Blended Family

When I met my now husband, all those years ago, he had already been married and he had five kids.

This was not a situation I wanted to get involved in and I didn’t plan to. I planned to travel and enjoy my life, and was nowhere near settling down. And a man with kids would change all of of that, complicate it all.

But as it turned out, I did get involved, and this is my life now, a step-parent, and my children part of a blended family.

It is crazy and busy, and unpredictable and there have been hard parts, some harder than others – but I wouldn’t change it. We have a wonderful huge family, and it is growing with four grandkids already – and it is never boring.

The reason I am sharing this now is that last week I had maintenance men in our house and they were surprised that I had four kids, and I told them my husband has nine – which shocks everyone! One of the men had twins and I said I would have loved twins in theory but reality would have been crazy, but that after I had my second child people assumed I was done having children and my reply was always “no, definitely one more, and a surprise!” but seeing as we didn’t get a surprise pregnancy on our fourth (we had to plan her!) that the surprise was going to be twins – seeing as I had always joked that his first wife had five kids, I’d have five kids too.

And the response from the guy was “oh yeh and mine will be bigger, better and stronger too”.

I was like “No, the first five are amazing”

But it caught me off guards that that was this guys automatic reaction.

There is no thoughts of competition at all about the kids, I would be so proud if my children turned out like the older kids. They are great adults, such kind people and I absolutely love them and want the very best for them. And I do not want “better” for my kids.

However there are things I do and probably will do differently, as a parent.

As a step-parent, the first thing you have to realise is that while you’re involved in these kids lives, when the big stuff happens you have to step out and let the parents work it out between them with the kids.

So I am a different mother to my children than their mother was to them. I parent differently in different ways, based on my thoughts and feelings, as simple as I don’t like allowing fizzy drinks in our house except on special occasions, whereas when my step-children were small both their parents were happy with fizzy drinks so we had fizzy drinks here in our house for them.

It is in no way to say that my parenting is going to be better than theirs was and is. As you can say, the proof is in the pudding and there is the proof in the five wonderful young adults, and I feel if we can do as well to raise four more wonderful adults, we will be delighted.

We are a blended family. We are a big busy family. We are all family. We are so lucky.

An Amazing Woman.

So I’ve been having a pretty crappy stressy time of it lately. The kids are driving me up the wall and I’ve been wound up and cross about everything. My husband isn’t around at the moment and there’s a number of other reasons for me to be stressed on top of it all, and it is all getting on top of me and I’m not getting any sort of a break from the kids. So like I said, they are literally driving me crazy.

Yesterday we were out in the shopping centre in the next town over and we had been trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time, the kids weren’t listening, we were trying to run from one place to another to another, the baby was in the buggy screaming her head off – and I was stressed to high heaven.

And as we walked out of one shopping centre I saw a woman walking towards me that I recognised and it took me a minute to realise who she was. She worked as EPU nurse, the Early Pregnancy Unit nurse.

I had first met her in 2009 when I was having what they thought was my second miscarraige but what turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. So over ten years ago. She had been so knowledgable at the time, she was honest and told me her honest opinion of the situation even though it wasn’t exactly what the doctors said. When we first thought it was a second miscarriage she gave me advice and explained the way the system works here regards help after multiple miscarriages (needs to be three in a row before they investigate) and gave me the names of books to read to help. Then when the signs were there for the ectopic, and the doctors discharged me without doing anything, she rang me with results and told me to take care and basically that she thought it still was an ectopic. She was right.

Because of the ectopic, in every following pregnancy I had to go to the EPU for a scan at 5 or 6 weeks to make sure that it was in the right place. So this woman saw me a further four pregnancies, and the kindness and compassion she showed me was unbelievable and unforgetable.

My fourth pregnancy was my second successful one, but I had been sick throughout my first so even though she had seen me a number of times for peace of mind in the first few weeks, at 17wks my sickness disappeared and I panicked. I rang the EPU and explained, and she brought me in for a scan even though it is very normal for sickness to stop after 12wks, and thankfully he was still there safely but without that scan I would never have believed it.

