The Light at the End of the Baby Tunnel

So there are many reasons people decided they are done with children. We are done with two. We feel complete. We also cannot ignore the fact that my body couldn’t physically cope with another pregnancy. However, there are also some smaller, almost silly, reasons we are done with babies. We can see the light at the end of the baby tunnel and it is so bright and beautiful.

Pinky is three, nearly four, and Perky is nearly two.   They are slowly becoming their own independent little ladies and despite the constant ‘Mummy Mummy Mummy’ things are calming down. These are my ‘lights at the end of the baby tunnel’:

  • We are nearly done with nappies. Pinky is potty trained and I will start training Perky in the New Year. I have finally decided. She has been ready for a little while so I am not going to put it off for much longer.
  • No more sterilising bottles. We haven’t done this for a long time as Perky dropped her milk at 9 months (trust me that little porker didn’t need it anymore). But my goodness I seriously hated sterilising the bottles!
  • They can talk. Now this comes with a lot of negatives (have a mentioned the constant ‘Mummy’?) but it does mean they can tell me if they have pain, need a snack or are happy/unhappy. I no longer have to second-guess them and myself.
  • They have personality. Pinky is a little diva but she is also extremely sensitive. Perky is a little comic and loves nothing more than making us all laugh. I don’t miss the eat, sleep, poop, repeat baby stage.
  • Nap time isn’t the extreme necessity it used to be. Perky does still nap but if she misses it every now and again it doesn’t make much difference. This means days out can be whole days out. They aren’t mornings out not too far from home so I can get her back to sleep.
  • Hubby and I can go out and not worry. They are old enough now for me to know they will be ok in the care of their relatives and I don’t feel the overwhelming need to phone and check every 5 minutes. There are only two of them so with the right car seats they fit in everyone’s car. On that note we don’t need to get a bigger car!
  • Teething is nearly finished. I hate teething. I myself remember the pain of my wisdom teeth so I do understand why the girls get so grumpy. Pinky has all of hers now, not that I ever kept track. I knew when she was teething for the most part but her last ones didn’t break through until about a year ago. That means for the past three years one or both of the girls have been having teething pain. Perky has 5 left to break through! Only 5 more teeth and we are done.
  • I no longer have baby hormones in my body. Other than the monthly PMS rollercoaster I am much more level headed. I hate to admit it but I am easier to live with, I don’t react well to hormones.
  • We can all eat together. I only have to cook once in the evening now the girls can hold off until Hubby finishes work. Before I was cooking for them, then us. Nightmare!
  • No more weaning! I hated weaning… Simple as that.
  • No more health visitors. I’m sure they mean well and I know we will still have the 2 year check to get through with Perky but I actually can’t remember when I last saw one (probably at her 1 year check).
  • My body is mine again. It isn’t in the nice pert, trim condition it was before children. It definitely looks like a former war zone and I don’t have the courage to look ‘down there’ even two years down the line, but my body isn’t going to be invaded occupied by another little human. I am claiming it back.   One day I may come to terms with the fact that my dignity has long set sail without me.

So there are some of the more silly and non-important reasons we are done with growing our little family. No we don’t feel the need to ‘try for a boy’, yes we are happy with saying ‘Never again’. It is time for us to call it a day on the baby years, so we have.

I admire those who go on to have more and more children. I do understand why you would. Kids are amazing and as much as they drive parents crazy they make existing so much more worthwhile and fun. Our girls have completed and fused our family; we have what we need and what we can cope with. We have enough love for 20 children (perhaps more) but that doesn’t mean I am not done.

As they say…. Quit while you are ahead.

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What I want my Daughters to know

As days pass by and I see my daughters develop into their own independent little ladies, I often wonder what sort of women they will become. This isn’t something I particularly worry about. Perhaps I should. I don’t mind what jobs they have, I don’t mind if they go to university or not. Their happiness is the most important thing. Along the way I hope they learn, or I can teach these few things….

Be strong minded but not hard hearted. It is important to know what you want and to have the courage to go and get it for yourself. Accompany this with a warm heart and an ability to empathise with others and you will go far and be loved.

