Well, after an unexpected break from blogging it is now back in business. I am determined more than ever to re-invigorate my little corner of the internet and bring it back to life.

A lot has changed in the 10 months since my last blog post. For one we have a brand new addition to the family. Yes we have gone from a normal little life of three which was just becoming all that more easy, to utter chaos again. Our new little bub, Brody, arrived at the very end of January and I now look back at my posts from last year and can’t believe he has only just arrived!

I had planned on blogging my entire pregnancy journey, however after a very sick first few months and suffering from extreme exhaustion all whilst still juggling a very demanding job, a busy family life and a house move, I found it difficult to dedicate the time to even keep it updated with our adventures.

My entire pregnancy (up until 37 weeks) I felt a nervousness and an overwhelming panicking feeling that when it came to my due date I was not going to bring a baby home from the hospital. It was the most ridiculous feeling, even more so now writing it down. For this reason I kept our little secret very quiet and only let a very few in on it. Every second has still been recorded on my macbook; I have diaries full of details and updates  from every week and my plan is to retrospectivly blog them.

When it came to the start of 2018 I had committed to myself i would start this up again, but struggled to find the time once again. Now that I am on maternity leave I really want to make the effort to keep this up to date as a record of our little family life as the kids grow.

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2018 bucketlist

What is the start of a new year if you don’t make promises to yourself that you have no intention of keeping past the first two weeks of January? I’ve figured this year, instead of a resolution, I would make a bucket list of sorts. Things I really wanted to do by the end of the year. 2018 is going to be a massive year of change for us, we are expanding our little family of three to a family of four and whilst I am terrified of how we will be able to handle this, I am also really excited about what new adventures this will bring us.

House goals

Having just moved house to somewhere that really isn’t my style, it’s no surprise that top of our bucket list this year is to get the house into a state that is acceptable and liveable. We started on Rileys room last year, it still needs finished, but we also have a few more rooms to make suitable to bring a baby home to. These are the first goals I need to have finished this year in time for our impending arrival. Ones I will also record on the blog this year as I am determined and daft enough to want to do it all myself (i.e. queue lots of ridiculous moments and memories!).

Replace bathroom carpet

Yes you did read this right! Replace the CARPET in the bathroom. Yuk. This absolutely needs to go! I am hoping to have this as an urgent January fix and to get some vinyl down quickly, as anything is better than carpet! The rest of the bathroom is grotty and horrible, but not something which we are willing to spend money on, so will have to be dealt with for the time being.

Finish Riley’s room

We started this room last year, however, given prioritisation, now that its painted, a bit more draft proof and new carpet down, there are other rooms which now take priority before the baby comes this year. I still need to add finishing touches, like adding his shelves, and sorting his furniture out.

Re-decorate the master bedroom

This one is quite a big one. This is the room the baby will sleep in for his first few months of life and as of yet, has only had the paper stripped off the walls. Unfortunately, the carpet in this room smells horrendous and needs urgently replaced. We also think there could be some damp in this room and a few large cracks in the walls. The heating is also terrible and is the coldest room in the house. Not ideal for a newborn. So the next three weeks of my life will be spent getting this room ready for a newborn to come home to.

Decorate the living room

This is probably the one room in the whole house which requires little work. It just isn’t my style however, and as such will be a room which still needs work to allow me to enjoy living in it. The carpet in this room is probably the only carpet which is in an acceptable condition and therefore is definitely a job for later in the year, but before my maternity leave pay kicks in.

Replace the hall carpet

The hall is such a small room, I am not sure if I am too worried about the décor here. Well its not great, but in the grand sceme of things, its really not the worst room in the house! However, the carpet smells like dog so again, that needs to go as soon as it can and be replaced.

