Mumaleary's Blog

Cheaper than therapy

WAIT- How did my baby turn EIGHT?!

My baby. My beautiful baby girl.

How did we arrive here?

How is it that I find myself buying a gold, foil number 8 balloon and watch you with your bouncy bunches skip off to school chatting excitedly with your sister and your mates?

school 2019

bethan tenby teddies

 

It’s mere minutes since your daddy and I brought you home in your car seat and lost hours marvelling at your tiny fingers and toes and beautiful bow lips.

Rosalind Grace Photography
Bethan, my darling, I loved you before you existed. I loved you as a bump and as a wincy wee. I have loved you every minute of every day since your inception and I will do until my last breath and then again from wherever I go next.

That doesn’t make me a perfect parent and it doesn’t make you a perfect child. Perfection is a myth so just be real. You aren’t bothered a jot about what you wear, the way you look or what others think. Cling on to that Kid- it’s gold dust.

 
You are you with your abstract imagination, your love of colouring and Lego and reading and Harry Potter. I am me with my baffling brain, my love of learning and literature, my permanent need for a fluffy bed sock and a brew. We are we with our books and our blankies and our Bake Off and we are all the better when we are doing all of that or anything else as a four; Team Leary 😊

NE Beach

chill factore

maui waui

 

Bethan- you have more gifts than I care to count and more will reveal themselves to you and to me and to the world as you grow. Thank you for your gentle nature, your whimsical way of seeing the world. Thanks for your jokes, your patience with your sister and your cousins. Thanks for your zest for life, your efforts at parkrun and cricket and at everything!

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glasgow transport museum

Sometimes aloof, sometimes breath takingly empathic. Thanks for noticing when I’m a little fraught and for speaking to me gently as though you’re the adult.

You blow my mind. You always have.

Bethan 2
There will come a time when I don’t have the privilege of seeing and being in your life so much as I am now- you might travel, you might take a path that I don’t totally get and, that is just as it should be but, know this my love, that decision is yours. Me and your daddy will be here, in as much of your life as you want and need forever.
Happy Birthday Bethan Gwen.
We will love you until the seas run dry.
And that will never happen.
Love Muma.
XxxX

 

PS- Just in case you are reading this years from now, your 8th birthday was a weird and wild time politically… look it up! WOWZER.

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Everything’s Premier but the price?! OR; a post that makes me sound a bit ‘Hopkins’.

There’s a school of thought that when you have children nothing needs to change.
In my PC (pre child) days I was one of those people. I believe the word is, in hindsight, delusional.
Delusional for me on quite a few levels as it happens.

I envisaged that we’d be globe trotting like good’uns as soon as the babes were dry- why I expected this when we were too skint to holiday much when it was just the two of us is a mystery, but I have always had some pretty high ideals!
Like the posters say; dream big and all that.

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I envisaged that both myself and my children would leave the house looking serene and polished with hair pulled back into a thick, glossy, swinging ponytail. I look which, frankly, I have never pulled off. Even when I was only in charge of one birds nest barnet.

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I envisaged my life would be yoga, lunching and weirdly minimal wiping up of sick and snot and vom. It’s not quite turned out that way and I do know how lucky I am to have a part time job, two gorgeous girls, a wonderful husband and a happy family life so don’t roll your eyes at me too much. I realise things are far from dire straits.

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However, I did not, not ever, envisage that I’d be dining on Valentines Day in a Brewers Fayre before falling asleep pre 10pm in a Premier Inn family room…no I was all about Mr and Mrs Smith boutique B&B’s, White Company sheets and adjoining rooms…
Clearly someone told me that child rearing and lottery wins were basically one and the same thing!

They’re not.

I have no idea why I’m like this; I was raised like a regular human with a love of The Little Chef, Harvester and Beefeater- anything food related really (except beans)
Perhaps my experience as a nanny for the well heeled has given me a misplaced sense of what’s normal!
Anyway, if you are still living in the same fantasy world in which I reside- despite having no pension to speak of or private fortunate to secure my old age, rest assured, the real world is pretty ok too and this is how I know…

Our Valentines Adventure to The Premier Inn…

I appreciate that everywhere looks a little bit shit when it’s cold and grey and you haven’t had a valentines card but I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn to say the sun would really have to be cracking the flags to brighten up the retail park and surrounding docks that we drove through to reach our destination of The Premier Inn North Shields!

