Thursday, 31 March 2016

Running-y* thoughts

Its been a while since I've written a post about running (unless you count the one about having a mid-life crisis and listening to Jessie J while waving jazz hands at the postman).

Still doing it, still feeling a bit 'meh' about it tbh (even with the jazz hands).

I had a read back over all the posts I wrote on the C25K last year and I was so surprised at how cheerful a lot of them were.  I had forgotten that running made me feel like that.

I had a brief moment after Christmas when I got a spangly new Garmin Forerunner and everything felt exciting again.  Although, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed that it was so bloody accurate.  It took over half a kilometre off some of my running routes and made a lot of my achievements over the previous six months seem like they never happened (well, they didn't really did they?).

Ooh, spangly! and annoyingly accurate...

And so, I've kind of been faced with starting the whole journey all over again.  Working on my pace which after a lot of perseverance is getting better, but the distance?  Not so much.

I had wanted to be able to run 10K by the end of last year, but I didn't manage it for one reason or another (realistically I have no good excuses).  Happily that has now changed, and last month I finally ran that 10K.  I say 10K but really it was about 9.5K with about another 800m of me running up and back down the road to get the final few metres in on my watch.

But I still feel 'meh', like even doing that isn't quite as good as I'd hoped.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the feeling I get when I come back from a run, but I'm not so sure where I'm aiming for any more.

So I thought about all the things that helped me on my original path to learn to run in the first place.  Some new kit always helps cheer me up, (I may do a little running haul post if I get time). Although I bought some new running shoes in November, they are making me feel so slow compared to my old ones, so I'm going to change them as well. I am also going to start writing my progress down more.  Sorry if you think that's boring - I'll try to make it as entertaining as I can, but it really helps and it's my blog so there *sticks out tongue at all the haters*.

I'm off to go and make a playlist now for the new month (you know how I love to run to music - the more inappropriately silly the better).  I might share it so that you can all laugh ;)

Could somebody somewhere just PLEASE shake some virtual pom-poms at me in the comments below.  I could really use it.


* Running-y is totally a word by the way.  I know this because I've just invented it.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Easter Egg Hunt Trauma

It's been a few weeks since I joined in with BrummyMummyof2 and her #WickedWednesdays linky, but I'm pleased to say that this week I'm back!

Owing to the rather rubbish weather forecast over the weekend we decided to have an egg hunt in the garden on Good Friday.  The sun was shining, the children were excited (or should that be eggcited?) and our hiding places were really really good.

It all started out so promisingly...

To begin with they were having fun

Then twin boy found quite a lot of eggs

This is what happens when everyone is better at egg hunting than you are...

I suppose I should have known better really.  This is another of those moments when this twin-gig is a little more complicated than raising different aged siblings.  *sigh*

But just to prove that we're not mean, we did in fact share out all the Easter eggs equally at the end!

All's well that ends well


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Tooth Fairy Troubles

Its been quite a while since the tooth fairy visited our home.  Obviously the last remaining baby teeth have fallen out still but they haven't been rewarded in the traditional manner, because none of my older children believed in all of that any more.

Because of this I had completely forgotten about the responsibilities that lay with the fairy, and so about six months ago, when twin girl came thundering and shouting into the bedroom with excitement that her tooth had fallen out I had to hit the ground running all over again.

The thing is that when your first child's first tooth falls out it is something of a milestone moment.  The shiny pound coin (or sometimes more these days) is placed where you definitely wont forget it on the way up to bed.  You may put a post it note to remind you, should you somehow get sidetracked.  As the parent with tooth fairy responsibility you make absolutely sure that you do not forget and ruin your child's belief in an imaginary ethereal being who likes collecting old teeth (for what, we're not sure, which is kind of where the story falls down if you ask me) whatsoever.

With subsequent children that goes completely out of the window and you wing it it becomes a little bit less of an event.

And so, what with hindsight being a wonderful thing and all, I was determined to make sure I didn't f*ck this up again become as forgetful as I had with children #2 and #3.

Game On.

And so, I set a reminder on my phone (Yay for smaprtphones!  Didn't have them first time round).  We put the tooth in a shiny little dish so that I/the fairy could find it in the dark.  Twin girl went to bed.

