Friday, 27 February 2015

Working mum's...

When I first wrote this post I started with 'I will publish this immediately: I normally think this and then a month later still have to check it'. Guess what, several months later I find said post (49 drafts written to go through!)

So I am doing some significant editing because half of it doesn't make sense now. It has also made me realise that I probably didn't post a lot of posts that explained certain things. So a quick 'backdate':

Last year I went back to full time work. I found that whilst I loved being at work, not seeing my daughters, being stressed out was not for me. So I left. I am now searching for an alternative option but in the mean time I think this post needs publishing:

'I have been feeling very restless for a while. I have masses to do at home but feeling very unsettled & not quite 'right'. In hind sight I think it's just we've had a LOT of change for a long time & suddenly it started to settle. In the last 3 years (yes, THREE YEARS!) I have had a job I LOVED, been grounded & depressed, had my first baby in a scary situation (more posts to come on that one) & then she was in hospital. Then been on maternity leave learning with her... At the end of that we then moved to a foreign country. I then spent the next almost 2 years (yes we've been here nearly 2 years! *now 2+ years) settling in to Luxembourg, got pregnant, had another baby & now learning & accepting that baby. After 4 months I then started Krav Maga hoping to give me something else. I now feel life is good busy but not in a good balance... I want something more but am wary with how busy I already am...

So yesterday I came to a decision. I know some people will hate my decision & maybe even hate me for my decision but do you know what? I discussed it last night with my husband, we got through 2 bottles of wine & I cried. But we are still happy with my decision. 

I am going to look for a new job. Financially I don't need to, we've been absolutely fine with me not working. And I'm not thrilled that part time is hard to get here. But I have a friend who is in a similar sort of situation and chooses to work full time & she said 'try it. If you don't like it, stop'. I didn't understand what she meant initially but now I do... If working full time is too much then I can stop because I don't need to work financially... 

There's all sorts of reasons for me to return to work. But the biggest one for me is my mental health & well being. I miss working. I never really intended to stop, it just happened like that... When I got pregnant first with f, I was planning to be back in 3 months! So to be away for nearly 3 years is a massive leap... 

Soooo I have a lot of backtracking to do on here, I haven't decided if I'll keep up with this or not, I like it but it's another thing. And I have a lot of 'things' at the moment:

We are selling our UK house. Well, actually, we've nearly sold it... (*Done)

That means we can look to buy here... (*Done)

So me getting a job can only help with that... 

Why I cried last night & why others may not support my decision:

I know some who have to work and hate it. So me choosing to is horrible. And it sucks that I may have to go full time. But part time isn't readily available here. Talking to my husband last night, we feel the time is as right as it'll ever be. I dread explaining to Z when she's older (why I stayed home nearly 3 years with F but not Z) but my only excuse is that we've had so much change in the last 3 years, now I need to return to work. F starts precoce in September so I plan for Z to go to crèche at that point, full time. So I've had almost 3 years at home with F and only 1 with Z but in that time we've moved country etc etc and f was very different to Z... Z sleeps about 2 hours a day... F slept about 5! Z already seems much more sociable so I think will benefit more from crèche, F is still incredibly shy... (She cried when a friend asked her not to play with a particular toy yesterday because she might break it! She wasn't in trouble but she was upset that someone else told her off!) 

This country is much more... Everyone works. I am often asked what I do. And whilst being a mum is accepted, I feel inadequate saying I'm a full time stay at home mum. Whether I should or not (& I know I shouldn't) I would prefer to have a job... 

With F starting precoce in September (& we hope to hear this month what hours she'll get) it seems a good time to choose to look. We go on holiday in June, starting dates for contracts here is 1st or 15th of the month so I plan to look & apply when we return (in July). So I guess I'll be busy over the coming months with house hunting, sorting our current stuff for moving and my first Krav Maga belt grading amongst other things...

*** UPDATE:

So clearly this did not all go according to plan. I did get the job but didn't work for ages. So some of this is irrelevant. BUT it has made me realise that for my own sanity I need to do something and some mum's are in that situation. And there's nothing wrong with that. Happy mum = happy children...

Ok, Z is SCREAMING so I'm going to just publish this now ;)

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Who says it can't be done?!

