Friday, 31 January 2014

Fabulous at 40

I've read so many blogs recently where the bloggers are turning 40 this year.  A few of them have a kind of bucket list type thing going on where they either have a list of things they want to do by the time they are 40 or they have devised some way of becoming fabulous but the time they reach their milestone age.  I quite like this idea and I'm always up for a bit more fabulousness in my life.

I'm also 40 this year (in five months to be precise) and so I'd better get cracking if I want to be fabulous for the big day.  How on earth can I do that though?  There are several areas where I always think I could improve on my life and so that seems like a good place to start.

1.  Be a fabulous mother

Hmm, motherhood.  It's hardly the sort of wonderful affair I'd imagined when I was pregnant with my first child, filled with long walks in the park, baking cupcakes and crafting.  Well sometimes it is but for the most part it seems to involve clearing up lots of mess, chauffeuring small people about and cajoling them into tidying their room/getting dressed/doing their homework.  Maybe I could not nag them so much, do a bit more baking and crafts and not shout moan about the mess they make, but to be honest, my children are all largely happy, love me (most of the time) and have everything they need (and most of the things they want) so I think on balance that I'm doing a pretty good job already.  Besides, who wants to beat themselves up over the things they feel they should be doing but don't actually need to do?  That sounds utterly joyless and not at all fabulous doesn't it?

2.  Be a fabulous wife

I can almost hear my husband laughing as he reads this at his desk at work (hello dear!).  I think it is fair to say that there are times when I am a less than fabulous wife.  We have been married for 17 years now and I think if there was ever a doubt that I wasn't in some way good enough at being his wife, dh would have left ages ago.  Therefore, I conclude that I don't need to get more fabulous at something I've been doing for 17 years already.  I am clearly excellent at this!

3.  Be a fabulous cook

This is something I actually love doing, shutting myself away in the kitchen and making a nice meal.  Cooking de-stresses me and I am a bit of a foodie on the quiet.  I've blogged about bettering my baking abilities before and that is an ongoing thing.  I haven't had any major kitchen related disasters of late, in fact I feel that I've got my cooking mojo back a little this week.  I learned a new skill, cooked a couple of new recipes (one of which I'm going to blog if I get the chance) and just generally feel that I can tackle anything kitchen related (although roast dinners still remain very much dh's forte).  That's the thing about cooking though - it is such an ongoing thing skill wise.  I bet even Nigella burns the toast sometimes.

4.  Have a fabulous body

*Looks down at post-baby body and cries a bit*

Honestly, having five children in 9 years has left my body in a bit of a state.  I have stretch marks and scars that I never thought I'd have but actually I don't mind them.  Having "got back" once already after ds2 was born I know my old body shape is in there somewhere, but at the moment the one I've got is just fine.  It isn't terrible and it isn't amazing either.  I get plenty of exercise running around after the fantastic five anyway so no need to launch myself into some fancy fitness program (besides my pelvic floor isn't ready for that), so for the moment I'm embracing what I do have and not worrying about what I haven't got.  That's good enough for me.

5.  Be a fabulous blogger

Well, its fabulous being a blogger.  Is that the same thing?  Blogging is a hobby for me, one I'm not the best at but then who decides that anyway?  It is always nice to be well received when lots of people read a post you've written.  It's nice when somebody sends you something that they want your opinion on too.  I set my blog up so that I could use my brain a bit more, occasionally make other people smile and share the things I've picked up as a mum of five among many other reasons.  Fabulousness doesn't have to be measured by the amount of page views I get or by my ranking with Google or whoever (which is just as well because they are probably all pants at the minute).  I feel pretty fabulous for starting my blog in the first place.

I've come to realise since I've been thinking about the whole idea of achieving something by the time I'm 40, that I actually don't really need a list.  In fact I don't need to achieve anything at all.  Why?  Because I'm already fabulous.  I'm Fabulous at being me - a slightly overweight, scatty mother of five, OKish wife/cook/blogger who loves drinking too much coffee and tea, wine and gin.

As for when I'm 50, well I could get a head start on a list I suppose, after all I've got the next ten years to achieve it.  Heavenly by Half a Century has a nice ring to it don't you think?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Family Fun on a Budget

The whole of January is such a bleak month - thank heavens it is nearly over.  Not just because the dismal weather but also because it is a whole six weeks before payday.  This is a problem for a lot of people, ourselves included.  Especially when we have five children to entertain.  In the week I only have the youngest two at home for part of the day.  They are usually happy with craft activities, a bit of scooting to and from school which eats up the day, and maybe a bit of good old CBeebies as well as the usual toys of course.  At the weekend we are all at home and thats when things tend to get expensive.  None of our older children do out of school activities at the weekend (partly by our design and partly because they don't want to) so they all expect to be entertained by us!

