying it-Last but by no means least, enjoy and embrace the madness. 2 boys is busy but it is wonderful too. You can be so caught up in the madness of it all and then you catch them together playing or having a cuddle on the couch or even sometimes having rough and tumble and your heart almost bursts with love and you know that for every year that passes it’s just going to get better and better.

Childminder Checklist

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In my last post I spoke about the chaos of September but one real positive was us finding a super Mary Poppins style minder for the boys two afternoons a week.

It was a big change for us and I’m not going to lie I was quite apprehensive. We’d come from creche life for the last 3 years for both boys and despite a few bumps along the way we had an overall great experience with our chosen creche dimples. There was an ease and a security in that route that we were both familiar with and felt comfortable with.

Finding someone was one of my major initial concerns. It was only 2 afternoons a week and most seemed to be looking for more work..

Where to start, what to ask etc etc. A midfield really. So I started with the basics-a printed sign. I searched a little on Mind Me and registered with Rollercoaster and a few texts came back but nothing that suited. The final 2 we interviewed actually came about from a sign I had put up in our local supermarket-one started with us and the other lovely lady has gone to work for a friend. So here is my little guide on how we and you might find looking for a childminder a little easier!

 

FIRST STAGES:

·         Don’t look too soon-about 4-6 weeks in advance is about right

·         I’d hold off registering with any of the paid sights-you can look at them but not make contact-try free options first-Rollercoaster, Word of Mouth and Signs in local Supermarkets/Notice Boards

Sample Sign Below:

Childminder Wanted

Childminder required for Thursday and Friday afternoons from mid-August. 2 boys aged 4.5 & 1.5. School picks ups local-****

Contact ***** if interested.

 

SECOND STAGE:

·         Have a standard response text ready for people enquiring with your main requirements-do they drive, hours/days of work etc

·         Shortlist your responses-2/3 is plenty to meet

·         For the potential minders first arrange a phone call & ask the main questions ({see below}

·         Once you are happy with one or two then it is time to meet the kids and see how they interact-in an ideal world they are only meeting your main contender so they do not get confused. For us this meeting was key.

FINAL STAGE:

·         Once you have decided on your minder agree some settle time-one of these hours should be free of charge and I would suggest another hour or two that you add onto the first payment. You will also  need to consider showing her/him the workings of your house during one of these meetings-simple things like alarm/oven/where stuff is kept/tv where applicable etc. At this point I would also talk through food for the kids, general rules, nap schedules, homework duties, clearing of kids food and toy items at the end of the day etc.

·         Summarise via text/email or in writing if you prefer some areas of agreement: working hours, days off they take, days off you take, payment, holidays-the boring but also important stuff to clarify from the beginning.

·         Arrange a start date and expect the first week or so to be a time of adjustment for you all and then you should fly it.

 

Questions for your childminder:-use in an order you feel is appropriate and some you may leave out or add some of your own but this is a guide to get you started!

 

1.       What are your interests outside of work?

2.       What is your experience previous to this? Are you currently working for another family?

3.       Are you first aid trained and garda vetted?

4.       What type of activities do you like to do with the kids you mind?

5.       Talk me through a typical day.

6.       Do you prepare food or should we provide meals to be heated?

7.       Are you happy to bring children to afterschool activities?

8.       How do you deal with discipline when required?

9.       Are you a non-smoker?

10.   Did you do housework for your previous employers?

11.   Do you work mid terms/holidays and are available for full days at this time?

12.   If you are requesting all day or there is a school drop involved you may want to talk about punctuality.

There are probably a few bits that you would include or take out and as I said above it can be a bit of a mind field but a few weeks in now and all the routines have settled down, it is working well for us. To be honest all the questions in world will not outweigh your instinct when you meet someone so put any natural reservations you have aside and go with your gut!