Garden

The problem with rented homes, unless you have a letting agent who are really diligent, is that there are always parts of the house which will be neglected and not looked after. Not only has the majority of this house not been looked after, neither has the garden. I really dislike gardens which require a lot of work. A little bit of grass, some stones and I’d be happy! Unfortunately, this house has hedges surrounding it, trees, bushes and hanging plants down the side of the house. These have all become completely overgrown and there really is no other way to describe the condition of it other than jungle. So the first garden job…

Tackle the jungle

When we moved in there was leaves covering every square inch of ground outside the house. Kevin cleared most of this from the front of the house, but the previous tenants had chucked everything into the garden at the side preventing access to the back to clear them from here. We have cut back some of the branches which were likely to cause injury to anyone walking past, but there are so many issues inside the house, it’s just not going to get a look in till summer! Ideally I want everything cut back as much as possible and to pull a lot of the dead plants and bushes from the ground and start again.

Re-Do the patio

The garden is a little sun trap and sees the sun for the majority of the day in the summer. The only issue I think we will have is that size of the patio. It is fairly small, and I reckon the bushes in front of it will prevent some of the last of the sun from reaching it. These bushes are dead and will not grow very well anymore so my plan is to rip them out and extend the patio out a little further to give us more space to sit out and enjoy the sun.

Plant and look after some flowers

This is a Riley ask. When we told him we were getting a garden, other than “can I play in it?” his next question was could he plant some flowers. He has such an amazing fascination with nature; plants and animals alike and I would love to nurture this. Its something I don’t think I’ve ever cared about before, but seeing how enthusiastic and excited he gets about talking about these things, it makes my heart fill up!

Have a BBQ

My sister planned a family BBQ for my dads 60thlast year and Kevin ended up becoming a “Master BBQ’er”. This means he would like a BBQ every night it is sunny this year. I don’t think that will happen somehow, but once we get the garden in shape and have someone to host a BBQ, it would be fun to have some friends/family over for one.

Family

I’m not sure why changing our family dynamic worries me so much, but it really does! I want to do as much as possible to settle us into family life again after the upheaval a new baby brings.

Take a day trip as a family of four

This is something I would like to manage again, quite quickly when baby arrives. Obviously not for the first few weeks, but I would love to be able to go out as a family of four and manage a successful day trip!

Have a mini staycation

We won’t be going far this year. Between me being on maternity leave and so much of our money going on this house, we just can’t afford it. But I would like an overnight stay with all four of us somewhere nice!

Visit the beach and build sandcastles

Yes, we do live beside the sea. Yes, I have managed occasionally to visit the beach, but I really dislike going! We never make an effort to go to the beach other than a few times last year in the cold. I want to make a conscious effort to take Riley to the beach when it is warm so that he can play on the sand and build a sandcastle.

Have an ice-cream by the sea

Another one of Riley’s asks is to have an ice-cream at the beach. Again another one you think would be easy given where we live, but it really is difficult to fit in.

Visit a museum

My aim is for this to be a transport museum for Riley to enjoy, but any museum will do! A cultural family day is exactly what is required here

Have a picnic

I used to go on many picnics in the summer with my family when I was a child, however, its only something we have managed twice in the last three or four years.

Visit the Falkirk wheel and Kelpies

This is something that has been on my list ever since Riley turned 1. This year I would love to make it to somewhere on my doorstep that should be relatively easy to get to.

Have a day out at Kadonas

This is a sort of amusement park that I remember seeing pictures of one of my friends going to last year. We were always going to go, but time seemed to run away with us

Go Bowling

Who doesn’t love bowling?! I used to go to birthday parties at the bowling alley and loved it! As I found more freedom as a teenager we frequently used to take the train to Ayr to go bowling at LA Bowl. It was awesome and I would really love to go again sometime. Unfortunatly Dundee has no bowling alley (yes this is really crazy!) so we will need to travel a bit further afield for this one

Go wild at Edinburgh Zoo

One of my favourite places to go in Edinburgh. I last went in 2011 with Kevin when we first started dating properly and I would love to go again, but to also take Riley and the baby with us too. This is one for the better weather though, as the land is pretty exposed to the elements!

Have a mummy son day

The last thing I want with Riley this year is for him to feel like mummy doesn’t have time for him anymore. I am under no illusions that one on one time with Riley is going to be hard. That he will struggle with having been the one with all the focus for the last 4 years, but I want to make this a bit easier on him by dedicating some time for just me and him.