So, how do you entertain a lot of people on a budget and cater to all their tastes?  Well, we try to, and here are some of the ways we do it.

1.  Keep it simple - have a film afternoon

One of the best things about this is that there is always a film somewhere that we can all enjoy.  We either rent from iTunes or currently via Blinkbox (We had some free vouchers for moving our phones over to Tesco last year) or use our Netflix subscription.  We then add some popcorn bought from the supermarket, close the curtains and dim the lights.  We actually prefer this to a trip to the Cinema, which would probably cost us at least £80, mainly because it is rather nice to be able to pause the film for toilet breaks, everyone gets a good seat and you can't drink a nice glass of wine at the cinema ;)

Total Cost:  £4.50 film rental (Netflix is £6 a month), £2 for popcorn

2.  Exploring the great outdoors

An obvious one I know.  For the past ten years we've been members of the National Trust which offered us several places locally that we could visit.  The trouble with being members for so long however is that we know the places inside out having been to each one several times already.  That, coupled with the eye-rolls from the pre-teen and the teen every time we suggested a trip out made us re-evaluate the £100 a year we were spending.  We found that we have some great places closer to home that are totally free, some within walking distance.  We also realised that we weren't actually using our Trust membership very effectively, only walking round the grounds of some sites and not visiting the properties.  For the cost of the car parking we can still do that though, just without outlaying money for the membership.  The younger children still like to get out and explore and our older two can always be persuaded to come along as long as there is scope for a picnic at the end!

Total Cost: Nothing, or around £10 if you take a picnic

3.  Go Bowling in your house

Games for the whole family

Ok, so it isn't strictly proper bowling but have you ever tried to go bowling in real life with loads of small children?  Its a hassle I can tell you now.  First you have to get the shoes on and then sort out the score board and then stop them from throwing themselves down the lane after the ball.  If you get to nearly the end there's a high chance that you will run out of time before everyone has had their last turn (speaking from bitter experience here).  Anyway, we find it far more civilised to dust of our Nintendo Wii* and use the bowling game on that, or any other competitive game if bowling isn't your thing.  You can make things more of an experience by having prizes at the end (sweets!) and maybe also do some snacky food like hotdogs too.

Total Cost: £2 for some treat sized sweets, £6 for the hotdogs

4.  Have a themed meal at home

A Mexican recipe that they will all love

Now, we used to love going out to a restaurant occasionally but more recently, and kind of like the bowling thing, it is a total pain to organise.  With seven of us when we tip up at a restaurant the servers look perplexed when we ask for a table that seats us all.  One trip which admittedly was a while ago now, resulted in us actually having a table but being told I wasn't allowed to wheel my double buggy up to it but had to fold it and squish it behind some sort of cutlery dispenser.  This wouldn't have usually bothered me but two other families came in afterwards, one had only four members but were allowed to wheel their double buggy up to the table and leave it up throughout their meal, the other had as many diners as us in their group but were served before us.  Our food arrived and dh's was cold and had to be sent back.  We paid more than £50 for that experience and I think that is such a phenomenal waste of money when for much less we can have so much more at home (and also not be treated like second class citizens because of our family size).  Our favourites include Tapas and Mexican food.  You can add to the ambience with some appropriate music - I think we used LastFM for some lovely spanish guitar music once!  Also I have been known to melt a candle into an old bottle to use as a table decoration - be careful around the kids if you try this though.  We have so much fun getting involved with choosing and preparing the food.  Also, if dh is cooking then the food will be guaranteed to be piping hot, with enough for seconds which gets the teen's approval too - perfect!

Total Cost:  Varies but we can feed everyone very well for about £20 tops

This weekend we are having a Mexican feast on Sunday, maybe a bowling tournament on Saturday too.  What do you do to keep your family entertained?  What ever you are doing this weekend, I hope you enjoy yourselves!

