A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Sleep. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sleep. Show all posts

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Week That Was - August 31st

It's been an amusing week in the Anderton house. I've loved having daughter, Olivia, home and have really enjoyed her company. I'm trying not to think about the girls leaving for their final year at university in the third week of September.

This was my week...
On the way to the supermarket on Monday, I spied my husband's old car and waved like an idiot at the person behind the wheel, before realising that it wasn't being driven by my husband. Apologies to the lovely lady I waved at - who obviously had no idea who I was. I can only blame my hormones for the momentary lapse.

I woke early on Tuesday morning, slap-bang in the middle of a hot flush and came downstairs dreaming up plans for Olivia and Sophia's 21st birthday party. I also chatted to a couple of people on Twitter who were similarly sleep deprived. It seems there are a lot of us around at 4am. Later that evening I fell asleep on the sofa at 9pm. How come I take my best naps in front of the TV?

After weeks of asking Olivia what she would like for her birthday, we went shopping on Wednesday morning. My instructions were simply, 'I've stuck a four hour ticket on the car, please find something.' Neither of my daughters is materialistic - which is good, except for when you have no idea what to buy them. Olivia came back with a small selection of gifts. Now all I need to do is find something for Sophia - she arrives home from the US on Saturday. As we haven't seen our youngest daughter since 20th June, I'm predicting lots of hugs, kisses and sleep after her long journey from LA to New York and from NY to Heathrow.

On Thursday, I asked Olivia if she thought a themed party would be a good idea. 'That's an excellent idea,' she said. 'We could have a Harry Potter party. You and Dad could come as Dobby and Kreacher.' She went on to pick characters for almost every member of the family, plus close friends and neighbours. Party plans are underway - sans theme, as I didn't want to upset our guests. So far I've bought balloons, cake candles, bunting and booked a delivery slot with Waitrose.

On Friday, my gorgeous nephew turned thirteen. How did that happen exactly? Thirteen years ago we were on holiday in Gran Canaria when he was born - seven weeks early, perfectly healthy and weighing only 3lb 3oz. It's hard to believe that he's almost as tall as I am, or that he's a teenager. Fortunately he still loves hugs, but I'm no longer allowed to mess with his hair :o(

My sister hosted a party for my nephew on Saturday and miraculously, the weather was kind. We drank a lot of Pimms in the garden and I taught my nephew a fun game involving clothes pegs. I have a suspicion that my sister isn't going to thank me for this. It was dark by the time we arrived home and I was rather taken with this view of moonlight filtering through clouds from my bedroom window.

On Sunday I made a batch of mini scones that resembled The Leaning Tower of Pisa. The plan was to freeze these ready for the party in a couple of weeks, but as they didn't turn out as planned, we ate them instead. I'm hopeful that batch number two will be more successful.
The Leaning Scones of Pisa

My favourite blog for this week comes from The 40 (ish) year old Domestic Goddess. I snorted with laughter as I read her post: Was my Mum really a Hairdresser?? My mum was also a hairdresser and I have a similar assortment of hideous snapshots hidden away in photo albums. To this day my mother wonders why I hardly ever visit the hairdressers.

Here's to another crazy week. Have fun whatever you're up to.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Chaos Theory

Snoopy, Irish proverb
If all goes to plan, both daughters will be home next week. If we're lucky only one will return with all of her possessions, as the other still has a few weeks to go and will hopefully keep everything at uni before moving straight into her new accommodation.

And so, I have been doing that mum thing, the one where you don't want the kids to know that you thrive on wine boxes, dark chocolate and Enrique Iglesias lyrics in their absence and pretend that the house runs like clockwork. You run around like a thing possessed attempting to make the house look effortlessly minimal and chic. And well, I guess that's never going to happen after living at the same address for the past seventeen years and bringing up a wildcat, (with a penchant for shredding sofas, carpet and cushions) as well as twins, but you get the idea. For good measure, you also fill the freezer with nutritious meals made from scratch and make a red velvet cake.

For a long time now I've had a theory that the more organised you try to become, the more the universe conspires to prevent you from digging your way out of the hovel you seem to have found yourself embedded in. I have two ideas about why this happens:
  • The universe thinks that you're coping too well with whatever, and challenges you to cope with so much more.
  • You should never be too complacent about thinking you are in charge of anything that happens in your life. You're not.
Life was a tad crazy at the Anderton house last week, and the universe decided that I was way too in control of everything and threw me a curve-ball. I won't bore you with the details, suffice to say that I am fine, but initially, I was floored and needed a bit of a time out. After watching my favourite funny film of all time, Furry Vengeance and enjoying a good night's sleep, I woke ready for action and dealt with the fall-out, working twice as hard to cram everything in.