Go on a date

This is something we haven’t actually done since the month before I went back to work on maternity leave with Riley. That was 4 years ago now! It is important to take time out as a couple, particularly when you are always “mum and dad” when in the house. Having time without the little ones isn’t easy. Again another one I would like to have completed before baby makes an appearance, as finding a baby sitter for two is probably going to be harder!

Personal Goals

Become organised again

This is one for me. I used to be such an organised person, with a diary and scheduled my life. Even when Riley was small I managed it, however, nowadays I feel completely unorganised. This goal is to become organised in the house, with things going where they need to go and also organised in time. Life is precious and you need to make the most of what you have.

Make time for me

I have really not been looking after myself properly for the last few years. My job has ruled my life, however, with almost a year scheduled for maternity leave I want to ensure that I take time out and concentrate on me and what I need. Again, under no illusions that this will happen with a newborn, they always come first, however, I need to take time for me!

Restart my blog

I really enjoyed blogging last year, unfortunately my work took over my life, as did the house taking over any spare time I had left and this meant that my blog became neglected.

This is going to be the year I get it back on track and blog for a full year!

Publish my family videos

I love taking videos, and I have slaved over imovie on my macbook clipping, editing and adding soundtracks to them. I really want to continue to do this this year, and actually have the confidence to post them to my empty youtube channel. I’d love for my kids to have the ability to watch these when they are older and look back fondly on actual memories rather than just pictures!

Record more memories

For three years, I religiously took part in project life as a hobby. I loved it! Capturing memories and letting some of the creative elements (I don’t have many!) flow to create a sort of scrapbook for the year. Riley asks to look at these sometimes and actually loves looking at the pictures of himself as a baby! I want to get back into having somewhere to store my memories, other than just my blog. I want Riley to be able to look back on his life and remember all the happy times.

I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps this week. I’ve had a really tough time at work and I feel that it has been really affecting everything else. My work/life balance, my sleep, my eating, motivation etc have all gone kaput. Working from 8:30 am till at least 10pm, sometimes even midnight with a few hours rest to pick Riley up from nursery, cook the dinner and get him off to bed, means that my mind just isn’t switching off and I can’t stop thinking about work related nonsense. I can’t keep up with the housework, with parenting, with going to the gym. Something always has to give and I hate that I can’t give my all to everything, or even half of it. The more I was thinking about it this weekend I wondered, why should work come first?

 

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Unfortunately, ever since accepting my promotion this seems to have been my life. Firefighting and struggling to keep on top of everything. I do feel that this job is nothing like what I expected and that it has been one career decision that I have actually regretted. I have a habit of making very bad decisions, usually due to me overthinking everything and being conflicted in knowing which the right decision to make even is anymore.

I have so many demands coming my way, for huge top business priorities to other smaller bits of work that also has to be done to allow the line of business to function. It is never-ending and I feel I have a mountain of work that I will never catch up on. Not even if I did have the right people to delegate to. I’ve been travelling for meetings a fair bit recently as well, which obviously doesn’t help with that drowning under workload, but certainly not helped when that comes in conjunction with bank holidays too.

Now the other side of this is of course home life. I’m struggling at work but deary me what a mess my house is in! When I work at night at home I’m lucky if I get a few minutes to do the dishes never mind clean the rest of the house. I do switch off at the weekends but last weekend I found myself sleeping it away from sheer exhaustion. I also spent last Sunday in discomfort in my arm where it felt like I was just about to get pins and needles all Saturday night and resulted in only 2 hours sleep. I ended up making a trip to out of hours, who didn’t have a clue what it was and sent me home.

Riley is another casualty of my work being so hectic. I’ve been travelling quite a lot recently which has resulted in Riley becoming very, very clingy towards me when I am home. Now as much as I love the cuddles and kisses, it gives me an extreme case of Mum guilt when I put him to bed and he says that he doesn’t want me to leave his side in case I’m not there the next morning.

Kevin says he pines after me at night, asking every time if Mummy will be there after bedtime. It breaks my heart to hear this. His behaviour is also awful after I’ve been away. It could be a coincidence but it really does seem to coincide with when I’m away.