*other games consoles are available.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Too Busy to Blog

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front this week.  Real life seems to have taken over for a change and I haven't had much time to sit down and blog about anything!  I thought then that an update would be in order especially to show the other Groovy Mums on how I'm getting on.  My dh is on the mend (stitches are out!) after last week and I have duly purchased a first aid kit in case of any further incidents and things are almost back to normal.  Unfortunately I have had to devote a bit of time to catching up on housework, which took a back seat when we were all so under the weather last week.  The upside to this is that I've re-discovered my House Series 8 box set and it has been acompanying me through the ironing today ;)

So,  after last week I set myself  few little challenges.  The first aid kit I've now got and I have surprised myself with actually knowing what to do with most of the contents.  I have downloaded a few first aid apps, British Red Cross Children's First Aid and St John's Ambulance First Aid.  So far I'm doing OK with them.  I know more than I thought.

First Aid in the house!

I've managed to download the High School calendar onto our computer but frustratingly the Primary School calendar was harder to deal with.  I've put in all the key dates for the time being.  My next task will be to try to keep on top of it all!

The other thing I've done this week is to try to make sure I do at least one school run on foot every day.  I'm all too used to jumping in the car which is fine but we live quite close to school and I do appreciate the fresh air and time to clear my head, weather permitting!

Another lovely thing that happened last week is that ds3's appointment at Alder Hey went very well.  I won't go into too many details because I think it may deserve a post all of its own but it made me realise that despite things not always going to plan, sometimes someone can throw you a crumb of hope that makes life seem not quite so bad.  I'm holding on to that as we go into next week.  

I've a big long list of things I keep meaning to write about, hopefully I'll make some time next week to get onto that!

Thursday, 16 January 2014


Every so often, someone says to me, "Oh, you are so organised".  It is a lovely compliment and generally speaking I do manage to organise everything and everyone in our house to a certain extent but I am not a really supremely organised person.  This week it seems like we are swinging from one minor disaster to the next and I feel I've only got myself to blame.  I'll explain.

Friday afternoon and I go to pick up the children from school.  Ds2 comes out clutching a letter regarding a trip that is taking place this week.  It needs paying for and I haven't done that.  I had an email about the trip before Christmas but I filed it or rather I deleted it because I can't find it now.  I go to check the amount and pay on the school online payment site.  It is new and I've only used it once before.  I can't remember the login and therefore can't pay.  Will need to ask dh I think.

Friday evening, feeling a bit chesty.  Ignore it. Wake up on Saturday feeling like death and have a children's party to attend at lunchtime.  Have no suitable medicine in the house at all (unless you count gin, but can't really attend party smelling of gin).  Manage on paracetamol alone and just try to make it through until the party finishes.  Collapse in a heap at home.

Sunday comes, remember that trip needs paying for.  Dh volunteers to sort it out for me and manages to get in to the online payment account.  He puts the card details in and then gets asked for yet another password.  He's only changed the password recently and yet neither of us can remember it so we have to reset it and start again.  This takes what feels like hours.

Monday.  Manage to get through Monday OK.  Quite a normal day.  Go to bed.  Get woken at 12.45 am by ds3 who is screaming because the light in the hall has gone out and he can't see.  In fact all the lights upstairs don't work.  Assume fuse must have blown so dh goes downstairs to the fuse box which is in the hall.  Except, he loses his footing and falls all the way down.  Fortunately he seems fine but bruised.  We locate the torch and it appears that the entire street has no power so we attempt to calm everyone down and go back to bed.  Dh says that under his arm feels odd, like it is bleeding but it can't be, can it?  I grab the torch and have a quick look.  As I lift his top I can see grazes, a bruise and then a hole!  An actual hole in his armpit, with fleshy bloodiness and everything.  We panic a bit.  The power suddenly comes back on. The hole in dh's underarm is really rather deep and scary looking.  I try and clean it up a bit but yet again I realise that we have virtually no first aid type stuff in the house that is suitable (we did once, but it has been used).  I think it needs stitching and so call NHS 111 to see what we need to do.  The upshot of my 15 minute phone call is that yes, he needs to get himself to hospital.  We debate getting everyone out of bed and all going but then dh calls his dad who agrees to take him.  They go and I spend a while trying to work out what dh has impaled himself on.  There is no blood anywhere but possibly the culprit could have been the radiator or one of the kids scooters.  Dh returns at 3.45 am and has been stitched up and given a tetanus for his trouble.  I crash into bed thinking that I must really get some sleep.