I begged Olivia for a favour and asked her to proof read the latest article I was submitting. As she was busy finishing off coursework I may have even bribed her with chocolate. It's hard to believe that I'm still doing this and she will be twenty in September. I'd forgotten that the feature contained sensitive material about the need to have a sort out and rearrange her wardrobe before she came home. 'Why do you need to sort out my wardrobe exactly?' appeared in red writing on her editorial notes. My answer, 'So you'll have some cute clothes to go visit grandma when you come home.' Sadly, her answer wasn't suitable for the blog.

There's a chance that the girls' plans could all change again before next week. I'll be commiserating with the dregs of the wine box, retrieving my stash of dark chocolate from its hiding place and spending more quality time in the company of Enrique. And I guess there are worse ways to spend my days, but come home soon darling daughters - your mum misses you both and could really use a hug x

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

10 Things A Mum Needs To Do Before The Kids Come Home From Uni

On Monday the house is going to be invaded as Olivia returns for the holidays. She finally got in touch on Thursday night and obviously, I can't wait to see her. Sophia's not back until the 30th March, but one daughter home for the time being is better than none at all.

And so I've been doing that Mum-thing and planning ahead, this is what I've been up to...
  1. Stocked up on wine (& hidden it) - this is for medicinal purposes and I'm certain it will come in handy over the next few weeks.
  2. Cleaned their bedrooms thoroughly as I probably won't get  to see the carpet for quite some time.
  3. Cleaned the house from top to bottom, so that I can pretend it always looks that immaculate while they're away.
  4. Stockpiled all sorts of goodies in the fridge, freezer and cupboards - all stuff we haven't eaten since they left. Chances are they have dined on some strange combinations since going to uni and will appreciate home cooking.
  5. Caught up on the laundry - I'm about to get deluged, and remain convinced that neither daughter washes a thing in the run-up to coming home. They return with laundry bags almost as big as they are, drop them by the washing machine and then vanish before I have the chance to say anything.
  6. Written a list about all the things I miss while they're away. Whenever I feel the need to go 'Grrr,' I can extract the list, make a coffee, (or have a glass of wine) take a deep breath and read it out loud.
  7. Caught up on some sleep - as my daughters inhabit a different time zone to Mr A and myself, we are frequently sleep-deprived whenever they're at home. We also don't get any privacy (I'll leave you to jump to your own conclusions).
  8. Discussed boundaries - it's better for the entire family if we're getting along reasonably well. I appreciate it's a big change for them, (it is for us too). We have to work together!
  9. Made appointments for the dentist - I have a sneaky feeling this would have been ignored if I hadn't.
  10. Turned back into a mum! Why is it that I can do this at the flick of a switch? I'm guessing that my daughters will also revert to being children again the second they walk back through the front door.
Wish me luck...
Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton

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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mothers Are All Slightly Insane

This week has been tiring. Two days in the company of daughter Sophia have worn me to a frazzle and it seems that I have forgotten how tiring kids can be at any age.

This is what happened...

Meeting my daughter at the coach station, I was immediately told off for extracting hugs when there was nothing she could do to escape. As I hadn't seen Sophia for five weeks, these protests were ignored. We spent the entire afternoon shopping (and OMG my daughter can shop), before checking into a hotel.

As a birthday treat, Sophia took me to the cinema. I may have accidentally fallen asleep during The Lego Movie and if I don't get the song Everything Is Awesome out of my head very soon I may have to seek professional help. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, here's the link...

After the film, we ate dinner at an Italian restaurant before heading back to the hotel. The rest of the evening was spent watching music channels amid heated discussions about the latest chart offerings.

Having left her favourite cuddly toy at home during the Christmas holidays (and I'd like to think this was unintentional), there was a small stowaway in my bag. Handing him back to Sophia made me very happy indeed, sadly my daughter thought this was tragic, but it also made her smile and I realised that she's done a lot of growing up since leaving home last year. At last it looks as though there is light at the end of the teen strop tunnel - yay! Although keep checking back for updates as she's due home again for the holidays pretty soon and obviously, that could all change.

During the night my sleep was frequently disturbed by her phone emitting a low charge beep and why it didn't keep quiet and conserve its energy I have no idea? It wasn't as though we had a charger! Convinced that the phone would 'die' before morning and we'd oversleep and miss her interview meant that in-between beeps, I slept intermittently. During the night we also lost Sophia's mobile, small cuddly toy and the remote on three separate occasions down the small gap between the beds. I'd completely forgotten what a fidget my daughter was. She's obsessed with arm rubs and on numerous occasions I felt her arm sneak over to my bed seeking attention. She knows that I'm always going to fall for it and I'd forgotten how very cute she looks while asleep (she won't thank me for sharing that).

