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Saturday, June 23, 2012

My daughter.

As parents, we are expected to be responsible for not just our lives but our childrens' too. We are expected to provide a safe, loving, clean haven for them, in which they can grow into well-rounded positive members of society. 

Sometimes, when I've got a to-do list of 70, a screaming baby with a cold, and a curious 4 year old.. things can get a bit too much. This week I've found myself sitting in the bathroom counting to ten taking deep, long breaths more often than usual.

We should always take a step back to appreciate the amazing things we have in our lives. It is something that is always in the back of my mind but today I would like to take the opportunity to talk about my daughter.

Heidi is at a difficult stage, she has now acquired an attribute which seems to be a favourite among teens - attitude. 'No mummy - I don't WANT to!' in the voice of Verucca Salt that grates down my spine. My angelic baby has changed, has grown and I don't like it! I feel myself reminiscing of days where I could stroke her head and she would fall asleep on my chest and when she cried, there were no tears.

She was born on 21st Feb 2008, a slimy bundle of purple joy who would change my life forever. Those first few moments of her life are hazy due to the drugs of labour but I remember the expression on her face as she was placed onto my belly. Those small dark eyes peering at me as if to say - 'You're mine forever', our eyes locked into a gaze, bonding us as mother and daughter for life.

The early days of Heidi's life were a whirlwind of emotions. I remember putting her in her moses basket next to my bed and not daring to fall asleep in case she would disappear. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, changing her nappy and her umbilical cord fell off - I screamed - waking my mum and dad up because I thought I had hurt her, even though she hadn't made a peep.

She was always what was considered to be a 'good' baby. She gained weight steadily, slept from 7pm to 7am with no night-time wakings from 4 weeks, she was always happy, smiling her cheeky little smile that melted the heart of anyone who saw it. She started nursery early (12 weeks) as I had to go back to college to do my GCSEs and even as a young baby the nursery said she was a pleasure to look after. 

She had two different babysitters for when my mother and I had evening classes, and both of them got pregnant a couple of months after looking after Heidi. She was a good advert to have a baby because of how content she was and how well she slept.

She hit her milestones in good time, was crawling before we knew it and took her first steps at the place where I work now funnily enough, with my aunty. She learnt to talk by the age of two, and before we knew it she was talking in sentences and could communicate properly with us. When this happened, I entered a different phase of parenting. Looking after a defenceless newborn baby is VERY different to looking after a walking, talking toddler. And yet she still melted my heart in every way (that never goes away). With every new achievement I felt a sensation of satisfaction that I can only describe as wonder and awe. It really is amazing to watch something that you grew in your stomach for 9 months, grow up themselves. 

When Heidi started the nursery she goes to now, I saw a side to her that hadn't been there before. When we arrive in the mornings a small group of children crowd around her, 'Heidi's here!', I realise that I'm not the only one who thinks my daughter is special. Anyone, no matter how different can be Heidi's friend, she has got the time for anyone who has got the time for her. She hasn't got a nasty bone in her body. When her brother was born we were worried that she might get jealous or pushed out, that she may turn a little nasty which is so common when there is a new addition to the family.. but we worried for nothing.

Heidi has loved her brother from the minute she saw him. From day one she was helping me to feed him, change him, bathe him. She would, and still does sit next to him whenever he's in the room. She often sleeps in the bed next to his cot too, rather than in her own room.

I could go on for ages so I'll stop now, I just wanted to write how proud I am, and how much I appreciate my little girl Heidi. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The cleaning routine

Hi all,
Sam has gone in work this morning to do some overtime, so I've spent most of the morning cleaning.
Cleaning.. Ahh I remember the blissful days when I lived with my parents, and didn't have to lift a finger in the house.. those days were the best.