Again another 'catch up' post:

In the words of my husband 'to those who doubted me...'

I started formally looking for a job at the start of a week. We got back from holiday the Sunday evening. I applied for a job & registered with the agencies I'd had recommended by a recruitment consultant friend. I'd already registered on various websites so I kept checking back on them. I didn't dismiss anything but I kept looking for a particular type of job. 

I was asked to go in and register at one agency which I did. I also have a meeting with another agency next week to register. The first agency put my cv forward at one company for 2 jobs yesterday, I think. Today at 5pm I got a phone call inviting me for an interview next week. 

I clearly haven't got the job yet and I'm incredibly nervous. But most of all I'm excited.

*Update: and obviously those of you who have read this blog a while will know that I did get said job but I decided that actually my children were more important. However my experience proves that if you want something and work for it enough, you will get it.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Finishing the house

Well it's still not finished but it's nearly there. F's room:


^ She wanted Winnie The Pooh so WTP she got! ;) She has a toy hammock. If they overflow, toys will have to go....


This is the only bit that's not finished yet: I need to get a paint pen, hooks and hangers... Another 'DIY' to show you when it's done! ;)


It took us all day, including attaching the wardrobe and shelves to the wall but at least it's virtually done! :)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Ideas

I wrote this ages ago but feel it's still quite relevant:

I follow various blogs and they often seem to have something related to minimalism about them. Minimalist Mom is one of my first ports of call but I also follow the new blog written by Kelly Oribine, as I used to follow her previous blog/s - The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking & The Year Of Less. Kelly has recently had a productive week as she phrased it (I mentioned this on facebook and this was her reason) and posted SEVERAL great ideas on minimalism. And they've inspired me. So following my productive decluttering weekend and my busy day today (more to follow on that later), it got me thinking about what DP and I enjoy doing and how our priorities may have changed since we first met - 11 years ago (!) and how our living space should reflect that. My goodness, that sounds very poetic doesn't it?! I KNOW DP will take the mickey out of me for saying that! ;) (I wonder where the phrase 'take the mickey' comes from? I was wondering earlier today where the phrase 'knickers in a twist' comes from so if anyone can shed any light, I gather the latter is due to the longer knickers previously worn?)

Soooo ideas I hope to implement from NOW that I have gained from these blogs:

As the lovely Kelly O suggests I have changed the tabs on my internet browser so that instead of facebook, email, blogger, DVLR, twitter and pinterest opening, now nothing does apart from new tabs. I plan to set some time, ideally at night but on Mondays & Thursdays we'll see, to go through my emails and respond to anything on both facebook and emails, within a set time limit. I am hoping half an hour for each but again, this is a work in progress. I also hope, depending on other commitments, to preplan some blog posts... And yes, I have created a Feedly account. This will I hope also reduce some of the massive amounts of email notifications I get about new blog posts. It also means that as I can't get distracted by emails on the go or when I open my laptop, I hope to be more 'present' with my children and home and not be contacting DP for every little thing. *It doesn't solve the issue I currently have of 20+ pages of emails in my inbox that I haven't been able to deal with since I was pregnant, but I'll worry about that later.

*** I did this and then ended up changing it again but I'm thinking of trying some of it again...

I am thinking of subscribing to Amazon's service but I don't think we need to renew any items at the moment.

*** Doesn't seem to work in Luxembourg & I'm trying to switch to more environmentally friendly options anyway.

I currently have a sort of uniform - jeans (I have some blue, 1 black and a blue skirt) and a tshirt (I'm trying to move towards a style of polo shirt I recently found that I love) and jumper. I have kind of done the opposite to Rachel and tend to wear the same jewellery but a different coloured top each day. I don't really want to invest more effort than 'pick a pair of jeans, top and jumper, if it's cold, to wear' in getting dressed each morning and I don't feel the need to, to be honest. I've never worried about fashion excessively so now I have children, especially 1 being a baby that posits occasionally, going out and discovering baby sick, left over cereal or something else down me somewhere is unfortunately still fairly realistic! However I have been doing a lot of washing lately through implementing Project 333 and then read Rachel's comment about 'spot washing' clothes and realised it made sense and isn't something I'd done or considered! Doh... I do plan to cover my wardrobe and similar things in another post, this is just to touch on ideas.