The following morning we had breakfast at an American diner. There was a mini jukebox on our table and Sophia had never seen one before. It made me feel old when I had to explain and Sophia was completely bemused about technology before the invention of iPods. We selected Jan and Dean Surf City, before devouring pancakes, maple syrup and berries, yogurt, granola, fruit and bottomless coffee that's always a bonus in American diners. I so needed a caffeine fix to wake me up after the previous night and refuel for the day ahead.

I'm happy to report that the interview went well and Sophia has made it through to the next round where she'll (hopefully) be offered job placements in several different locations and get to choose where she wants to spend the summer. I'm feeling philosophical about this, I know that Sophia desperately wants to work and if you love something you have to learn to let go. It doesn't make it any easier.

After more shopping, lunch and stopping off for food for the return journey as she had plans to go clubbing after arriving back at uni, we returned to the coach station, I extracted another hug, got told off again and waved her goodbye before getting on the train to head for home. All I could think about was a long soak in a warm bath, getting into my PJs, watching something that required no brain cells whatsoever on TV and falling asleep in my own bed. And I realised that yes, I really did feel as though I was 96-years of age!

It's now five and a half weeks until she's home for Easter. Can't wait - more hugs!

My darling daughter found this adorable quote that's also the title of today's blog and thoughtfully passed it on to me. I'm thinking only that all mothers are slightly insane because sometimes it's all we have left! And I'm just wondering... does anyone else agree?

Copyright ©2014 Izzie Anderton

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Sunday, 26 January 2014

How Not to Arrange Childcare

Recently I was inspired by Catherine over at Always a Redhead. Her post, The toll of working shifts about how hubby's work patterns impact on family life, made me realise that most of us have struggled with our own demons when it comes to raising our kids and juggling everything else life flings in our direction.
I have huge respect for anyone who’s raising a family – it is the toughest job ever. A special mention for all the single parents out there – I honestly don’t know how you do it!
This post is about juggling childcare with my husband, whilst raising twins and renovating a house...
Discovering that we were expecting twins in March 1994 was fabulous news. We had wanted a child for a very long time and couldn’t have been happier. There was however, a nagging doubt in the back of my mind as to how we’d ever cope with two babies.
As main breadwinner, it was decided that I would return to work and Mr A would stay at home for a year. I had to go back when the girls were just three months old, this wasn’t a lifestyle choice, more a necessary evil - that didn’t make it any easier. Mr A was a fabulous dad and better suited to life at home with our daughters than I would have been. Luckily he has the patience of a saint and this helped a lot.
As I was also responsible for covering on-call in addition to working full-time, life was stressful. In fact, if you’d asked me what day of the week it was, I probably couldn’t have answered correctly. Life became an endurance test as I was desperate to spend as much time as possible with the girls when I was home. Fortunately Mr A took over almost all of the domestic responsibilities and left me with the babies as much as possible.
After a year it became obvious that our two-bed starter home was bursting at the seams with all the kit required by our daughters. The sad realisation that we’d have to move meant that Mr A would be heading back to work.
He found a new job working evenings and we arranged childcare for the two-hour overlap between him leaving and me arriving home again. Despite the fact that we were both permanently exhausted – this worked out well as the girls got to spend lots of time with both of us. We reached an agreement that we’d never vent our frustrations on one another even though we were ships that passed in the night. We had routines, stuck to them without fail and existed on auto-pilot. We were doing the best we could for our daughters and made the most of every weekend before the chaos resumed on Monday morning.
After a year and a half we managed to move house. What possessed us to buy a complete wreck that to this day requires sustained effort on multiple DIY projects, I have absolutely no idea.
After four years of separate full-time shift patterns, bringing up the girls and struggling with renovating the house I managed to negotiate slightly reduced hours at work. As the girls were now both at school, I was home in time to collect them and this was very much appreciated.
Now however, it was Mr A who missed out on spending time with our daughters. He decided that working nights would fix this as he’d be around when they arrived home from school and head off to work sometime around 11pm. What we’d completely failed to factor into the equation was school holidays. As he was still responsible for childcare during the day, there was no time for sleep. He would try to rest when I arrived home – but never managed more than a couple of hours. These six months almost broke us and sadly, we concluded only that he had to switch back to evenings.
In total we worked separate shifts for eight years, after that he took a job working days and we took almost all of our annual leave separately (apart from vacations) to cover as much of the childcare as possible. When our daughters finally turned sixteen – we were relieved that finally our childcare responsibilities were over and resumed taking days off together as a family.
I remain unconvinced as to whether or not if I had this time over I’d make the same choices. All I know is that my daughters have spent lots of time with both parents, appear happy and have left home to study at university. Mr A and myself meanwhile, are left with an empty nest and the opportunity to reconnect.
I think the important message has to be that as parents you do what you feel is right with childcare issues. I remain unconvinced that anyone has the right to judge – isn't it tough enough already?

Copyright © 2014 Izzie Anderton

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