So now I am mother, I take on the massive responsibility of running our household. Don't laugh, it's no mean feat!
I spend roughly around 14 hours a week just cleaning our house, which is 12 rooms. I'm not the only one who does it, Heidi does a fair share and Sam will do anything if I ask him to. I strongly believe in getting children to help around the house, as I mentioned above, I never had to do anything so when I moved out it was a real slap in the face! I want Heidi to grow up with a good cleaning ethic, so it becomes normal to her and she doesn't see it as a big boring task, but something that has to be done like brushing teeth, having a bath etc..
My cleaning routine goes like this..

I ask Heidi to clean the living room before she goes to nursery, which is taking her toys back to the playroom, putting all of the rubbish in the bin, she polishes our glass table and tidies away Connors things. I then run the hoover around, wipe any marks off anything I can see and then shut the door to the living room for the morning. In the kitchen; I put all of the dishes in soak, I wipe down all the sides and cupboards, sweep the floor, wash the dishes and put them away. After tea at about 7pm, the kitchen gets wiped down again and all the dishes go into the sink. I put a wash on in the morning, hang it out at noon and then fold it all up ready to be put away.

^ That's what gets done everyday, without fail.
I do an upstairs 'big clean' twice a week in all our upstairs rooms. Toilets get bleached and scrubbed three times a week, and bathrooms get cleaned once/twice as it doesn't really get that dirty. Bedsheets are changed every 2 weeks. Every other day I focus on one room and get it completely sparkling.

This routine has taken me 3 years to perfect, I tried making lists, rotas, putting post-it notes up and even a reminder would pop up on my phone but nothing worked, the house still stayed messy no matter how much I tried to keep it clean. It was very stressful! I find now that little and often works best.. I feel like I don't clean that much but the house stays tidy for most of the time.. Although if I do have a day off then everything does seem that little bit grubbier..

Sam is a bit of a clean freak. He can't stand mess and won't sit in a dirty house, he was bought up with chores that has stayed with him into his adult life. I hope our kids do the same!

What's your cleaning routine? 

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Hate Eating Out

I've just returned home from a restaurant. As it's Friday, Sam and I decided to get out of the house and break out of our normal routine where he sits on the PS3 and I sit on the laptop for most of the night.
As I couldn't take my driving test today, we still don't have a car so we had the choice of three restaurants which were in walking distance (we didn't want to pay for taxis as it makes the whole outing so expensive). We had the choice of a curry house, Wetherspoons, or a local 'bistro'. The day of the week put Wetherspoons out of the situation, it's the only half-decent pub in town so it gets pretty packed on the weekend and we didn't want to go somewhere busy, plus we eat there like 3 times a month and we wanted something different.
We didn't really fancy curry so we opted for the bistro, although we had been twice before and not been impressed. 
It was busy when we got there but we got a table right away, we opted for a 'Tex Mex' combo starter for two, which contained spicy chicken wings, ribs, potato wedges, jalapeƱo mozzarella cheese sticks and two pieces of garlic bread. The cheese sticks were exactly the same ones that they sell at the local takeaway, and the other items were nondescript; there was no salad or garnish, just some sour cream and a sweet chilli dip. For main I had chicken and mushroom pasta and Sam had lasagne, chips and peas. I was expecting the pasta to have a couple of different types of mushroom at least but it was the basic closed cup range, some chicken chunks in a measly garlicky sauce and a piece of garlic bread. For £10 I was not impressed, it got sickly after a bit and I couldn't finish it. Sam said his meal wasn't worth the long walk to the restaurant. I had a soft drink and the other half had a pint. We didn't order dessert and the bill came to £31.

You see we could of got the same, but better quality and bigger portions from Wetherspoons, for £20. I don't mind spending money if I think its worth it but this was a meal I would rather forget.

We also had to get a babysitter and although we went out at 6:45pm and came back at 8:20pm, we still gave her a tenner as it's not her fault we came back so early.. 

It just annoys me because we could have stayed in, had a takeaway that we both liked and spent £10, in the comfort of our own home (the restaurant had a pretentious atmosphere).

Do you regularly eat out? Do you go to the same place every time or do you like to try new places? Recommend me a good restaurant!