So, what's the point of me telling you all that?  Well, this morning it got me thinking that I really do need to become more organised (not just for the benefit of my family, but for me).  I should have a system in place for remembering passwords so that I can pay for stuff at school.  I used to have all the important school dates written down in a diary but I have found that the diary often got ignored so I stopped.  I need to start again, or use my iPad instead.  I should definitely spend some time sorting out our medicine cabinet and updating its contents.  I think it is high time that I got myself some sort of training on first aid too.  Dh's injury was so frightening and I didn't have a clue what to do.  I'm going to download a first aid app as a start and also write a list of medical supplies in case of any future injuries.  I'm going to also make sure there is a torch in the bedroom and that everyone clears away their stuff from the bottom of the staircase at night.

There are probably lots of other areas in my life that could be more organised to make things run smoothly.  If I am being totally honest, I have become so good at winging it recently that I've forgotten what if feels like to plan things properly.  This week I'm going to make the small steps above to change some of that.  Are you an organised person?  What are your tips?

I'm linking up with this week's Groovy Mums post over at Kate on Thin Ice.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Delia is out, Lorraine is in

This weekend we did a bit of final tidying up from the Christmas break.  I say we, what I mean is that dh decided that his two new cookery books (Masterchef Everyday and Lorraine Pascale's Fast, Fresh and Easy Food) needed space in the bookshelf in the kitchen and that it was high time I cleared out all those really interesting recipe books that I have collected over the years and never use.  To be honest, he had a point.

If you've read my blog previously you'll know about my tendency to hoard things, and books have formed a major part of that.  I suppose there comes a point where we need the space for other things but books are a bit different aren't they?

We pulled out half a dozen titles that I thought I could possibly live without.  Many books bought before dh and I even met and some that we have bought together and never cooked from.  A Delia Smith boasting the title One is Fun! - I'm sure it is but with seven of us under one roof I'm certain I won't find out for a very long time.  One thing I've noticed is that it is funny how our tastes have changed, also how recipe books have moved on in fifteen years or so.  

Once the shelves were tidied up and discussions had taken place over which books would stay (let me tell you Gordon Ramsay only just made the cut because his book is signed) we spotted a recipe binder on the shelf which was marketed by Sainsburys in the 1990s.  My mother in law had bought it for dh when he was at university, and collected several of the free recipe cards to go inside. Does anyone else remember such delicacies as Turkey and Apricot Bake or Chicken and Passata Casserole?  If I remember rightly there were also adverts with celebrities like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ian McShane demonstrating the recipes.  It is quite a contrast to their current marketing campaign promoting the use of leftovers from Sunday roasts (seriously, people have leftovers?).  Another sign of the times I guess.

We've decided to keep it purely because it made us laugh (leading me to wonder whether my hoarding tendencies are finally rubbing off on dh), although it is highly unlikely that we will cook any of the recipes within its covers.  Do you have any cookery books you can't live without, or ones you keep for sentimental reasons?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Getting my Groove on

So, you may have read my recent post about last year and what I felt about it (if not it is here), and this lead me to start thinking about how I can make this year better.  At the moment my whole life really does revolve around everyone else in this family and while that is OK for the time being I've got to come to terms with the fact that this isn't always going to be the case.  My last two children go to school in September.  It seems an age away at the moment but I know that it really won't be long at all.  This means that come the end of the year I will have six whole glorious hours a day to just be me (when I'm not doing housework that is), so what shall I do?

Last year I flirted with the idea of going back to work.  I quite fancied properly contributing to the family finances again.  I even got an interview for a job which seemed perfect to me.  The trouble was that when we looked into the logistics of it properly, we soon realised that even taking into account some free childcare which would be provided by my mother, it still wasn't going to make me much money at all let alone enough to properly contribute.  Plus, the adjustment required by the children was asking far too much of them.

I started this blog on the back of that, as something to keep my mind active while still at home - not working for thirteen years has kind of turned my brain to mush you see.  Did you know that I have a degree?  I've almost forgotten that about myself.  When I was 18 I really really wanted more than anything to work as a journalist for the local newspaper.  I got an interview on graduating, but I wasn't selected.  I quite often still think that I could do that job now.  My blog is a bit of an extension of this in that having read and enjoyed other blogs I thought I'd like to try my hand at blogging too.  I suppose the main difference is that with no employer it really is just all down to me.  When I think back to life before kids I used to be much better at promoting myself, at doing things for me, in short I used to be groovy.

This is why I've decided to link up with Kate on Thin Ice and Groovy Mums.  You can read all about it here.  I want to be braver with my writing, I want to feel more confident and I need support to do that.  I hope that by this time next year I might have something to celebrate and I might also have my groove back.

