Monthly Archives: April 2017

I don’t want to go, well I do, but I don’t!

So back in January after a couple of vodkas. I think I momentarily forgot that I was a parent as I decided to book a surprise trip to Amsterdam for my husband’s 30th birthday.

I say surprise, the day after booking it I was so freaked out by the thought of leaving the kids I told my husband.  His face lit up with glee at the thought of a child free weekend.

My Mum had already said she would look after the kids and my Uncle and Aunty and my Mum’s friend were going to come for the weekend and offer support.

Now life as a parent goes by pretty darn quickly and fast forward 3 months and its a few days before we went away and I start feeling strange.

Will they be ok? Will I scar them for life by leaving them?  Of course they were going to be ok, and on a fish for support and affirmation that I wasn’t a terrible person I moaned on Facebook saying I felt strange.  A friend commented saying that I didn’t want clingy kids and that they would be fine,  this was exactly what I needed to hear, no I don’t want clingy kids, and they need to know that occasionally (very) I go away, but that I will come back.

So although feeling a physical tug on my heart I started to get a little excited, when my friends arrived who were joining us on the trip arrived I got very excited, but then we had to say goodbye which was pretty heartbreaking.  But I was ok and still excited for a bit of me time!

However on boarding the plane, I suddenly started to think, what if the plane goes down?  We are both on this plane, what If we both die!

Irrational, probably!  But as we took off I gripped my husband’s hand so hard that once I let go he did that thing you do with your hand when you’re trying to get rid of pins and needles!

Luckily it’s only a 45 minute flight so once getting off the plane and finding our apartment I soon wasn’t thinking the crazy thoughts and focussing on the ridiculous steps up to our apartment.

I won’t bore you with the details of our drunken weekend but I will say I had an AMAZING time.  As I write that I feel that I automatically have to add, but I missed the kids.  Of course I missed the kids.

I spoke about them loads, probably too much.  When we walked round the zoo (which is an absolute must if you ever go to Amsterdam) I thought about how they would love it.  I rang my Mum so much she said that I didn’t have to call.

But apart from all that I loved being me, Ali.  Who drinks a bit too much and is very silly. Spending time with my husband and great friends.  We laughed, in fact we giggled.  I peed on my own without any interruption, I’ve forgotten how nice that is and even though we were in bed my 10.30pm and I woke up without fail at 6am. It was rather nice to go to bed without the dulcet tones of my children finding new and interesting ways to distract from bedtime or let me know that they are awake.

In a nutshell I had a great time, the kids aren’t scarred for life (I can’t speak for my Mum however!) and as you were you for a long time before becoming a parent its ok to make time for yourself and to not feel guilty about it!

Did I actually just call my husband Daddy…

Yes, yes I did. In fact I have done it numerous times. One of the many things I’d said I’d never do as a parent prior to actually being a parent.

When did we turn in to those people? The ones that talk about poo for 85% of the day.

In fact when Big Pig does a poo it gets as much attention as a visit from the Queen.

Everyone has to come and have a look and then we predict whether it will need a “double flush”.

Is this what our lives have become? On a rare child free lunch out with my husband aka Daddy (cringe) we found ourselves hunting around for wetwipes! Because we’d normally use as many as the kids.

I was making a little Instagram video the other day and didn’t post it because I realised I was using my Mum voice which sounds like the voice of a 6 year old.

To be honest my colleagues at work had told me that I had this voice when I talked to the children at my nursery but I genuinely don’t realise that I’m doing it. AGGGHHH!

I’ve also committed, well I suppose there is no other way to put it. Theft! Yes I’ve broken the law.

Because I have on numerous occasions given Piglet a punnet of blueberries for her to eat in an attempt to calmly do the shopping. I pay at the end of course but still I would never have done this prior to being a parent.

Another alarming situation that occurs much more regularly than I would like is the kids will have been watching some horrendous program, you know about a teenage boy in charge of a pack of talking dogs who save a town from danger (where are the police in this town anyway).

I’m sure unless you ban TV you know which program I’m talking about. Well I often find myself continuing to watch this when the kids have upped and left to go and play somewhere else.

I suddenly realise I’m there on my own watching Paw Patrol.

And don’t get me started on theme tunes. I sing them when Big Pig is at school and Piglet is having a nap, they just go round in my head and then before I know it I’m singing about a boy who doesn’t have an easy life because he’s horrid!

And what’s with the eating food that they don’t want anymore. Yesterday I found myself eating a piece of half chewed crumpet, I just picked it up and didn’t really realise what I was doing until I was eating it. It was strangely satisfying but why! WHY would you do that!

I think I know why, because actually although the above is all pretty disgusting and despicable behaviour having children has made me drop my guard. I don’t have as many insecurities as I did before.

They have given me confidence to not give a shit even though not giving a shit leads to often talking about exactly that!

So I think in a very weird way I need to thank them.

So cheers Big Pig and Piglet. Your Mum might be a little gross from time to time but she is possibly a better person for it!

Lucy At Home

Woodland activities

You might be pleasantly surprised!  And if you knew where we lived you would never think that less than 5 minutes walk away there is a beautiful woods. Where there is a layer of bluebells covering the floor and it is so peaceful.