I have just set a time limit to complete the 'dramatic' initial 'get rid of stuff' because DP is fed up of the concept of having more free time but it never actually appearing. Which is totally understandable. We have also discussed that we're getting rid of our Wii Fit (never played because our children are too young), the few board games we have (as before) and I am going to get rid of most, if not all, of my DVD's because through discussion I realised I don't actually like watching that many films more than once! I am also hoping to get a babysitter round for IP to meet and get used to, so that we can go to the cinema more, something we both used to love doing and haven't done for at least 2.5 years...

*** I never managed to get rid of the wii fit but did get rid of my DVD's, just not hubby's. And the stack of things to get rid of having moved house is taking over our hallway so I'm going to have to deal with it soon! ;)

Half Term, our RAOK & free shopping

Well I am absolutely exhausted after a busy half term week with F! It's been fantastic but I'm kinda relieved she's back to precoce next week. Z has gone to creche as normal so I had some time with F alone...

It has not been the cheapest week but it's not been tooooo excessive I think:

Monday we went to a friend's to do some crafting and then went swimming with a different friend. I actually got an awesome picture from swimming but as it features my friend's daughter and I did get asked in the pool, I didn't think I should post it...


On Tuesday we had a full on crafting day with friends. They live near the school and creche so I often end up descending on them so we hosted them for a change! :) 


In a general chat I discovered that our friends had never had pancake day so we tested our local chinese take away and then Pappa made pancakes...

Wednesday we chilled in the morning (I was pretty tired by this point anyway) and then went to the library briefly, a sushi restaurant where F tried out a 'Sushi Train' followed by a trip to the Chocolate House. She was given this below at the Sushi restaurant just because but refused to eat it. And then made her way through a ginormous piece of chocolate cake & chocolate milk! 

THEN we did our RAOK. I bought a homeless man a coffee... And it turned out that it was the same guy I bought for in December and he remembered me (not many English speak to him apparently). I was so proud of F because she behaved herself and entertained us and spoke a little bit of Luxembourgish to him... Which considering how horribly wrong it could have gone...


Thursday we were back baking at a friend's house and then our weekly trip to Zig Zag... I can't work out how to rotate the picture, sorry!  


And finally we relaxed again, met Pappa for lunch and then did a scrap book of our week...



Now for the weekend, then Pappa's off for the week to hopefully finish bits at home.

Today Pappa suggested it would be good to have some baskets in our wardrobe to keep our worn clothes in, if they're not ready for the wash yet. And F had grown out of her clothes - the sleeves were too short.

I'm sure most housewives go out the next week and try to buy something that will work. And I did have an amusing conversation with Pappa about how I'd have to either spend money or if I didn't, he didn't like '2nd hand'.

But then he took the girls out andddddd I went shopping at home! What do you mean I can imagine you saying? (That was Pappa's reaction) Well I had to take some washing downstairs and thought I'd see what we had in terms of spare containers - I keep empty boxes etc in our cave for now. And I happened to find a few spare boxes that were perfect for the job... And I also went through the 2 boxes we had of clothes from F for Z, and sorted them into boxes I'd saved that were cardboard, from Ikea (I'll take a picture later but they had the girls' shelves in them and happen to fit perfectly on top of F's wardrobe) So now all their 'spare' clothes are sorted nearly and labelled in boxes.

F has just grown into her next size of clothes but does have some REALLY big clothes ;) Andddd I happened to have bought some clothes in the next size up from my friend so we had them all ready and waiting for F... I hope it means most of her wardrobe is now bought for about €20! :)

Monday, 16 February 2015

Epidurals...

Weird post, this one. I have given birth twice & not had pain relief. This is actually for various reasons and not really my choice. I didn't know I was in labour with f so took paracetamol & agonised, 5.5hours later she 'fell out' at home. Not a pleasant experience that I wish to redo, as she was 7.5 weeks early.

With z I was in a different position but that had it's trials. We were fairly new to Luxembourg & I realised F wasn't comfortable with many people so we had to try prepping her & then just leave her. It was 4.5 hrs start to finish so by the time I got to hospital they wanted to do checks & suddenly it was full steam ahead! I recall saying 'I don't even have time for paracetamol now do I, never mind a water birth' & the midwife saying 'no... The heads about to come out...' 

