Friday, December 31, 2010

Onwards and upwards - New Year, New Beginnings

Well another year has started and I'd like to say that it was the perfect end to a perfect year. I'd like to but in truth I can't. A year which started full of stress ended the same way, and sadly encroached into the start of this one. But thankfully, so far it was only one day so things can change. And if I have anything to do with it, they will.

We had a relatively quiet holiday this year, by usual standards. This was the first one for a few years that I was totally at home with the kids - in the past I would spend a few days up at the shop finishing off gifts and family cards, so I would have some escape from the build up of stress that goes with having excited children and holiday preparations in the same house. Tony and I would take turns at home and at work - this year I was at home while Tony was out at work most days. And if truth be told, I've loved every minute of it. Seeing the kids get up in the morning, excited because one more sleep was over was wonderful but trying to sort everything on my own as well as entertain 4 of them did take it's toll. Not to mention having to constantly remind their father of the fact that we were just the same at that age. And believe me, dealing with 2 very excited children, a 3 year old who thinks every gift that comes into house is for him, a 1 year old who, bless her, had to spend most days in the babywalker (and hated it!) in an effort to save the tree and getting the last of the prep done was a doddle compared to having to deal with a 47 year old who makes Scrooge look nice!

I'll admit it must be hard for him - he has a lot to take in. Having spent quite a few years studying as a Jehovah's Witness, he had enough on his plate getting back into the swing of celebrating Christmas - then he met me and had to get used to celebrating Yule as well. But you'd think after nearly 12 years he'd be used to it all now. It feels as though somewhere along the way he's decided that if I'm the expert then I should sort it. Which, and don't tell him this, I love doing. But, sometimes it just gets too much for one person to deal with on their own and unfortunately, sometimes I let it! This year, it hit on Old Years Day.....

I spent most of the 1st day of this year trying to figure out what my problem was, why do I react the way I do to the most stupidest of situations. When did I change from being the type of person who just went along with things, letting problems arrive but never letting them get to me. When did I start letting things get to me, overwhelm me and turn me into the type of person - the type of mother - I hate. And more importantly, why do I let Ryan's behaviour get me so angry and wound up when I spend so much time reminding Tony that he's still just a child.

Is it because the Capricorn in me demands perfection - not just in myself but in those around me. Is it down to a battle between my inner child and the adult that I've unwillingly become. Or is it something as simple as a clash of personalities or an extreme lack of sleep! And the answer I came up with ... most likely a combination of all of them. But the fact remains that somewhere along the line I've changed into a person I'm not altogether happy being and I want to get back to being ME. Perhaps the problem is that I haven't changed - that I'm still going along with things, doing what's expected of me until it gets to the point where I can't be everything to everyone and the frustration explodes from me. As a teenager, when all the grinning and bearing got to much for me, I would hide out in my bedroom, watching videos, singing to the radio or drawing. Now I'm an adult I have to keep grinning and bearing it to the point where it gets to boiling point. Something which HAS to change!

I stopped making resolutions along time ago. Let's face it, with my stress levels the way they are, I'm hardly going to be giving up the smoking anytime soon! But each year I like to make a list of things I'd like to try to do in the coming months. The usual suspects are on the list - lose weight, stop smoking and biting my nails, be more compassionate to my fellow in-mates...... but, thinking about it,`if I was going to make any resolutions this year, it would be just two - I need to learn how to organise what time I have so I can have more time for myself to do the things I want and need to do. But more importantly I need to learn how to ask for that time - to not be afraid to ask for that time, rather than what I'm doing now in just trying to keep going until eventually I explode and alienate those people. I need to re-learn how to talk to Tony and the children so that we can re-claim what we've misplaced. And more importantly I need to remember that I am just one person, people like me for who I am, not what I am or what I can do for them. And I need to stop taking things so bloody personally!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.....

.....which means that the kids are excited and I'm starting to panic. Big time!!!
Every year it's always the same - I decide that I'm going to start early and collect bits and pieces through out the year and then realise at the start of December that I've got absolutely nothing in or ready. And don't even mention cards!!! Having owned a craft shop it was a given that I would make my own - and old habits are hard to break.