Have an opinion. Base this opinion on facts not hear say. Not everything you read or hear will be true. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be prepared to debate. Be prepared to have your opinion changed. Remain open minded. You won’t always be right, be gracious in defeat and always admit when you were wrong.

If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. If asked for an opinion then yes, voice it. Sometimes, however, a question wasn’t asked, a debate wasn’t started. In this instance, if it is too hard to find something nice to say then just don’t say anything.

Ambition is important. What the ambition is isn’t overly relevant. Having ambition itself is what matters as it gives you drive and focus. You can do anything you set your minds to it. Hard work goes a long way.

Be organised. This can be hard to do at times. It is important to stay organised in both thoughts and process. Sometimes things happen in life that knock your confidence, don’t let these things get in the way.

Trust your own instincts. We are all individuals and because of this we will each take different paths in life. We will all enjoy and dislike different things. As they say ‘it takes all sorts to make the world go round’. Only you will know what is right for you. Trust you know the answer.

Stand up for what you believe in. Trust me no one else will.

Stand up for others. Not everyone is strong, and sometimes even strong people have their strength taken away from them. Don’t stand and watch people be bullied or have their confidence sucked from them. Stand up for what you know is right and give others a voice when they have lost theirs. Someday you may need them to return the favour.

Value yourself. There will be a lot of people that come and go throughout life, sadly many of them will try to take advantage of you. If you let them they will keep doing it. Know your worth and value it! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

Be decisive and be determined. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but learn from them.

Learn from other people’s mistakes and not just your own. This is hard to do but pay attention. There is no need to replicate someone else’s mistake.

Believe in karma. Trust me… What goes around come around.

Love freely. Those who love the most are loved the most.

Most importantly…

Be happy! Do what brings you joy. Be with people that make you happy, surround yourself with the good in the world. Happiness comes from within.

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Holy Crap I turn 30 next week! 

I turn 30 next weekend. I’m not really sure where the last year has gone let alone 30 of them! 
I’m OK with it though. Hubby really struggled turning 30 a few months ago, he’s not sure why but he found it very hard. Maybe the mourning of a lost youth? I am more optimistic about turning 30 as I have achieved so much in my 20’s (maybe I will start to slow things down). I trained and qualified as a nurse. I met and married Hubby. I had two children and thus completed my family. The next decade for me will dedicated to focusing on my family. Spending more quality time with Hubby as he has mostly played second fiddle to other things without complaint. The uni work, the long hours of nursing, the extra hours I did to pay for uni. Then the girls. I will see them grow up and start school, they will even have moved on to secondary school by the time I turn 40 (but less about that, 40 I am not excited about).
It’s exciting for me, and it’s the first birthday in a long time I’ve been excited about. Being a January baby no one has ever been that keen on joining my celebrations. 
‘Sorry, I just have no money left after Christmas.’ 
‘Sorry to be a kill joy but I’m detoxing in January.’ 
It’s got to the point where I don’t do anything for my birthday. Hubby and I will go for dinner and we will invite a close friend and partner to join just so I don’t feel completely rejected or miserable, let’s face it no one really likes turning a year older past about 25. 
To be clear I don’t organise huge extravagant things for my birthday (other than the obvious 21st), the last thing was dinner at pizza express which I organised before December so everyone had advanced warning. Even then some people made a fuss about the money. I do understand, we don’t have a money tree either, that’s why I picked that particular pizza restaurant. I don’t even like it! That was 4 years ago now. So this year is going to be different! 
This year as it’s a big one and I don’t want to ignore it (unlike Hubby) I’ve left it up to him to plan. And so far I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed. I believe he contemplated inviting some of my close friends but for various reasons outside his control that was a logistical nightmare. Instead he and I are going to London for the night. It’s something we try and do at least once a year anyway. The girls are having a sleep over at G’ma & Grump’s house starting early Saturday morning whilst we head into London for shopping, probably just of the window variety, then out for dinner. A posh dinner somewhere in Soho. Then an overnight stay in a hotel. I know which restaurant were going to but the hotel is still a secret. He’s promised to tell me when it’s all confirmed, apparently it’s a choice of two or three. He knows me better than anyone so I can’t wait to see which hotel he chooses.  
I don’t like wishing time away but truly I can’t wait for our night out, we always have the best fun in London. I think it will be the best birthday yet! 
I am having a party too this year, I really want one. But since my mum lives 250 miles away and we have such a large family I have decided to throw a joint party for myself and Perky in February as she will be turning 1. The idea of organising two parties 3 weeks apart and then one in March for Pinky just didn’t appeal. 
Here’s to the next decade. May it be as family focused and enjoyable as I wish for. 
Mummy x 