Today I had a minor surgical procedure. It was cosmetic. I had to have a full epidural for it. And now I think I can honestly say I'm glad I didn't have one in labour. 

I know some people will find that strange but I was able to trust my body largely and know that the pain would go. I felt very helpless when I was wheeled to the operating room. Luckily I had a lovely team- I was concerned I don't speak French very well but they spoke English when it was important. We even joked about it. I had been advised to ask lots of questions but I didn't actually need to - I just had to sit very still which was actually fine. It was uncomfortable (funny, that, who'd have thought having a needle stuck in your back would be?! ;)) but ok. And then my right leg started to go numb... Followed by my left leg. The procedure was done in minutes. And then I got feeling back in my feet but not toes a few hours later... 

I don't think an epidural was really necessary, I'm sure in the uk they'd have just done a local anaesthetic. But as hubby said, having needles in that area isn't much fun so it's interesting to say I've had a full epidural... And it took a grand total of 3 stitches. Again, difference between men & women... Hubby was very concerned. I was up & about in the afternoon & saying 'it's only 3 stitches' whilst he was saying '1 there would be more than enough for me'. 

I guess it's hard to explain why I would prefer to feel the pain of labour. That sounds crazy but I would. I felt groggy all afternoon. My back is really sore. You can't see any bruises... I had to be careful not to consume anything prior and wash with horrible red soap stuff. When I first got up I did feel woozy & walking was odd (like, really odd). When I had my babies I was sore but at least I could still move! I was in control of my own body, it was just very sore...

So anyone who's reading this who would like to share their story or thoughts? Have you had an epidural? Have you actively chosen not to have an epidural? Did you regret either decision? I should probably state at this point that my circumstances meant I couldn't have an epidural in labour but every woman is different so if you did have an epidural during labour, I have the utmost respect for you!

Friday, 13 February 2015

5 Ideas for Half Term

I am not setting this in stone cos you know me, things always change here! But at the start of this week I was panicking as to how on earth I was going to keep F occupied during half term, especially as 2 friends I usually do stuff with are away. But I think I've pretty much got it covered now:

Z will still be going to creche at the moment, though I may 'take her out' for some activities.
  1. I can't take both girls swimming together (or rather I haven't tried and don't want to yet) on my own so I figured taking F swimming would be fun. Then I mentioned to a friend who suggested we could go together, she also has a daughter of a similar age.
  2. My other friend and I have planned a massive crafting session with her daughters. So I'm thinking of trying it at a time when I don't have Z, as that's never happened before and it'll mean I can focus 100% on F...
  3. I was thinking of a trip to the library as last time it was hard work with Z in tow... ;) (maybe lunch as well?!)
  4. Lunch with Papa :) (ie just me, F and Papa)
  5. And lastly I had the idea to do with Z but I actually think I may do it with F instead, of creating a scrapbook of our week's activities.
I think that lot should keep us fairly busy. I also want to have some 'down' time so if it doesn't fill every minute then that will be fine too.

http://mymumdom.com/half-term/

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Hopes

I had started a list of what we still have left to do but it's started to get depressing so I'll tell you about my day and next week instead. This was first written about 2 weeks ago and I wasn't going to post it but if anyone else has days like this I thought it might cheer them up a bit... My time has considerably improved since this, thankfully! ;)

It was supposed to look like this:
8am drop girls at 'school'
go to friend's house for coffee etc
9am meeting at friend's house regarding school book week - I've joined the parents association.
POSSIBLY 12 meet hubby and a man at a DIY store to sort bathroom
pm and sometime around this clean the house

What actually happened:
8:30 drop girls at school
Left meeting at 11:30 after hubby says he can't make meeting at lunch time
At 12 meet at DIY store. Leave 'the man' at 1pm.
Finally finish picking out bathroom items and paying/ arranging delivery/ collecting tiles at 3:30pm!
Go home, grab something to eat then head to school again at 4pm to collect girls

Slightly annoying that I haven't had time for any cleaning so the house is a tip.