We walked in and were greeted with a real North East welcome- hooray, people that actually seem happy to be working and interacting not only with the public but with children.
Dean and Anne were quick, efficient and friendly.

Our room was a really great size and, when the big littles first words were
“This is amazing, It’s just like Ibiza!”
My heart melted a little.

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I relaxed in the bath whilst the girls chatted to me and Mr L made some Twinnings tea…plenty of tea bags- take note The Grove!!
Perfect.

We headed over to the pub to meet our friends for dinner and again, the staff were really brilliant- orders taken and divided into families to prevent hassle when paying the bill.
Speedy service and no mistakes but, because I knew we were in a place designed for families I wasn’t panicking every time the girls spoke; which they didn’t really because they were too busy in the soft play.
Small gripe here; why does all soft play seem to have inaccessible areas which kids can post rubbish into but the cleaners can not reach to clean.
I don’t want to be asked to retrieve a ball or toy or a raisin from a minging concrete floor covered in fluff, dust and other kids haribo. It’s grim, end of.
Happily, the bits the children are messing about in are totally fine which is more than I can say about many of the other soft plays I’ve endured enjoyed.
The toys and activities I (for once) remembered were redundant and it was brilliant to see the girls holding their own on the slides and tunnels. When the big littles hairband fell out 3 boys all decked out in Newcastle shirts clamoured to be the one to return it.
Ah- young love!

The food was standard pub grub with pasta, salads, burgers and meats from the grill and the Dennis the Menace inspired kids menu went down well with our girls; what’s not to love about spaghetti Bolagnaise, ham and pineapple pizza followed by jelly and ice-cream?!

Walking back to the hotel (is the Premier Inn a hotel?!) meant we could both have a drink though the fact that the little little seemed to wake every hour between midnight and five made us grateful we hadn’t filled our boots.

I suppose we could have complained about the noise and claimed a refund thanks to the ‘Great Night’s Sleep’ Guarantee but it would take the Mickey slightly given that only noise we heard was from someone we willingly brought along!

We bought breakfast on the day and we were impressed that it was made to order; something else they didn’t do at The Grove! Kids eat free too and ours certainly made the most of that with fruit, cereal and toast to sustain them.
Mr L had the works and I had two boiled eggs which were soft but not snotty. Lush.

We headed off to gorgeous Patricks Christening at 10ish but could actually have stayed until noon which is pretty generous (and unnecessary if you’re with the bairns!)

I’ll level with you. It was a wicked way to spend valentines. I loved it, probably because when it’s quality time with the fam it doesn’t really matter where you are- cue a little bit of sick in your mouth!
I’m looking for reasons to book another break at a Premier Inn, Lenny Henry tells me there’s many an excuse; I think I’m finally coming down to earth and happily, I feel a lot more chilled out here.

What or where have you been pleasantly surprised by- are there more hidden gems we need to wake up to?

Have a Happy Monday.

Muma. XxX

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Memories are made of this.

It is almost next weekend already and I haven’t had chance to sit down, catch my breath and take a moment to write one of my favourite type of posts. The sort especially for my girls, to help them to look back on their childhoods when they’re much older and, if I’m lucky, reminisce with me about some glorious sepia toned memories.

I’m not actually sure what age first memories usually are. I have heard that if your childhood is a happy one you might remember very little before the age of 4 or five but, looking into this or this post I have found some evidence to she that children do remember way more than we might give them credit for- have a read of this, it’s interesting!!
My first memory is an unremarkable one. It is me sitting in my daddy’s big yellow chair watching a finger puppet TV programme of Polly and the Stupid Wolf whilst my mum made me Dairylea sandwiches in the kitchen which she cut into the shape of ducks. How cute?! I think I’d been to pre-school in the morning so I was probably around 4, maybe a bit younger?

Anyway, last weekend the babies and I took off with my sister down to Bluestone in Wales. Our friends Michelle and Vicky met us there. Michelle gets very tetchy about me referring to them as our oldest friends. I think it’s because she’s approaching the big 4 0…don’t say I said though. Anyway, they are our oldest and longest standing friends. Facts are facts ladies, sorry!