Friday, 10 January 2014


Ds3 goes to Alder Hey next week.  We have an appointment every six months and he's been going since he was five months old.  You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but every time the appointment rolls around I find myself a complete ball of nerves.

Some people will say this is normal, I'm his mother and of course I should worry but, having already had one child with a heart condition, I think I should perhaps be a bit more used to things by now. I'm just not.

Ds3's condition, Aortic Stenosis, diagnosed after he was born, is not really as major as his brother's condition.  In fact, when we first found out about it his consultant said that it would just be a case of following him along as he grew, checking to make sure his heart was working OK.  When we went for his first appointment however, we were told things were more serious than that.  Ds3 needed a Balloon Catheter immediately to stretch the valve in his heart which was too narrow.  I was crushed.  The memories of ds1's surgery came flooding back, the thought of having another child with a scar down his chest was unbearable to me.  He seemed so well and didn't look as ill as his brother had done 9 years before.  It was the last thing I had expected.

The Balloon Catheter procedure is actually much less invasive than open heart surgery and there are no wounds or scars, just a plaster to cover the puncture wound, still I worried about everything, the stay in hospital, the anaesthetic, what if something went wrong?

Ds3 looking well, but he wasn't

On the day of his procedure I took him down to the catheter lab and watched as the anaesthetist put him under.  A nervous few hours passed where we paced the hospital grounds with dd2 in a sling, waiting until we could see him again.  When we went back up to the ward I was allowed to go and fetch him from the recovery room.  I could hear him before I could even see him!  Having been starved of milk for a good few hours he was wailing with hunger.  I carried him back down the long corridor to the ward where he was allowed some milk.  He drank so quickly, barely pausing for breath and then fell fast asleep.  His procedure had gone well.  A scan confirmed that the valve had been stretched almost back to normal. We were happy and relieved.  We went home the following day.

Maybe because it's the same time of year, almost exactly four years to the day, but I'm extra nervous about this appointment.  Every time we've been back to see the consultant he's been very pleased with ds3's heart function.  Every time I've walked away wanting to punch the air in happiness - another six month reprieve!  It is always a little bitter-sweet however, and that's the hardest part for all of us, the not knowing.  Our consultant is always reminding us that ds3 might just need another balloon catheter one day.  He just can't predict which day that will be.

Mad Mum of 7 - Living It Large

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Year, New Experiences

I'm aware that I blog a lot about my twins over and above anything else.  You'd think that having experienced every aspect of parenting four year olds three times already that I'd be a bit bored of it all and that there wouldn't  be much left for me to write about.  Well, kind of, but sometimes something new happens and it actually helps me to write it all down.  Last Sunday was one of those occasions.

The twins had their very first birthday party to attend at a local soft play centre.  It was something that they had never done before and ds3 was not terribly keen.  When we got there he was reluctant to go in but with a bit of gentle persuasion he soon followed his sister.  Both of them clung to me for a while and then they were off!  Sliding down the big slides and launching themselves into the ball pit then coming to find me to tell me all about it.  It was fantastic to see them playing with their school friends.  These are the children who they will be spending the next seven years with and their parents are the people I will spend that same amount of time with at the school gate.  The twins are already fairly well known by everyone (by the nature of them being twins!) and so it's fair to say that we don't exactly blend in to the background at the school gate.  I am already known as the one with five children, something dh cringes about as he is often referred to in the same way at work.  I suppose I can at last share his frustration as recently I've noticed that beyond this fact nobody really strikes up a conversation with me about anything else, which is becoming tiresome.

For me attending a child's birthday party was the return to something I hadn't done for a good few years.  I relished the time when my older three stopped going to parties, the endless ferrying round of children at the weekend and the painful small talk with other parents.  As I mentioned, the parents of the twins' class mates are the people I'll be going through all of this again with for the next few years and so I know it is important to try to make an effort with them.  I'll admit that while I'm not exactly overwhelmed with excitement at the thought of sitting on the sidelines at birthday parties this doesn't mean I'm averse to passing the time of day with people.  On Sunday I ended up speaking to a woman whose face I recognised but couldn't initially place.  She is the grandmother of one of the twins' school friends and we chatted about this and that, it was all very pleasant and she did not once feel the need to mention how many children I had.  I later realised that she was the midwife who delivered my second baby, and for the record, I didn't mention this to her as I'm not sure that midwives like to talk about work on their days off (plus "you once stitched up my fanjo" is a guaranteed conversation stopper isn't it?).