This time last year I was sat beside my 8 week old daughters bed in hospital, watching her suffer with bronciolitis and praying to every god and goddess I know the name of that she would make it through. Which, thanks to them all, she did. However, due to a combination of preparing for her birth in October, the hectic first few weeks of her life and her subsequent illness, it did mean we were way behind for the holidays - so much so that we only had one week to organise everything (including getting the gifts off to Santa for the kids ;-D )

Somehow we managed to pull it all off but I swore I wouldn't go through that stress again... and this year... was absolutely no different from any other year! I'll admit that I did try hard this year. I bought the stamps for my cards way back in February and even started them. Then Tony decided we were closing the business and I spent the next few months packing up a lifetime of craft materials - including my Yule and Christmas cards. We even started getting a few things in for gifts when we found a bargain or a freebie (gota love Freecycle!!!). And then life got in the way and before we knew it the birthdays were upon us, the kids were of on holidays or starting back at school and other things started to take priority. When we closed the shop in July I had it all planned - I would start up my own business again - this time making finished pieces to sell, like the cards and jewellery, maybe even some of my Fimo or ceramic pieces. All this would be done at night when the kids were in bed and I'd have a bit of freedom. But first I would finish off my Yule/Christmas cards so I wouldn't have those hanging over my head. Life however had other plans.

And so we find ourselves - 3 weeks (I think - I hope!) before the big day and my cards are still here waiting to be finished. And as usual we had the mad mummy panic the other day were daddy was literally threatened to within an inch of his life that he WAS going to go shopping and we WERE going to buy the gifts that I picked!!! And I'll give him his dues he went along like a good little soldier and we got everything we wanted (cos in the end he decided that it was a great idea of his to buy the drumkit, Happyland, pink stereo etc) for the kids.


And now we look forward to that other big tradition - the Annual Tree Decorating Arguement. An evening of family togetherness, where the kids argue and fight over who's putting what where and shout at the wee ones for taking the decorations off as they're being put on.

I'd like it to be like my memories of my childhood - I believe in my heart that this time of the year is the one last real piece of magic in a childs life and therefore in their parents/caregivers lives. I try to make it special for them and it breaks my heart each year that it never seems to work out that way - that both Tony and I allow ourselves to get caught up in the stress that goes with the whole season. Somehow, while trying to re-capture that part of us that are forever children, we unwittingly allow the adult to come out and spoil it for everyone. We spend this time of the year threatening and blackmailing that it will be cancelled (which it has been at least 4 times already this week!!!) instead of embracing the magic and allowing ourselves to be carried away with it. Basically we try way too hard to make it "perfect" for the kids - who cares if it's perfect - IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!

But we live in hope that this year things will be different - that daddy won't lose the head and complain about how much this is costing him and that mummy won't go psycho. That Ryan will not get aggressive when Rebecca puts the decoration he wanted on the tree, that Jonathan won't open too many of the gifts before time and that Jessica will leave a few decorations on the bottom of the tree.

And that despite - or perhaps inspite - of everything - we will have the perfect Yule and Christmas that we're all dreaming off........

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The things we do...

I am so sore tonight - the result of a very long walk today to take Jonathan to pre-school. We were lucky enough to get him a place in a pre-school which specialises in helping children who need a bit of extra help to get ready for school. Jonathan goes due to the fact that he's following the family tradition of being a late talker. Now normally his dad runs him there as it's a way on the other side of town from where we live but, since Tony's working over thge festive period, I have to take him every Tuesday. Not an easy thing since I don't drive. Which means once a week we have an adventure as mummy gets to walk to nursery.

Today was the first time we'd done it and I'll tell you, I'm suffering for it now! We left the house about 12pm for Jonathan to start at 1pm but me being me, I totally forgot about the snow and ice yesterday. And the fact that, despite what an estate agent told me years ago, that everywhere in Douglas is NOT 5 minutes away! Mind you, despite all the snow and ice and hills we managed to get there in just over 30 minutes. But like I said - I'm paying for it big time now so it shouldn't be to hard to understand why I was looking forward to getting the kids settled tonight so I could just sit down, relax and catch up with everything I needed to do.