IMG_1744

Friends locally told us about the woods near us but you can find your closest one over at the woodland trust website. 

Big Pig and I go to the woods a lot. He loves to hug the trees!  Or just have some quiet time. 

Last time we went he asked if we could go there with his friend from school. So I thought we’d make a morning of it.

I had a couple of activity ideas in mind but then I asked the lovely members of my Facebook group and got some even better ones!

So off we went armed with a back pack, a roll of selotape, brown paper bags, crowns and lots of snacks!

The first activity we did was to build a giant birds nest!

We chose a spot to build the nest and then the children walked around looking for different sized sticks and branches.

Some of them were really big, so they had to work together to carry them back to the nest.

A5D12F9D-B5B9-4BC3-9E6A-CE68953DD314

They got really excited once they started to see the nest build up and they talked about how they could attach the branches by “laying them in getween!” each other!

Once they’d finished to the naked eye it just looked like a pile of sticks but their imaginations had kicked in and they started to make up a story about a giant bird that had come to live in it. Big Pig then decided he should check that the nest was safe for the bird, so they climbed in and sat in it pretending to be birds!

IMG_1697

We then went and found our favourite tree to have a snack and the boys decided that the next activity they wanted to do was decorate the crowns.

I’d made the actual crowns before we left.  I used a roll of brown wrapping paper and doubled it up to make it a bit sturdier.

They walked around the woods looking for natural bits and bobs to put on the crown and then we stuck them on using sellotape!

976B14F4-6170-46B7-B6BC-516563D53E21

They wore the crowns for the rest of the time we were in the woods.

The next activity was a treasure hunt and they decided that they were Kings looking for their lost treasure.

I’d written some items and descriptive words on bits of paper and folded them up.

They took turns to unfold them and we sounded out the letters and read them together.

The words were; shiny, soft, feather, acorn, rough, smooth, leaf.

They immediately said money when they unfolded shiny and went to hunt for some.  I managed to get a couple of 20 and 5 pences and put them on the floor and then encouraged them to walk back that way. They found them all!

The treasure hunt was by far the children’s favourite activity.

We spent just over 2 hours in the woods and they were fully occupied the whole time. We really had an amazing time and they talked about what they had been up to all the way home.

IMG_1731

We’ll be going back soon to try more of the amazing activities that were suggested by the members of my Facebook page and of course I’ll let you know how we got on.

What to expect when you’re expecting and you’re sister is adopting.

When I was writing “What to expect when you’re expecting  adopting”. I asked my brother to write about what it was like for him and his wife to be expecting a baby when we were going through the adoption process.

Here it is:

My sister Ali had always been quite ill from an early age. Appendicitis when she was 7, ME, glandular fever and gall stones when she was slightly older. All of these unfortunately led to the fact that she would never be able to have children naturally.

Even when I read that it really pulls at my heart strings. Not being able to have children. As a father of our 7 month old daughter Esme, I know I am very very lucky. I can’t really comprehend what not being able to have children feels or looks like.

Honesty. There you go !

However, like most things the two of us do. When we think we want to do something that will help our lives become better in some way. We go head first, unrelenting into it.

Whether it is writing, developing relationships with those that matter or adopting children. Whatever ‘it’ is. We embrace it and make the best out of the situation that is presented.

That is what Ali and her husband did. They started looking into adoption. Reading those words back makes it sound easy, but it’s not. The journey was often bumpy and the outcome not always certain.

Please continue to read “My sister, adoption and my daughter Esme” over at Jon’s blog.

We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo!

Two Mum’s plus two five year olds on a train and then the tube to London Zoo! What could go wrong?

Well actually not too much! We had an amazing day.

We were all ready to go and I wanted to take a photo of Big Pig in his Zoo Keeper outfit so in return he wanted to take a photo of me! “Look crazy happy” he said, now crazy I can do (what’s with those pointy fingers?)

My friend and her daughter Evie arrived. Evie was wearing the same outfit as Big Pig as it was her birthday and that had been our present to her.

We set off and got to the train station. We decided after a lot of google mapping that the best way was to go to St Pancras, then get a tube to Camden and walk to the zoo.

Well the Mum’s walked the kids were on scooters! I was a bit freaked out by the idea of scooting through the streets of London but we’d talked to the kids about safety and my friend reassured me that it would be fine!

IMG_1337

It turned out to be a great idea. The Zoo is very scooter friendly.

When we arrived we were able to go through the fast track entrance as we have both got family memberships which also includes entry to ZSL Whipsnade.

If you pay by direct debit you get a 20% discount and there are lots of other membership benefits;including a 10% discount at the restaurants/cafes and gift shops.

We went straight to the loos which are handily located right at the front of the zoo!

We then went to see the penguins. The animals living environments are all beautiful and clean.

The penguins were busy sunning themselves as it was a beautiful day.

We suddenly saw crowds gathering so figured there must be a penguin show or talk.

We headed over and they announced a family friendly penguin talk was about to begin.

When it started they asked whose birthday it was, well! I started screaming “it’s Evie’s Birthday, here, here” like some women possessed! Well it did the trick because they picked her, and then dressed her in a penguin outfit!