I was recently approached by someone in another line of business who had been given my name as a recommendation as a good fit for their team. It was a bit out of the blue and not something I had been thinking about, but I had to turn the opportunity down as it would have involved weekly travel, which I am really kicking myself all the more now for that decision. A fresh start in a new role is probably what I need just now and I think something I probably will be looking into a bit more in the not so distant future.

But for now, I do think that stress is beginning to take its toll on me. My biggest worry is letting it go too far and reaching that point where my mental health takes a beating. I’ve been down that path before and I don’t ever want to go down there again. I had a rocky time since Riley’s birth and struggled with the crushing feeling of depression and anxiety for several years. I know the signs, and I know now that is not a place I ever want to go back to. I know that I need to start taking my work life back in control so tomorrow morning I am going to have to start my own prioritisation which is no doubt going to upset some people but my health is far too important to put work before it.

 

I travel quite a lot with my job. Back before I had Riley it was common for me to be away weeks at a time and just stopping in at home for a quick day and a half before hopping back on a train for my next week away. Thankfully 2017 has only seen four trips from home for more than a day. Each time though, I still get wracked with that god awful “mum guilt.”

It’s been a routine part of my life as a mum ever since Riley was 7 months old. I was only back at work two weeks before I had to travel. The first time I felt the most crushing guilt and upset about leaving my little baby with dad for two days. Obviously not that I didn’t trust good old husband to take care of him properly, but it was the first time I had left him overnight. I sobbed in my hotel room for a good hour looking over pictures of my baby on my phone.

So when I met someone whilst I was away this week who was on their first trip away from their baby I felt I had to impart some of the awesome things she would learn to love after a few more times away.

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  1. Remembering that an alarm clock actually has a purpose!

I have lost count of the number of times I have crapped myself with Riley over my head looking intently at my face. Not being woken by a small child hovering over your face in the morning two hours earlier than you need to get up is a huge appeal to work travel.

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Everyone loves an adventure. They give us some of the best memories. To a three year old, most things feel like an adventure cause everything is so big and exciting and new when you are a kid

So when I told Riley we were going to a park to find the Gruffalo he was thrilled. I had been told about Rozelle Park in Ayr and that there was a Gruffalo hiding in a tree somewhere so I couldn’t wait to take him. The Gruffalo has been a favourite in our house for a good few years. If it’s not the Gruffalo, it’s the Gruffalo’s child!

On a cold winters morning I bundled Riley into the car we headed off to the park. It had been raining for a good few days beforehand, I’d made sure Riley was prepared with welly boots…but me being me came in very unsuitable for mud pair of Ugg boots. Bad footwear choice.

There are so many lovely places in this park, and it is full of wood carvings. You can see the first one as you drive into the park, it is certainly something to look at!

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We walked over to the duck ponds and watched all the birds in the water and squirrels that were bounding about in the trees behind us. Riley loves nature, and there certainly was an abundance of it here! At this point Riley decided to run off from me after one of the squirrels and fellin the mud. When I say fell, I mean he ran into it, got a foot stuck and then fell face first into the squelchy mud. He couldn’t get up and I had to try and rescue him. My own feet got stuck in the mud as I pulled him out and there went my clean ugg boots. Caked  I was!

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After cleaning Riley up, we came across some more wooden carvings of WW1 figures. It was a lovely area with lots of lovingly created figures.

What became quite clear to me at this point was that I should have probably asked someone where the daft Gruffalo was. Riley started moaning that he was fed up walking and we were about to call it a day until I saw a random tree stump in the middle of a clearing and wondered if that might be where this Gruffalo was hiding.

We were almost at the stump when I noticed two little ears sticking out of the top! The Gruffalo was inside the tree stump hiding.

Riley then, once again, found a stick to play with and took great delight in throwing it up in the air and trying to make it land on top of me! img_0631img_0640

I really do have a bit of a crazy child! He was busy shouting out “I’m crazy” as I took this picture.

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Another little adventure under our belts. Rozelle Park was beautiful, despite ruining my Ugg boots and it being rather cold! The wood carvings throughout the park were lovely and I’d love to spend more time there discovering all the other ones. I don’t think we even scratched the surface!