This weekend was supposed to be:
Saturday go to Ikea for wardrobe, bookcases and hopefully some other bits, Krav Maga Stage
Sunday move furniture from laundry cave (to the garage) ready that I can paint the laundry cave next week

What it's now looking like:
Saturday shopping
Sunday craft fayre MAYBE and hopefully moving furniture

No time for the stage at the moment!? :(
Husband is not home from work yet or any idea when he'll be back at 6:30pm.

What actually happened:
Saturday Ikea
Sunday I can't actually remember. I think we did something with friends & then moved furniture.

Monday, 9 February 2015

National Day of Unplugging... It's Over! ;) 8/3/14

So I heard and wrote about National Day of Unplugging here but I apologise that I never got the chance to edit this and actually publish it. So now we're in February 2015 and I've checked that this year it's 6-7th March 2015. So I guess I'd better complete this before I do it this year! ;)

Saturday night... 

I used my mobile last night because a friend was coming round, so I switched it off at around midnight. I then didn't use my mobile all day today. I did put the tv on for F this morning, as normal. I didn't use my laptop all day. And as it's meant to be sunset to sunset and we're out tomorrow night I plan to not use my mobile after sunset tomorrow, instead... It's not quite the same but what was really nice about today was the ONLY thing I missed was not having my phone camera at the park... Admittedly I have cheated a bit, but it was still nice to actively not use my mobile or laptop all day... Oh yes, and I also looked at R's ipad at something. ;)

http://bingemedia.net/2014/11/19/working-on-a-title-wednesday-111914-unplugging/

I do really need to get more into the habit of not checking facebook or my emails CONSTANTLY. A number of friends have mentioned they have the same issue, recently. One checks for maybe 20 minutes twice a day, not on her phone, now. And given that I never used to use facebook at all when it first started, compared to friends and others, I am cross with myself for struggling to 'give it up' so much. One friend said she doesn't really use her phone at weekends 'cos hubby's home. Which made a lot of sense to me.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Practising 'The Secret'...

I wrote this AGES ago. Update at the bottom:

My cat has an incurable illness. I can't remember the full name but his vet actually told me and my husband all cats respond to the medication but not my cat. The vet then said that he's likely to develop diabetes because the condition means he's hungry all the time (but if I just constantly feed him he'll get ill) so it's a case of monitoring him.

Well I suddenly thought last night that it doesn't hurt to practise using 'The Secret' to cure him. This post tells of someone else who cured a similarly incurable disease in her cat using the power of attraction so I told hubby last night, we lose nothing by trying!

You may think why is she telling me this, what if she doesn't achieve it? Well I figured the best way to start is to tell 'the world'... We are supposed to check his cortisone levels regularly at home, to see if the risk of diabetes increases and whilst we've got the kit, we haven't managed it at all. But he seems happy enough so I assume he is ok. Ignorance is bliss.

Firby, taken in the UK

Currently the biggest issues we/I have is that when he gets hungry he gets aggressive. So about 10pm every night he starts annoying me and scratching. Around 5pm and sometimes he starts whining at about 6am. This is an hour before he's due food... Also the only food he seems to tolerate is wet food which means his teeth are in poor condition. And it's not easy and quite expensive to get hold of said food (I say not easy, I can't buy it from the local supermarket).

Also whenever he goes outside which we try to let him out as often as possible, he then eats grass and is often sick. And that in itself is pretty terrifying because the vomit coming up his throat causes him to make the most awful noise. It's like a small child howling.

Initially what bothers me is that he's aggressive when hungry. Then I would love him to be able to eat dried food. The biggest thing I find with 'The Secret' is that it takes a lot of practise of thinking positively, writing things down etc. So as I don't have masses of time, I'm going to think ahead. When we had our other cat, she had arthritis and was dramatically improved, off a strong medication, when she came to live with us. I believe it was because she got love and attention but most of all she had a house and garden to run around in (others I know with the condition have to do exercises daily). So as we are moving in November I believe that Firby cat will feel a lot better when he can go out when he wants (we'll have a cat flap) and a bigger house to explore. He's always prefered being able to go out on his own terms. His illness is directly related to going to the toilet so I'm sure using a litter tray isn't helping.

**Update:
Having moved house I then contacted a home visiting vet. She doesn't think he does have said disease though she's going to double check for me. She seems a lot more reassuring. He's allowed out most days at the moment but we haven't had a cat flap installed yet. He's been moved successfully onto half and half dried and wet food because the specialist food he was on they do a dried version of now. :) So this is a happy cat owner right now! :)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

New year, new you?! New Years resolutions?