After the penguins, we walked around the rest of the Zoo. It’s a lovely walk round. There are plenty of grassy areas to sit and relax and of course the animals are amazing. The kids particularly enjoyed the Lions and Tigers.

ZSl put on some wonderful events at the zoos. They had a Dear Zoo event this time at London Zoo and we found a fabulous monkey stamper, so we obviously all had to get one!

IMG_1256

We then had some lunch. There is plenty of picnic areas if you decide to bring your own food.

The restaurant is amazing at London Zoo. It was extremely busy but everything was well organised and there was plenty of friendly faces serving the food.

I noticed that there was gluten free and vegetarian options too.

I thought the food was reasonably priced. Let’s be honest the more affordable option is always to bring a picnic but I was happy with what we paid considering the service and most importantly the quality of the food.

I had a freshly made burrito and Big Pig had Sausages, mash and beans. Maybe a good balance on reflection would of been to bring our own drinks and get the food there.

We then went to the butterfly zone which was amazing. The butterflies are so beautiful.

IMG_1477

We then went to the spider zone. My friend refused to go in which if you’re not keen on spiders I do understand. The spiders were all in webs up above and we were told by the zoo keeper that they never leave their webs!

IMG_1246

 

The kids needless to say absolutely loved it!!

We then went on to see the gorrilas which was amazing, another fabulous enclosure.

The kids wanted their photos taken as gorrilas and of course we thought we should. Let’s just say I got fully in to character.

IMG_1281

Big Pig then spotted (it’s like he has a radar) a picture of poo! And on reading the sign became hysterical when he found out that gorrilla’s poo looks like our poo!

IMG_1277

We then decided that we’d get an icecream and go to the gift shop! I know gift shops are sometimes the stuff of  nightmares but you don’t have to walk through it to get in or leave which is helpful.

But we went in and there was a great range of different priced gifts and toys. Big Pig chose a tiger biter, I got Piglet a zoo outfit as she’d stayed at home with Granny and deserved a treat!

I also got the kids a tiger tail each which they refused to wear!! So my friend and I decided to wear them, and we wore them all the way home!!

We really did have an amazing day a London Zoo! I have already decided to take Piglet there before I go back to work. In her new Zoo Keeper outfit. Obviously!

 

 

 

 

What to expect when you’re expecting adopting

I have no idea what it’s like to be pregnant. Blinking heck I got a jab straight through my tummy as I wrote that.

I do know what’s it’s like to want to be a parent and as the opportunity gets closer are the feelings we feel similar?

In the last part of the adoption process before we were officially matched. Everything seemed to hang in the balance because nothing was official until the matching panel,  where (very knowldegable and kind) strangers would decided if we were the right match for the children we’d never met but had all ready fallen in love with.

My brother and his wife were expecting a baby and everyone was so excited for them, including me.

But I also felt a bit sad as I didn’t think some of my family were as excited for us as they were for them. I soon learnt that as per usual I was wrong.

I’m not good at hiding my feelings, when I’m excited I show it and when I feel my feelings aren’t reciprocated I feel the weight of that.

Of course I was terrified that we were almost there but not quite and that something could go wrong and we would not be matched.

But my heart was already open to them and I was becoming committed to children I hadn’t even met.

I was committed when I saw their chubby little faces for the first time.

I was disappointed when I was told that another match was being considered.

I was over the flipping moon when I saw those same chubby little faces in an adoption magazine a couple of months later.

When I met their foster carer and saw their handprints and paintings I burst in to tears. They became so much more real at that point.

As more and more information was exchanged. I started to feel responsible for them, and after the child appreciation day a social worker asked if we were still committed or should they go to an adoption event? I replied calmly, we are still committed but in my head I was screaming “no they’re mine”.

If at any point something had happened resulting in the match not being approved we would have been completely and utterly devastated.

Once we were matched though, everyone let their excitement out and I realised what had happened. They were trying to hold back their excitement to protect me and possibly themselves.

Hindsights a wonderful thing and perhaps if everyone had been as excited as I was it may have made it too overwhelming.

My brother (who happens to be one of the loveliest men on the planet) and I talked about it I can talk to him about everything (EVERYTHING), even the stuff that I know might upset him.

I spoke to him about how I felt that everyone was so excited for them and the baby but not for me and that I felt terribly guilty for feeling this way.

He said;

“Everyone is excited for you. But your excitement outweighs everyone else’s. You have the connection with them already, a strong connection and not everyone has that. We are just making sure your feelings are protected”.

He was spot on as per usual.

After the matching panel I was thrown a surprise adoption shower! It was amazing. I was spoilt rotten and so were the kids. My friends had gone out of their way to get presents for the children.. it was so special.

When I spoke to my family everyone started to sound so much more excited for me and were surprised that in less than a month we would meet our children for the first time and 10 days later they would be living with us.

I still can’t decide whether I would of preferred
everyone to be more openly excited or to of held back. I also realise people should feel and react how they want to feel.

I know that how ever anyone reacted or didn’t react it all came from a place of love and for that I am thankful.