She then had to tell me that my next pregnancy wasn’t progressing and dealt with me over a few weeks of me trying to allow it pass itself like my first, then take the medical option – which ended up with the surgical option. But she just was so amazing throughout, her kindness and straight forward honest information helped so much. I then saw her a number of times over the next two pregnancies, she came and found me on the ward after I had no.3 as she’d seen my name on the board. When I thought I was losing no.4 she got me straight in for a scan and was as happy as I was to see the little heartbeat there on the screen – it was 2pm that day when she saw me even though my appointment was for about 2hrs before and she apologised for keeping me waiting – but I knew that if things were delayed, it was not good news for whoever she was with. After we saw the little heartbeat, she said she had been so worried she was going to have to give me bad news again, and that I was the first person that day she had given good news to. That was her day, full of heartbreak.

This woman made a number of horrible, sad and heartbreaking situations a little bit better for me. She honestly will stay in my heart forever.

Yesterday when I saw her, and remembered all the heartbreak I had gone through. And how lucky I am to have my children. How so many women go through pregnancy loss time after time, and don’t end up with any successful pregnancies. How lucky I am to have my four healthy children. I had spent over three years petrified that my daughter was going to be an only child like I was, and couldn’t believe that my second child would make it here safely. And not only did I get a second child safely, I got a third and a fourth. I am so so lucky, and of course I’m allowed be tired and stressed and cross, but just seeing her and remembering all those years of heartbreak and fear, it just shook me up a little bit and reminded me how grateful I am.

4th June!

Yesterday I focused on the joy that I got from experiences of my day. I spent time with my stepmother, my friends, and back to my stepmother and dad.

I definitely feel much better when I see people who build me up and are positive for me.

I had a nice day, even though I was running from one thing to another and had no time in between (and was late for everything!). Then last night I was thinking about the joy of the day, and was going to post my #juneisforjoy post – but I decided instead to clean up the kitchen, so that this morning I could come down to a clean kitchen instead of having to launch into cleaning first thing today, so that is why I am late posting yesterdays Joy!

Nearly The End of April

So two days left in April, and I can say for one I do not know where this month has gone. I didn’t manage to get any of the things that I wanted to get done done. I didn’t restart my healthy habits. And instead of my body getting fitter, it has gotten stiffer. A direct result I assume of less exercise. Also my mood has been lower than the past few months, so I think it definitely shows how important the exercise is to me.

I did go out on the treadmill last night (my husband is trying to push me) but after 20 minutes something happened my leg and I couldn’t put weight on it. And still today I can’t put weight on it, with the pain radiating between my knee and my thigh/hip area. So I’m hoping it will be gone later today, otherwise I am going to be very slowed down this week! And I really need to be on the ball this week.

This is the countdown to My Boy’s Communion! The Communion itself is on Saturday and we are having a party here, and as of last week I decided to do something I have never done before – I am getting it catered! I realised I was so stressed and unorganised and I just wouldn’t enjoy the day, so instead of trying to cook all the food, I am getting caterers to just drop it in and that will be that. I will still have to do all the desserts, but that is not a worry. The food was.

And then on Sunday we are having a second party out in my Dad’s house, and my brother is catering that, so I have very little to do for that either. I have delegated everything to do with the Sunday party, I basically just have to turn up! And my husband did a lot of work just straightening up the garden here over the weekend for the bouncy castle to fit, so we have to get desserts made this week – and SCRUB the house!!! So a lot of work, but at least the huge stress of the food has been taken off me. The relief. Still a few bits of clothes to be picked up, but basically we are sorted!

And then after it is over, I will be back on track – I have no more excuses, the next mini goal is my birthday in June, about 6wks after the Communion. So hopefully I’ll be able to make a good dent in the weight and fitness by my birthday. I have done a lot so far, and even though I haven’t been great recently, I have to focus on how great I have done – and use that to encourage me to continue and do even better!

Healthy Habits – plan to start!

I have been listening to loads of podcasts recently, and generally they have been health and wellness type ones. I have noticed a lot of reoccuring topics (possibly as the people I am listening to are interviewing like minded people!) but there seem to be some simple enough things that can make a big difference in helping you live a healthy life.

I have been listening to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee and he has a book about the 4 Pillars of Health – being Food, Movement, Sleep and Relaxation, and the importance of all four of these in contributing to your health. I like this because it is nice and simple. It also gives you a chance to just say yes I’m doing ok on one or two aspects, lets focus on another aspect. He also has a five minute kitchen workout on Youtube which is so easy to start as a base starting place, as he shows you how to do it as a very beginner and how to advance it.