As ever it was a bit of a nightmare to get everything ready and, what with John Lewis delivering brand new car seats only a couple of hours before we set off I was trying to read the instructions, entertain two children, fit the seats and pack the car all at the same time.
In short, this led to someone pooing on the drivers seat. Girls- it is up to you to guess who this was- fun hey!! I’ll be sure to raise this at big birthdays and remind your dad for wedding speeches.

Anywho, we picked up Auntie Raya and headed on down to Pembrokeshire.
I thought I was so clever setting off at your bedtime but, as it turns out you weren’t impressed with my improvised towel blackouts, didn’t go to sleep until around 9 and then both woke up when we arrived at midnight. You, little little, didn’t go back to sleep until 2am and even then it was in my bed!! Although this sounds annoying I actually really like these snatches of time just you and me together. You are so cheeky and I know you know you should be fast asleep but, with a grin like yours, I just want to gobble you all up. It was so lovely to cuddle you all to myself.

Friday started at 6am and I got the distinct feeling that the weekend was going to be one long, knackering chore of trying to keep children in check whilst coming across as fun and carefree, lest my friends and sister opted to be sterilised rather than cope with the unending drudgery of children. Oh, lighten up, I’m kidding…
Despite my impressive psychedelic jeans, I was not feeling the holiday vibe- until we hit Narbeth.

Narberth High street

Gorgeous High street packed with cafes and independent shops.
FAB

Woo hoo! The last time I was in Narberth it was for a funeral and wake on a very grey and rainy Thursday, there was no ambling around the gorgeous shops and absolutely no ham egg and chips and soft play. This time was far, far better.
Girls, you were nothing short of wonderful as we pottered around and, being able to actually have proper conversations with you about the things that you saw in the shops fills my heart with joy. I fully expect there is a shelf life to this but for now hearing the ‘look at this’, ‘smell this’, ‘get this’* is glorious. I especially love it when I see randoms in the street looking at you and smiling. They can only be possibly thinking two things:
1) aren’t they gorgeous
2) isn’t she a sublime and chilled out earth mother.

So, because we were in holiday mode we bought a couple of utterly  unnecessary knickknacks from Jelly Egg and a brilliant Coldplay for children CD from Six the high street– their tag line is ‘Purveyors of all things lovely’, how great is that?! It really was full of lusciousness and, because I was on holiday I basically had no filter on my desire to buy everything, I was lucky to leave with just the CD. It’s amazing. Like the Pavlov’s dogs of getting children to sleep! Risky to listen in the car though incase you start to nod off too.

By 3pm we had exhausted ourselves and so headed on to Bluestone which I suppose you might describe as a sort of small Welsh Centreparcs with stunning scenery.
Like CP it is a no car zone so, once you’ve unpacked your car it is back to the long stay car park and after that it is all about the golf buggy or, in our case, the actual buggy. Be warned people, some of the paths are steep! My calves had a serious workout over the weekend.

I loved the accommodation and, though we were missing an extra cot and high chair, the sleeping and eating all worked out fine (and we are now considering, again, whether it is time to change the big littles cot into a bed…)
The living accommodation in our chalet was on the top floor which was fab as it allows you to take advantage of the beautiful views. It’s more exposed than Centreparcs, you can clearly see your neighbours lodges but, I think that will change as the saplings dividing up the plots become less established. Unlike Centreparcs, the location is a big part of the attraction- you can see where you are and drink in the views.

Bluestone, wales

Taken from the Bluestone website.

We spent most of our time at the Blue Lagoon which I thought was brilliant, apart from the fact that you need a ticket to get in and out. Every. Time. For Everyone. Annoying.
Once in there though it is big and light and bright with a lovely baby pool, another separate are with fountains and showers and buckets that fill and empty.
There is a lovely lazy river plus flumes for aunties that don’t know their age!!

bLUE LAGOON, BLUESTONE WALES

Taken from the Bluestone website

It is such a shame that you can’t take pictures in here (obv!) because, once you got over the total assault on the senses you absolutely loved it and I would love to have some pics of you splashing about in the waves and careering down the slide. Once you’d found your feet there was no stopping you.

I wasn’t in charge of booking the weekend and, thanks to a combination of work and  life I hadn’t had chance to check out the website, book activities and so on and, I am pleased we didn’t. We fed the ducks, played some golf, hung out in the chalet and had a really good relax.