Vienna – a romantic December weekend

So, let’s start with the worst part… Leaving the girls. Ok, so it was only for 2 nights, my mum was looking after them and knew they would be absolutely fine…. But when it actually came to leaving the house at 0415 to go to the airport it was so much harder than I expected! I cried most of the way and then didn’t really relax until we landed in Vienna. Once I had started to relax I did get into the whole experience.

Vienna is simply beautiful, so clean and historical. In December there are Christmas decorations everywhere. I did a little research into the Christmas markets before we went so I knew where the main ones were. What I hadn’t realised was that every corner you turned there would be a different market. The main markets had some standardised stalls. They all had a Christmas decorations stall, I have never seen so many baubles. Then the candle stall, the glass gifts, wooden gifts, jewellery, plus loads more. If you saw something you liked in one market but didn’t get it, it would be available at another market. Some of the smaller markets also had some ‘one off’ stands which were always worth looking around. There were numerous drinks and food stands at each market. Goulash soup inside a giant roll, hot dogs stuffed into a hollowed out baguette with mustard. Pretzels, salted, sugared, iced…. Yummy! Then there was the punch…. Orange, apple, amaretto, mulled wine. Most were rather strong with alcohol and I’m fairly certain that the Austrians add brandy or some other spirit to their mulled wine…. It took me a little by surprise, it was delicious though. Our favourite was an apfelpunsch with winter Jack. It was like an apple pie in a mug, I had a few of those. The mugs came in various shapes and colours, boots, hearts, tankards. The deal was you pay a deposit for the mug and buy the drink of your choice. You could take the mug back for a refill or give it back and have your deposit returned. Otherwise you could keep the mug. We have quite a few in our kitchen now which I shall be filling with my own apple punch very soon.
Outside the Spanish Riding School and at other points throughout the city their were numerous horse and carriages available for a tour or just a romantic ride. We took one on the first night and it was magical, so romantic and the sound of the hooves on the streets was very festive. The main market outside the City Hall was enormous and had a wonderland walk around the outside. This market was my favourite. There were various festive displays of Santa, penguins, a nativity. Plus the post office for the Vienna Christmas postage mark. Each tree in the walk had a different theme, cupcakes, ladybirds, hearts, candy canes. The best time to view all of the markets was after sunset. When they were all lit up with fairy lights it was hard not to feel festive and cosy (even if it was 3 degrees).   
The hotel was lovely, clean comfortable and the staff were friendly. The breakfast was delicious and filling. 
All in all it was an amazing couple of days. We walked for miles but it was all worth it. The break from the girls actually did me the world of good and although I think it was harder being abroad and leaving them it did mean I had to accept it as I couldn’t exactly just go home. 

I would recommend Vienna to anyone. It was very pushchair friendly with street level lifts to the underground. These were very clean and well maintained, unlike the lifts in London. Plus many of the hotels are family friendly and will accommodate the need of babies, toddlers and children. I would love to go back and maybe even take the girls when they are older, it would be nice to do it when they could cope with staying up late and walking a little further. We don’t tend to use public transport, even in London, as we find we see and learn so much more by walking.

Vienna made us both feel so festive we stopped at our local Christmas tree farm on our way home from the airport. 

Hubby keeps referring to himself as the ‘Romance Ninja’ now…. I think he’s hoping the name will stick.