At 10 pm the reminder went off on my phone and I put out a two pound coin (inflation apparently), took away the tooth.  Job done.  It was hardly a tricky thing really was it?

Twin girl was delighted the following morning with her coin and as there were no more wobbly teeth on the horizon from either her or her twin brother, I considered this a job well done.

Fast forward six months (bloody hell, this tooth fairy job is quite a long gig really, I had forgotten).  We go to the dentists for a check up.

During the check up it transpires that twin girl has another three wobbly teeth and her brother has two, which he is delighted about because he is finally catching up.

This is going to cost me a fortune, I think.

The tooth fairy immediately revises her payment plan to £2 for the first tooth and £1 for every tooth thereafter.

Two weeks later, tooth number two falls out of twin girl's mouth.  Her brother is highly affronted by this event.

So I prepare to do the whole tooth fairy routine again.  Tooth, check, dish, check, excitable child with lots of questions, check.  Sibling crying gently in corner of bedroom because it isn't his turn yet, che.. oh FFS, you get the picture.

Accidentally, or out of a misplaced sense of bravado at how brilliant my own memory is, I decide that the phone reminder isn't really necessary.  Anyway, it's the weekend.  They'd be going to bed later and so would we.  I'll remember.  It isn't that hard.

Spend 20 minutes scrabbling around for a pound.  Realise that I only have 20 pence coins and five pence coins in my purse and they are not quite enough.  Hit all the usual sources for spare change - husband's pockets, top of the bookcase, back of the sofa.  Manage to scrape together enough money.  Phew.

Go to bed.

Wake up the following morning at 7.30 am when husband innocently asks "you did remember to put out the money last night, didn't you?".  Eyes wide open (too wide for this time on a Saturday morning) we both stare at each other while simultaneously mouthing "Oh, SH*T!!!".

We can fix this, we can fix this, we can, can't we?

Like some kind of stealthy tooth ninja, my husband somehow manages to walk past a completely awake child, who happens to be engrossed in something he is streaming on YouTube (who says letting six year olds have their own tablets isn't beneficial?) and switch the money/tooth before he is rumbled.

That was a close one.  Never again.  Although I could have deployed my much used ruse that the tooth fairy is usually too busy on a Friday night because she is quite partial to going to discos and doesn't have time to deliver money as well.  She usually makes her rounds up on Saturday, but definitely by Sunday (honestly, don't tell me I'm the only parent to ever have forgotten two nights in a row?).

Anyway, I am crap at the whole tooth fairy thing.  I have at least another 20 or so teeth before the twins wise up to the fact that it really is me.

Although in my experience this doesn't usually stop them from asking for the money for them.

How do you eventually get out of tooth fairy duties, I hear you ask?

Well, when the teen boy was about ten I found him stockpiling molars, apparently I owed him at least a tenner.  "No belief, no money", I retorted.

The tooth fairy is such a stupid story.  Which idiot decided that old teeth = money anyway?  My bet is they probably weren't a parent.

While we were at the dentists the other week the teen girl had to have a tooth of her own removed.  The dentist gave her the tooth in a tiny envelope with a picture of the tooth fairy on the front.

Looking at it, she exclaimed on the way out "that should get me at least a fiver, look at the size of it".

"In your dreams, kid", I said.

This tooth fairy needs a holiday.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

20 reasons my twins argue

Sometimes people say to me "Oh, its so nice when you have twins because they have someone to grow up with and a special bond". These people generally turn out to have no experience of twins whatsoever.

To be quite honest, I'm not seeing much of this special bond they are supposed to have lately.  I don't think I've ever seen it.  They pretty much ignored each other for the first five months of their lives.  The first time they noticed one another, twin girl giggled at twin boy.  In my head it was because she was pleased to see him (he'd been in hospital - first time they'd not really been together all the time) but now I think about it she could have been laughing at him...


As their mum I'm used to the bickering, but lately it feels like it is non stop.  To illustrate, here are some of the reasons they have argued recently.