But I'm sure the kids have been conspiring against me... I was really hoping to get some knitting done tonight but they had other ideas. Tony works nights but I've managed to get into the routine of both of us putting the wee ones down together before he goes to work. Ryan and Rebecca go up separately later on so I have some time with each of them. On Tuesdays though I get selfish - Kirsties Homemade Home is set up on autoview for 9pm so it's vital I get them all in bed and asleep so I can sit and relax and indulge myself. Of course the kids usually have other plans. Normally it's Jonathan, my 3 year old insomniac but tonight it was Ryan. He's a typical 9 year old boy - thinks because he has just 4 years to go before he's a teenager he should be allowed to do what teenagers do. Tonight I let him stay up a bit to watch a movie with the inplicit instructions that he was to go to bed the minute it was over (crafty mummy knew that there was only 10 minutes to go before it ended!) Which, I'll give him his dues, he did. But, just as I'd got myself comfy with a nice hot cup of Assam and my huge big bag of wool beside me...I hear the footsteps.

Now, normally I wouldn't mind having a bit of company but with Ryan - well he never shuts up! I have never in my life met a child who can talk as much. When he was a baby his dad gave him the nickname Duracell and believe me we're still looking for the off switch! So, I spent nearly an hour trying to pretend that I was crocheting a mobile phone cover, all the while trying not to get frustrated at the fact that I should be finishing off their Yule gifts. Not to mention the fact that Saint Kirstie of Allsopp was only doing stuff that I really wanted to find out about. And of course the wee man chittered the whole way through. I'll give him his dues, he sat on a chair and tried not too but he just couldn't help himself. And I wouldn't have cared but when he couldn't resist and just had to talk, you just know it was right at the time she was giving that very important piece of information I needed.

So another night where nothing got done. Biggy biggy catch-up day tomorrow, though aparrantly Tony and I are going gift shopping. Should be fun, as this year, what with money being so tight, I've decided that we're going to go down the thrift route. So tomorrow, Tony's going to be introduced to the wonders of charity shops. Like I said - should be fun....

For now though, I'm going to try to get myself back onto the sofa. Way too late to do anything crafty or creative tonight but enough time to sit back and watch The Vicar of Dibley getting married. Now where'd he hide tose choccy biccys he's just brought home from work.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Snow Day

We had snow yesterday - apparently the first time in 17 years we've had snow in November - or so Ryan keeps telling me. The kids are in their element though they only went out yesterday in 5-10 minute bursts because of the cold. And today, although most of it's melted away we have an official snow day off school. The Manx government have decided that it's too dangerous for the kids to go to school due to ice so I've got 2 school kids at home... playing the Wii in their bedrooms? Go figure. Apparently it's too cold to go outside. Cue mummy going round all day with the stories of how we had to go to school in snow worse than this, feeling like lemons cos my mum made us wear hat, scarf, gloves and moon boots.

Saying that - it was good to see Ryan out playing snowball fights with his dad - even if they did start throwing them at the living room window to see what Jonathan and I would do (maybe I shouldn't have kept pulling faces and sticking my tongue out at them!!!)

And now I have the house to myself - sort off. Jessica's down for her nap and the other 3 have gone out with their dad and some friends to the local park to see if there's enough snow up there to make a snowman (or woman). And I have big plans! Telly's off, CD is on and the wool is out! I put my name down for a Secret Santa swap on UKHippy - £5 limit for a present and of course I thought I'd have plenty of time to crochet a few things. Now what with Yule and Christmas fast approaching I'm starting to panic. Cards need to be completed, dolls need to be finished for Yule and lists need to be scanned and ordered for Christmas. And as usual I'm going round saying that things will be different next year cos I WILL start making things in January. Saying that, Rebecca's doll was meant to be her birthday gift last year. Ryan's footballer was for his birthday in June (not my fault - the local habidashery ran out of stuffing) and I did start my cards in February (a few toppers to finish off but I still need to order the actual cardstock to stick them onto!!!)

All I can say is that it's a good job being a Pagan living in a house full of Christians - I get 2 chances at New Years resolutions - who knows I may even be able to keep a few in 2011!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For!!!

I’m the type of person who needs time to herself every now and again - you know, just 5 minutes to recharge the batteries then I’m back up to full speed and ready to take on the world! But I’ve also got 4 kids under the age of 10 and a 47 year old, all constantly wanting my attention. Lately it’s been starting to wear me down. Summer holidays are nearly over and the kids are getting restless. Not to mention the fact that we’ve all got cabin fever from being stuck in the house all summer. When we opened our shop 8 years ago the main rule was that if it started to affect the family then we’d call it a day. Took us long enough to finally get shot of it so when we closed it in June this year it was supposed to be the start of a wonderful new life. Tony was going to take at least 2 weeks of before looking for a full-time job and we would try to catch up with jobs around the house and spend loads of time with the kids while we could.

