Thursday, 25 August 2016

For the crappy days (literally)

We are all guilty of editing our lives and putting a filter over things, sharing a snapshot of how perfect and lovely we want people to think our lives are. Since being a mum this is definitely something I do much, much more. Taking pictures of our darling children the first day of term, usually in front of the door where there is no mess, or putting mushy statuses on facebook about how wonderful our children are and what a dream they are to look after. And of course not forgetting the adorable (filtered) pictures on instagram that were actually the best of 20 snaps where they weren't smiling or even looking. 

Not all parents are brave enough to bare all about how being a mum or dad can be really crappy work, meant in the descriptive and literal sense. I think it is fair to say we have all had the pleasure of dealing with a 'poonami' you know, the one where your small baby does a poo and it goes all up their backs, down their legs and sometimes even in their hair. That is probably a sneak preview for parents of what grim tasks await them in the coming years. 

Actually, we have been fairly lucky with our two and don't have too many grim tales to tell but what happened to us the other day really topped them all, and I know we aren't the only ones to endure such an experience. 

Quite often, our nearly 3 year old will go and play in his room, he generally watches a bit of disney on now tv, or plays with his toys and is no trouble at all. Well, recently he has learnt to take off his clothes, and nappy. In the 10 minutes he was up there, he had managed to strip, remove nappy and poo. EVERYWHERE! I have never seen anything like it in my life, it was horrific. I am talking poo on the floor, poo on the bed and poo all over the child. This wasn't even something that could be dealt with using baby wipes, I just grabbed a poo free bit of child and carried him (at arms length!) to the bath.

It was at this point I thought back to a time in my life (obvs pre kids) where the thought of changing a nappy or wiping someone else's nose repulsed me, and here I am wiping bogeys off of my walls, mopping puddles of pee and at that very moment, scrubbing poo from the carpet. Maybe the most disturbing point is that when you have kids it doesn't even bother you that much, you just take it in your stride that children are disgusting beings and you will often find yourself cleaning up their bodily fluids. 

Because this, is what parenting really is, yes there are touching, beautiful moments but they are sandwiched between tantrums and pooey nappies. 

Family expansion by 1

This post has been sat in my drafts for months, in February we found out that we were pregnant with our rainbow baby. A rainbow baby is a baby that comes after a loss, or a number of losses. With our previous pregnancies we have always told our friends and family very early on, and then have had to call around and give the sad news that our baby had died these last two pregnancies in 2014 and 2015. I am an advocate of sharing your news before 12 weeks because as hard as it is to have to call your loved ones and tell them, it is easier when they are let in to your grief. Some people may not know how to support you, but some will and it is in these testing times you find that those that really care, will stick around. They will make you a cup of tea and ask you how you feel, how your heart is healing and if there is anything they can do, most importantly they will acknowledge your loss. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Transforming our small garden

I spent all of last summer moaning about how much my garden depressed me, all of last winter planning what we would do to improve it, all of spring saying "we really must do something about that garden" and the other half (the manual labour half) 2 days of graft - and a lot of sunburn - to actually get it done. It was literally a neglected square of weeds and the odd blade of grass, dirt patches and a greying fence. I didn't take proper 'before' photos, this is just one on my phone that I sent to a friend when she insisted that my garden couldn't be as bad as hers, point proven I think and you can see why I hated it so much, nowhere decent for the children to play, although the trampoline is used, the kids just have to head up the path and traipse through the weeds!

Our garden is fairly small so we had to think carefully about how to make the most of the space we had. Originally we just wanted all grass, but didn't know quite what we would do to stand the trampoline on. I had thought about a patio area at the top, but we intended on doing the garden ourselves and neither I or my husband were confident we could get it level enough for slabs. The garden has a slight gradient anyway so that would have required us to build up an area slightly for it to be level and that sounded like more hassle than it was worth! Ideally we wanted to be able to get a table and chairs outside for us to use but there just isn't the space to do all the things we would like.

We decided that bark chippings may be the best option for the top half of the garden so that the trampoline can remain where it was and would be able to handle the wear and tear of the children. The lower half closer to the house we would lay some turf so that we could still have some grass. The fence is ancient and greying terribly, our neighbours had recently painted theirs as well which made ours look even worse, so painting the fence was a must. Besides anything else, of the three houses in our terrace, we are in the middle and have the worst garden!!

I'll be honest, my duties were light as I have an aversion to real manual labour, so I left the hard work to the husband. I was responsible for staining the fence and assigned myself as site foreman and barked orders and unwanted suggestions and advice at my husband. The biggest job (for him) was clearing all of the weeds and turning the soil, removing sufficient to lay the weed resistant liner for the bark and to lay the turf on the lower half. 

I do wish I had taken more pictures to show the whole transformation at every stage but fence painting is hard graft and requires lots of time and attention to detail, the only reason there are pictures from this point onwards is because I had run out of fence paint and had to revert to my stand around barking orders role. 

We completed the garden at the beginning of June and have been able to enjoy it since, there may or may not still be some fence painting to finish which was well and truly my job but I have bought the fence paint and can get that done at any time! We managed to get everything done on a very small budget and we were pleasantly surprised at just how reasonable it was.


Bark chippings - 
Turf - £27 
Log roll edging - £10.50
Fence paint (3 tubs) - £13.50
Liner - £9

So for £108 we completely transformed our garden and though it is a basic job we are chuffed to bits with it.