Feeding the ducks

Feeding the ducks

It would have been far, far more relaxing if I had not expected any wifi connection for the weekend because, it was so hit and miss it was impossible for me to do anything work wise in the evening BUT- what the hell is a holiday for if it isn’t to switch off? Just wish I’d known in advance as I took a whole heap of ‘never get time to do this’ stuff to ponder over during the BGT final.

On Sunday we headed to Tenby, a fantastic seaside town which we used to visit when we were small- once the very busy lambing and hay making periods had passed.

Gorgeous Hey?!

Gorgeous Hey?!

Tenby

I should find out what this is really…

It was a beautiful day and one I will remember as long as I live. I hope that splashing in the sea with your Muma and your Aunty, eating ice creams with your Mumas oldest friends and sinking your feet into the warm sand will be one of your earliest memories. They don’t get much better than that.

Big Little and Aunty Raya

Big Little and Aunty Raya

Tenby

Splashing in the waves with Muma.

Tenby beach

My beautiful Babies!

Chilling at Nancy's before heading home. She loved you!

Chilling at Nancy’s before heading home. She loved you!

I love you so much Girls. Today and Every other.

Muma.

XxxX

*You didn’t say this, but soon you will!!

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No such thing as an ordinary moment?

This morning, for the first time ever, our big little girl woke up in our bed.

She had a nightmare in the early hours and when I went to check on her she clung to me like a limpet. When I tried to put her back in her cot she shook her head and repeated no no no so forcefully between sobs that I didn’t want to let her go either so, I took her into bed with us and Mr L and I squoze into about 1/3 of the bed whilst she and her two comforters spreadeagled over the rest of it! Sleeping in mumas bed

As I watched her fall slowly back to sleep, her eyelids flickering and her chest rising and falling rhythmically, I was entranced.

She slept through her daddy getting up for a shower.

She slept through me getting up and dressed and sorted and she only began to stir when her little sister clambered over to snuggle in next to her. photo (11)

As she opened her eyes and yawned and stretched and quietly watched what was going on around her I was reminded of being a little girl myself and watching the early morning routine of my daddy. I don’t know if it is one memory or an amalgamation of lots of early mornings feeling cozy and safe in my parents big bed.

He used to do this thing with his socks where he’d flick them into the air from his elbow crease and then catch them. He used to turn them almost inside out to put them on and that is all I remember really. Absolutely nothing more than a scrap of a memory of a happy time. An ordinary moment.

Perhaps this was one of my mum and dads ordinary moments. But it occurred to me that, once my daddy had gone, this would have been a precious, precious moment that we would give anything to have another moment of so, perhaps there are no ordinary moments.

Perhaps in hindsight everything is precious and it is only seeing them in the rear view mirror that we can appreciate them fully.

With lots of Love,

Muma.

XxxX

I am linking this post up with the lovely Katie who blogs at MummyDaddyMe. Full of beautiful snaps and, as a mum of two girls I love checking out what they are up to!

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A note for my gorgeousess.

Hello my darlings.
I just wanted to write you a little note just to remind you that I absolutely adore you!
No particular reason, no special day.
We’ve just hung out at home, in our onesies.
We’ve pottered and cuddled and read and had tea, built towers, knocked them down, practised walking and singing… And just being us really. 🙂
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So, just incase you are stomping around in a massive 17 year old strop, thinking you’ve got the worst parents in the universe, know this, you are loved. Always.

When we snuggle up in bed after you’ve been swimming and splashing and kicking and babbling in the bath, when you are a little bit sleepy and a little bit cuddly, there is no where else in the world I would rather be.

I can already see that you are both growing so very fast and I am achingly proud of you both with your different, glorious personalities.
B with your lovely slow and steady, gentle, careful nature and you H with your fast and furious, no fear fantasticness.

You are never happier than when you are together and my world comes to a shuddering stop when I look through the crack of the playroom door to hear you giggling together.
I wish I could bottle it.

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And that moment when your dada and I check on you in the middle of the night, it is all we can do not to high five each other in your room in celebration of the amazing little people we’ve made.

We love you my darlings and, though I am sad that your baby phase is now finito, I am so looking forward to all the coming stages.

That’s all really. Sleep tight.
You are loved.
Always.