I guess my point is that I'm not just about having five children, I can be interesting, and sometimes even quite funny.  One person at that party saw that but more often than not other parents don't seem to.  A conversation with me appears to be akin to having a conversation with the reproductive equivalent of the village idiot. I tend to play up to this a little, I'll admit, and I do have some fairly amusing anecdotes about my last pregnancy in particular, but mostly I'd rather it formed part of the conversation instead of the whole thing.

So, here's a little plea from me to any party-going parent.  If I am to be stuck at the same kids parties as you for the next few years then I'd like to be able to smile and say hello and for that to be reciprocated.  I don't want to be bezzie mates or anything like that but "How was your Christmas?" need not be followed by "Hectic, I don't know how you manage with five kids...", because the thing is that I do manage but it isn't all I want to talk about. You could talk to me about how manic it was in Tesco the week before Christmas or ask me what my husband does for a living or what I like to do in my spare time (the answer to which is almost always "drink gin") or anything else that is normal, because I can do normal. Please let's not talk about my reproductive abilities though.  There is so much more to me than that.

2013 - the Highs and the Lows

I don't do resolutions as there is no point as I see it.  If I want to change something in my life I will, the date makes no difference.  Now, because of that I really wasn't going to do this post as I'm not sure that there has been much to note in 2013 for me (it's been a year if treading water for us to be honest) but Kate on Thin Ice has tagged me to answer some questions about the past year and so I thought I'd at least give it a go.

1.  What was your happiest event?

I've really struggled to answer this one.  We haven't been anywhere or done anything really exciting this last year and although lovely things have happened to me, no one event stands out.

2.  What was the saddest thing to happen?

Again, there have been a fair few moments that have made me sad in 2013, but I'm not sure any one really merits being the answer to this question.  I suppose I should view this in a positive way though, plenty of people lose loved ones or face difficult times but we've been lucky enough to dodge that this time.

3.  What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?

I started a blog, I joined twitter.  I never thought I'd do either of those things!  On a more serious note my mum was ill in November and she and I both assumed it was the return of the cancer which she has already beaten once before.  Happily she has had the all clear - something I thought would never happen.

4.  Who let you down?

Thankfully, no one.

5.  Who supported you?

My family, the bloggers I've met in the last few months, the people that follow my blog.  All brilliant in their own ways.

6.  Tell us what you learned.

Actually, quite a bit.  Blogging has been a huge learning curve for me and something of an eye opener.  

7.  Tell us what made you laugh.

My children, particularly the youngest two.  They come out with some hilarious comments.  My husband who, despite having so much on his plate these days, can still crack a joke and make me giggle.

This is what happened when dh said he would name some of the herbs in the freezer for me

Bloggers made me laugh too.  There are so many funny people out there and I wish that I could be half as funny and them.

8.  Tell us the things that made you cry.

A depressing answer this, but the thing that still makes me cry a lot is worry over the future.  Not sure there is an answer to this though, I just need to relax about things more.

Missing my dad.  Two years at the end of this month.

9.  Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud.

My eldest daughter started secondary school and took it in her stride.  She has even made new friends and joined in with some after school clubs.

My eldest son doing so well at school, particularly maths which he has a real talent for.

My middle son who had a glowing end of year report from his teacher at school.  She actively sought me out at a school event to tell me how impressed she was with him!

My twins, growing and learning all the time.  Ds3 can already read and spell a few words and dd2 can write her own name!

I know that's four but I'm proud of all of them for something!

10.  Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.

Ummm... nothing. A bit like a school report, I could do better.

11.  Tell us the challenges you overcame.

Dealing with tots and teens under the same roof, although I don't think I've overcome this but it is an ongoing challenge!

Trying to make things work on my blog when I don't have a clue about how to do most of it.

Most stuff that forms part of daily life, but then it is just life and gets dealt with as such!

12.  Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2014.

As I said I don't make resolutions, I'd never stick to them anyway.  There are things I'd like for the coming year.  I'd like to be a better blogger, I'd like to have some of the opportunities that other bloggers get.  I'd like to be able to write some more entertaining things on my blog too.

I have to say, I'm fairly happy with life but I'd like to be a bit bolder with decisions.  Part of our problem is that fear surrounding redundancy has taken away our ability to just do things.  We're too frightened of making the wrong decisions and I'd prefer it if we were more like we were in our twenties and just go for it!

So there you have it, not resolutions as such, just a realisation that 2013 was ok, perhaps a bit "meh" and if I want to move on from this I've got to do it myself.  The new year will make no difference to that.
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