Then the phone calls started. Tony works part time for Tescos as a delivery driver and every morning he’d get a phone call asking him to come in and cover this shift or another, and being the kind of person he is he would go in to work a) because we need the money now and b) because he’s made a commitment to the firm and he’s good like that. The only problem is that it’s been all bloody summer, which in turn means that I have to sort 4 kids and try to keep a bloody big 3-storey Victorian terrace house running. Haha - have you seen how much washing a 5 year old Diva can generate in 2 hours???? My days for the last 6 weeks have consisted of trying, mainly, to catch up with said washing and housework while trying to ensure that the kids don’t kill themselves or each other. Then the plan has been that in the afternoons we go out to a park or the beach which is almost literally just round the corner. Again with the manic laughter - yeah right! On the good days they’ve either not wanted to go out or (with luck) gone to friends houses. However this means that I can’t leave the house cos they may come home unexpectedly so the two wee ones have suffered (not that at 2years old or 10 months they’ve really noticed much)! So we’ve all been pretty much house-bound for the entire summer and it’s starting to take it’s toll on me.

Bedtimes are bad enough at the best of times but throughout the holidays they’ve been doubled. Just when I got all excited that Jonathan was starting to sleep through the night, he also started to have naps again during the day (most times literally over his dinner!) And my wonderful angel baby Jessica - the only one off the four who would be happy and content to fall asleep in her cot even if no-one was in the room has turned into a party animal!!! I seem to spend most of my time in one bed or another until Tony comes home from work at 11pm and then just when I decide to go up to my own bed - taa-daa - one of the wee ones will wake up and I end up spending the night in with them. Hence very little proper sleep and zilch time to myself equals the grump from hell. My mum still talks about how she hated the summer ending and my brother going back to school - I say bring it on!!! Don’t get me wrong - I’ll miss the older two when they go back. It’ll take me a while to get used to having food in the fridge, getting to watch Jonathan’s favourite programmes without fear of them being turned over halfway through and actually having the computer to myself. Oh and not having the constant drone of the Dr Who theme or Justine Bieber or JLS being blared out of every available stereo in the house. It’ll most likely take me a few days to realise that I can sit and knit for a bit while the wee ones play contentedly or that I can just pop the two of them into the double buggy and head off down to the shops without the constant whine of “I want”. It’ll probably even take me a while for the realisation that I go the toilet without having an audience to sink in. I’ll miss them terribly - they’re my babies and as much as I complain I’m going to miss having them here with me. But I just can’t wait to get my batteries recharged - at least until half-term!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Suppose I'd better introduce myself properly then...

I am a wanna-be earth mother. I wouldn’t go the whole hog and say I’m a fully fIedged earth mother cos I tend to fail at it more times than I succeed but the intention is there. I'm mum to 4 wonderful kids, Ryan, Rebecca (Beccabird), Jonathan and my newest babsy Jessica aka DaisyBelle who are my entire world. I've been with my other half since 1999 and would be lost with out him (just don't tell him that or he'll start thinking I like him!) We used to own and run our own craft shop where I would spend all my time creating wondorous works of art in the form of greetings cards, scrapbook pages and jewellery - I basically lived the ultimate 5 year old's dream - colouring in, cutting things out and making things everyday. Now I'm a stay at home mum, trying to raise my children to respect and look after our planet and to be independant, free-thinking human beings - all in the hope that they won't need too much therapy when they're all older!!! When I was pregnant with Ryan I had it all figured out - I’d be a proud member of the breast-feeding, cloth bum brigade - that went out the window fairly quickly after weeks of crying, screaming and bawling (most of which I have to admit came from me!) But as I said the intention is still there. I

I’m trying to bring my children up to have a childhood much like I had - one where the good times and memories outweigh the bad. I want them to grow as children should, to have a childhood that lasts as long as possible rather than as most kids seem to be these days - mini-teenagers way before their time. I want them to learn how to use their imaginations rather than concentrating on all the paraphernalia that is out there for children their ages these days. I have to admit that I may have been way too romantic in my plans and it doesn’t help having a techno boff as my other half who believes that technology and their ability to use it is what’s more important. But I’ve said it once and I’ll probably keep repeating it again and again - the dream is there - and I WILL succeed!