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A life less ordinary

My last blog post, inspired by a linky from another blogger Katie at Mummy, Daddy, Me. has really got me thinking back to my old job.

I was a Personal Advisor to Care Leavers, many of whom were parents themselves. All of whom were aged 16-24.
I can not shake the feeling that an ‘ordinary moment’ for me would be something that many of them could hardly dream of, let alone achieve and that makes me feel a whole myriad of emotions.
  • Sadness that anyone of the young people I worked with as well as countless others I didn’t, face such a struggle.
  • Gratitude that my little family and I are so lucky.
  • Concern over why the system that cares for and supports children, young people and families really isn’t doing a good enough job and
  • Uncertainty about what I can do to help now I am no longer a part of that system.
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Ordinary Moments

So, from my blogging hobby I have found out about and have started reading lots of other blogs which is no doubt at least partly to blame for my unhoovered floors and undusted surfaces.

Yesterday I read a really beautiful blog called Potty Mouthed Mummy. Brilliant title and clearly a woman after my own heart. Please check her out if you have a minute.
through her blog I was introduced me to the idea of ‘The Ordinary Moments’. This is a linky created by Katie at Mummy, Daddy, Me. who won the MAD blog award for Best Pregnancy Blog at this years event. Very well deserved, Well Done. 😉

I feel like finding these posts came at the ideal time for me as I have had a couple of quite stressy days of late and they served as a good reminder to appreciate things a little more and not sweat the small stuff as much.
I say small, what I actually mean is me drowning in a mountain of housework and hardening arteries due to my dreadful diet.

Anywho- here goes, my take on Ordinary Moments…

I spent this weekend away from both of my babies. I went away for the night with my mum and my sister to meet up with our cousins.
It was only one night and we had a brilliant time, lovely food, wine and conversation.
It was novel to amble around the shops without a double buggy and to stop at the champagne bar rather than the baby change.
Mr L took the girls to see his family which of course they loved but meant that they didn’t arrive home until around 10pm on Sunday night (slap bang in the middle of Downton. Thank goodness for Sky Plus hey!)

As I lifted them out of the car I sniffed their hair and held them close, felt the weight of them in my arms and relished feeling their arms curl around my neck.
No mistaking that this love stuff is intense.

It’s easy as pie to love them when they are sleeping!

First thing Monday morning however, the toddler had a hissy fit when I told her off for licking the bottom of her shoes.
Proper throw yourself on the floor, kicking, screaming, foaming at the mouth tantrum.
I honestly have no clue where she gets it from. (I probably do if I’m honest and will come to admire her grit and determination in years to come!)
Her poor baby sister was utterly bemused by the whole thing.

Yup, she is certainly finding her voice! Monday was a long old day….

Today however was a totally different kettle of fish. From start to finish we have had an ordinary day chockablock full of wonderful.

We haven’t done anything special, nothing out of the ordinary at all but everything just fitted together nicely and it has been a simply lovely day.

We had a chilled out breakfast and everyone was more than happy to get dressed whilst having a little sing and dance to the radio.
NB Chris Evans; if you are reading this I noticed you singing along to some of the tunes today- that is all a little Steve Wright for my liking. Could you please refrain in future.

The toddler found a boyfriend at mother and baby group. A very handsome little boy (surely you’d expect nothing less) who is a little bit older and the son of a ‘new mummy friend’.
They walked in together holding hands, sat next to each other at toast time and even did ‘row row row the boat’ in a couple. It was too cute for words.
Incidentally this is a union I wholly approve of and will be at pains to nurture in the coming months and years. 😉
I have snaps but there are other children in the background and so I can’t really post which is a shame.

We came home, had a read, had a cuddle, played out in the garden, had some friends over and that was it really.
Genuinely nothing special.
But, as the three of us snuggled up on the bed drinking warm milk and watching The bloke in the Blue Onesie get wound up about excess noise from his neighbours (Iggle Piggle annoyed with the Pontipines doorbell and Upsy Daisy’s singing for the record) I couldn’t think of anything in the world I would rather be doing.
I was made for this and on days like today especially, I really, truly love it.

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That’s it really.
I’m having an early night as I’m off on the first of my Women’s Organisation courses tomorrow. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a learning/working sort of environment…hope it goes ok.

Night all.

Muma.
XxxxX

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