1.  One of them finished the coco pops before the other could have some
2.  One woke the other up
3.  Twin boy wouldn't let twin girl into his bedroom, which would be fine but they share a bedroom
4.  One is taller than the other
5.  One had new shoes and the other didn't
6.  Twin boy bought some Lego with his pocket money and it came in the post.  Twin girl cried because she didn't have any
7.  Twin girl bought some books from Amazon, when the parcel came twin boy cried because he didn't have any
8.  One has more wobbly teeth than the other
9.  One had new clothes (which were hand-me-downs from one of the older kids) and the other didn't (they had actual new clothes which weren't as exciting).
10.  One wouldn't let the other out of the car
11.  One wouldn't let the other into the car
12.  One wanted the light off at bedtime and the other didn't
13.  One wanted a bedtime story and the other didn't
14.  Whose turn it is on the swing first
15.  One got a longer go on Club Penguin than the other
16.  Who should have a bath first
17.  One beat the other in a race
18.  It wasn't a race
19.  One twin looked at the other one
20.  One twin ignored the other one

Trying to get them to play nicely and agree on nearly almost anything is impossible.  They don't even like the same flavour ice cream.  I give up.

Sometimes I wonder whether I'm really cut out for this twin parenting lark.  Maybe their lack of a bond is my fault?

And then, just when I'm slightly out of earshot, but not totally, I hear it...

"You're my best friend"

"Your're my best friend too..."


Parenting twins?  Nailed it.

She is not strangling him here, I promise.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

10 reasons why family life is better in Spring

Well, wasn't the weather at the weekend amazing? (I'm sorry if you live in a part of the world where it wasn't, but it was nice here).

Not only did it stop raining long enough for anyone to actually notice, but it was sunny!  Actual real life sunshine!

Actual real life blue sky!  I took this after the school run where people really smiled at each other!

Is it just me of is there something about the sun shining that makes everything in life seem somehow better? It's like nothing is too much trouble (my husband even did garden jobs this weekend, which he hates) and the boring old winter is finally leaving us, hooray!  The sun brings out the best in everybody, and I've noticed that while the sun has been shining these past few days, my life seems a little easier.

So here are ten reasons why Spring is so much better than Winter when you have a family.

1.  Everyone gets up at the right time - no more yelling up the stairs into the dark abyss of the teen's bedroom until they realise that it's ten to eight and they haven't had their breakfast yet, let alone got dressed.

2.  The school run is better in the sunshine.  Fact.  There is no getting gloves and hats and thick winter coats on which takes an age (OK you still have to yell a bit about putting shoes on but let's not kill the mood too much, eh?) Other people on the school run smile at you just because it's sunny, your children smile because it's sunny (no wet breaks for them today) and hell, even I have smiled on the school run when it's sunny (yes, it's true folks) and I hate the school run more than anyone I know.

3.  You can put washing out.  There comes a point in every year when it's been so long since I put washing out on the line that I've forgotten you could even do that still.  And then, sunshine arrives and my first thought is "Yay!  Finally, now I can wash all the PE Kits and sheets and towels and uniforms and I have somewhere to hang them all - at the same time!".  Who says my life is dull?  Also, sunshine gets Super Noodle stains out of the teenager's white school shirts - my excitement knows no bounds...

4.  You can put your winter mum coat away.  And swap it for your spring/summer mum jacket.  I am only excited about this because I have bought a new mum jacket this spring mind. #ilovemynewmumjacket

5.  Speaking of coats, you no longer have to yell at your teenagers to go and put a coat on, or watch them freeze half to death on a family walk when they refuse.  It's one less piece of leverage they have over you. #mumsalwayswininspring

6.  You can let your children run around in the garden after school.  No more arguments about who's turn it is on the XBox although you will have to referee over who gets a go on the swing/with the football/whatever first.

7.  Even doing the school pick up in the afternoons is better.  Hanging around the school playground in minus temperatures is beyond miserable, but waiting for your children to come out of class when its sunny doesn't seem half as bad, even though you still waste just as much time waiting. #alwaysbloodywaiting

8.  For some reason as soon as the weather picks up, my family suddenly are a bit more open to the idea of eating salads at mealtimes.  I have no idea why sunshine = lettuce based foodstuffs but I'm going with it. Hello barbecues and salads, hello easy dining and not having to make casseroles and soup any more - well, not for at least another six months anyway.