There have also been plenty of other guests and podcasts that add to these and have more aspects, including gut health, clutter in the home, financial health, etc. I have listened to so many of the podcasts that I have a lot of information rattling around in my head, as I listen mainly when walking so don’t have chance to write notes.

There are certain things that I want to bring in to our home as healthy habits to help me and to help the kids for the rest of their lives, as well as just while they are growing up.

For myself, this week I want to implement these as my basic habits:

  1. Healthy Food and Snacks
  2. 2L Water or more
  3. Exercise – both treadmill and 5 minute kitchen workout
  4. Bed in time – definitely before 11pm, earlier would be better

I want to start to plan healthy habits for the kids too, and find a way to set it up and implement it in a sustainable way. Things are just so busy that I don’t want to set myself up to fail, so I will work out what my starting point with the kids and how to start in the next few days!

Day 28 of My Month of Gratitude

Today is a special day for my daughter, and for me that my first child is almost finished in primary school.

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish
  18. Being a SAHM
  19. Chocolate
  20. Books
  21. Online Recipes
  22. Sunshine
  23. Online Shopping
  24. Grandparents
  25. Sleep
  26. Podcasts
  27. Support
  28. Community

Today is the day of my daughters Confirmation. I’m not going to discuss the religious side of it, because its not really my thing but there are lovely aspects to it that come up from the whole event. There is a lovely family aspect of the day, as it brings family together to celebrate the childs day. There is also a lovely community around the event, particularly between the school and the church. It is lovely when you go to Mass on a Sunday and you bump into a selection of people that you normally would not see. The school put in a lot of work to get the children prepared, and our parents association is hosting a tea and coffee morning after the confirmation mass. The whole day is a lovely example of bringing people together.

Community is a lovely thing to have. Years ago I was in a situation that I was living in a town that I didn’t really want to live in, I hadn’t grown up in a town like it and everyone wanted to know everyone else’s business and I hated it. I remember a day I was in a friends house and we were both giving out about the town and living in it. I realised that day leaving her house that it was a conversation we had had over and over again, and that there were two choices – either make a change, or accept it and be happy with it. I wasn’t in a position to leave the town, my step-children lived here and it was important that their father lived nearby and so I also had to stay here. So I decided to focus on the positive things about the town and one of the main things I focused on was community. That aspect of wanting to know everything about everyone also creates a place where you are known and linked back to the people in the town, and into the town community. That was at least ten years ago, and now I am happy living in the town and focus on the positive aspects of it. The friend I was with that day left the town a few years later and set up a great life for herself in a different town, and it made a huge difference to her. So we both one of each of those options – I got happy with the town, and she got out. It made a huge difference to both our lives. If we had just stayed going over and over how much we hated the town, we would still be giving out about it at this stage and nothing would have changed.

I am thankful for the community that is around us, in the town, in the school, for the kids in the church, in the babygroup and from our friends and family. Community is important, and really does add to the feelings of well being for people.

Day 27 of My Month of Gratitude

This is one that I am so grateful for time and time again!

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish
  18. Being a SAHM
  19. Chocolate
  20. Books
  21. Online Recipes
  22. Sunshine
  23. Online Shopping
  24. Grandparents
  25. Sleep
  26. Podcasts
  27. Support

There is a lovely feeling when you are getting ready for an event, and your family and friends realise that this is something that is important to you and your family and they offer their support in their own ways.

Tomorrow is my daughters Confirmation, a Catholic celebration where she confirms her faith in the Catholic church.

I have Atheist friends who have sent a card for my daughter and have been checking in with how all the preparations are going (on my side – as in the clothes and planning!) My step-children have all taken the day off on Thursday, a work day, so that they could be there for the day with their little sister. They have offered help with things for the day. A family member who is definitely not a fan of the Catholic church sent my daughter money, but didn’t want to buy a specific card because she didn’t want to be seen to be supporting the church but did want to support my childs choice.

I notice this support at so many different times of my life, at Christmas, at birthdays and at all events that come up. And it gives a huge warm fuzzy feeling to have so many supportive people and so much support around me. I am really thankful and grateful for the loving support that I have around me.