I wrote this post about a month ago and I think I was out shopping with no internet at home. So I never got round to finishing it:

My ideas & priorities have changed considerably over the last few months. Up until a few weeks ago I was saying I will return to French lessons next year. But this week I've had a change of heart. I don't enjoy learning languages. And I realised this month that I speak enough to get by. I do 3.5 hours of classes that are in French per week. And the lady I've partnered most with was impressed last night when I spoke 1 word in French so I said I obviously need to use it a lot more (She likes speaking English with a native).

So I think formal lessons will probably wait. Hopefully I can still go to Luxembourgish lessons later in the year. 

I've had lots of ideas,

And of course this doesn't include our house. Which we still have a lot to deal with. We haven't finished really any of the rooms...

Another hope I have for the year is to continue with Juice Plus 'clean eating'. I'm still planning to pre cook the family's meals at the start of each month, freeze, then reheat each night. 

We had a busy start to the new year but I am determined good times will be ahead:
And all of this isn't necessarily in order! ;) 

There's been various challenges having moved house. The walls are textured and not easy to paint. The wall material I think is stone so hard - hubby bent a drill piece trying to put a mirror up. But I feel we're making progress so hopefully things will start to happen a little bit quicker and as a result we'll be able to get a bit more organised and then as a result of that I'll find more time during the day and won't feel like I can't achieve anything (for example on Friday I planned to clean the house but had a meeting in the morning, then met the guy who's fitting our bathroom and was in the DIY shop for 3+ hours, finally getting home with enough time to eat before collecting the girls immediately).


Monday, 2 February 2015

Random post

Go semi-vegetarian.
Organic, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat is always your healthiest option when it comes to animal protein. But this stuff is pricey. To cut back on costs, make two meals a day meatless. Experiment with a "meatless monday" dinner if you're up for it, instead focusing on alternative sources of protein like beans, tofu, whole grains and eggs. (You'll see health benefits from this in addition to saving money!) Figure out how your body thrives and make it work for you.
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17116/10-tips-to-keep-your-grocery-bill-low-still-eat-healthy.html

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Audit week: how it's going

I can't actually remember what I said about this now (if anything) but this year I had planned that the first week of every month I'd treat as a 'catch up' or 'audit' week. This year I created a spreadsheet to try to keep track of the 101 things I need to do at any time, particularly blog posts. And I have a whole 'tab' just dedicated to 'audit week' that includes:

Monday bulk cooking Food
food?! make bread/rice milk for month Food
Paperwork! do meal plan for month and print out? Food/ Paperwork

filing Paperwork
Tuesday emails Paperwork

laptop audit Paperwork
Wednesday change photo's on tv, laptop screensaver, etc Paperwork
food?! send photo and drawing to grandparents, print any photo's Paperwork
Paperwork! bday cards Paperwork
take recycling, fill with diesel, collect apeh post Finances – budget ac's, check/pay uk credit card Paperwork

back phone up Paperwork
Thursday blog posts Paperwork

send nettie/sam an email Paperwork
Friday computer maintenance – defrag, clear cache?! Paperwork
Car – maintenance car maintenance – oil and water, wash & hoover?! Car
Cleaning fill car with diesel Car

toys General

clothes General

strip wash nappies General

So last month we didn't have the internet and it had just been Christmas so it was pretty easy - I just bulk cooked. But I did do it :D This month I've found another excuse, I have got to finish the painting next week because it's getting ridiculous. SO I've decided to once again postpone it completely. I have even mentioned to hubby and he agreed I can buy ready meals. I currently have 32 pages of emails in my inbox! :( We also have half term this month so I'll have F at home... One of the areas I need to paint is the study so that means trying to sort out filing and the huge amount of 'stuff' in there won't happen... But I have decided to move 2 toy storage cabinets from the caves to the study and keep my craft stuff organised in them so that will help when I get the chance to implement it. And I'm hoping the second week of February to clean the house thoroughly, a room a day, because it needs doing so badly.

Hubby is at least off the last week of February so hopefully I can vaguely catch up on things that week. We'll see...