9.    Spring is here, which means Easter is on it's way.  And Easter eggs.  While housing 20 or so Easter eggs is more annoying than the plethora of Advent Calendars we had at Christmas, there is one important difference.  Someone OK me has to help the kids eat them all, right? #iamlookingaftertheirteethhonest

10.  National Trust properties.  Even my recalcitrant brood are willing to visit a NT garden or two when the sun is shining.  They just look nicer in the sunshine, don't they (children and old buildings)?

Of course, the better weather means that the Easter holidays are just around the corner too and probably also two weeks' worth of torrential rain and freak snow showers.  Also the age old cry of "Mum, we're booorrrreedddd!" as the garden, park and promise of ice-cream at the local National Trust hangouts is cruelly snatched away from us. Gah!

Never mind.  Won't be long until summer...

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

A Nocturnal Animal...

Although which one, we're not all that sure on.

This is what happens when your twins partner each other in other people's old junk modelling art at school, and then you get the honour of keeping the results at home.  If only they'd partnered other children in this activity then I might never have got to house this, which would have been a result shame.

I particularly like the innovative use of a cup a soup packet.

And the fact that every time I close the blind in their bedroom it falls off the windowsill, because the legs aren't even the same size.

I will probably still dusting this at Christmas as it is annoyingly well constructed.

And yes, I did have to carry it home for them...


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Learning Curves of Parenting

So the whole John Lewis Toddler-gate story that has been all over social media today has got me thinking a bit about the various learning curves we all go through as parents.

Having read several versions of the reported story I'm really not sure who, if anyone, is to blame for how that mother was made to feel last Sunday when she was asked to leave John Lewis at the Trafford Centre.

It seems fairly safe to say though, that at one time or another we've all been there (not the Trafford Centre, although I have been there many times, both with or without children, but that's not really the point).

I have had a fair few "John Lewis" style moments over the years with my brood, but I thought I'd share just one which still to this day makes me cringe.

About ten years ago now, DH decided to book us all tickets to go and see Cirque du Soleil who were touring (coincidentally at the Trafford Centre - what is it about that place that makes toddlers bat-sh*t?).  Anyway, we booked for my in-laws, DS1 (4), DD1 (2), DH and I to go one Sunday afternoon.

We had high hopes of enjoying the wonderful atmosphere and brilliant performance.  DD1 (then 2) did not. Frankly, in retrospect I can understand her feelings at the time - a circus with no animals (ethically this is good apparently but also boring when you are two) and full to the brim with serious middle-class types with no children (or at the very least, older children than ours) was no place for a toddler to be tolerated.

To cut a long story short, she whined throughout most of the first half (pretty much from when the bribe jelly babies ran out), fidgeted, cried when the clowns came out (with her on that one) and made our little row of audience members a pretty unbearable place to be.  Understandably some people began to roll their eyes at us. So my husband did what every reasonable parent would do and he took her outside, leaving the rest of us to carry on watching.

As he left one of the staff commented "oh, we were about to tell you to leave anyway, someone has complained".  Ace.

Did my husband get cross?  Did he email the circus exclaiming his disgust at being spoken to like that by a member of staff?  Did he publicly lament being made to feel like a sh*t parent?


He took our DD and sat outside with a beer and watched the rest of the performance on one of the screens they had in the foyer.  DD was delighted to be watching the TV and behaved impeccably for the rest of our time there which was bloody typical.

I may have had a small cry at the indignity of it all, I was 20 weeks pregnant at the time and a bit emosh, but we did learn several things that day.

1.  Cirque du Soleil isn't all that
2.  It is also no place for children too small to appreciate it
3.  We have never taken any of the kids to see any live performances since that day - there is a reason why DVDs were invented (I suspect internet shopping exists for similar reasons)
4.  Sometimes you just have to grow a thick skin - ignore the haters
5.  Parenting is all about compromise (as I say, DVDs, internet shopping, UK holiday destinations)

In essence you've just got to suck it up.

It wasn't the beginning of our learning curve, nor I suspect will it be the end.

Just one of those things sent to try us.  You live and learn after all.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

I'm not coming out...

until you pay me.

She hid under her brother's bed because I wouldn't give her any pocket money...

Nothing to see here.

Apparently it's quite comfortable under there.  She was a bit cross that we could all see her though.

Half term really was trying.  *sobs*

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