Friday, 31 December 2010

Looking forward

So it's the last day of 2010, a year notable for almost complete lack of blogging from my perspective and complete hectic frenzy on most other fronts. And not because of any life changing events or major projects on the go, nothing that could really be described as IMPORTANT. Only the constant struggle to fit 2 full time working parents (one of whom spends a number of weeks out of the year on another continent), one full time nursery toddler, some family holidays, the bare minimum of home maintenance, extra curricular time for family, friends, swimming lessons and weekly chores, and about 10 minutes every week for a moment to sit down and think, into the last 12 months since I went back to work.

It's actually been a really tough year as well as a wonderful one. Gemma has come on so much in her physical, mental and social development and is a right little lovely monkey now (see for her progress updates) - this past Christmas and 2nd birthday have been fantastic. One of the funniest moments was having lunch out with friends yesterday - after a big bowl of ice cream and much excitedness, Gemma put her spoon down, looked at everyone and said earnestly, "I'm a bit hyper now".

However, I have found it really tough working full time as well as being a full time mother. I don't feel I have deprived Gemma in any real way - I'm sure she would love a day or two extra a week at home with mummy but overall she loves nursery so much and it has brought her on in so many ways that I actually feel they have done a better job than I would have in some respects. After all there is still no designated 'messy play' area in our house for her and I will always veer towards the story reading/walk to the park/swimming/play with toys type of entertainment rather than getting the play dough or pens or paints out. Some of the sweetest moments this Christmas have been late afternoon, on a bit of a wind down from all the chocolate and overexcitedness, snuggled on the sofa with her watching a kids film.

No, it's more the breathing space that I'm missing, and the realisation that actually I am more of a homebody than I had previously thought, and hate not being able to get all the things done round the home that I constantly spot need doing. I find it incredibly frustrating that I don't have the time to sort out the garden or plan stuff that needs to be done around the house or actually finish more than one piece of knitting per 6 month period. Clothes shopping is a furtive 20 minutes at work on the internet at lunchtime. Meal planning for our week is more 'what's in the veg box and how many fishfingers do we have left in the freezer' rather than looking creatively at what we have and browsing a few recipe books for inspiration. And always the nagging guilt that we should be spending much more quality time together as a family at the weekends rather than me martialling everyone from swimming to supermarket to swings to home and nap time while the cleaning is done, repeat ad infinitum...

2011? I don't think it will be much different to begin with. My work year is not going to be any less hectic, for a start. But as Gemma grows up and will become less demanding (maybe not quite yet, but hopefully at some point this year!) maybe we'll be able to plan our out of work lives to be a bit more fulfilling, and I can take pleasure from the little things and stop fretting over the big stuff. After all, we have so much to be thankful for. So thanks, 2010 and hello 2011. May your days be merry and bright.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Time to try again

For any old friends who might still be out there, no, not that type of trying.

It's time for me to decide, once and for all, whether I am going to continue blogging here or stop once and for all, and at the moment, the former is the preferred option. I've just re-read all my 'pregnancy diaries' on this blog and realised that actually I bloody enjoyed writing about stuff on a regular basis. And today I learned that Bloglines, my RSS reader of choice, is ceasing to exist on 1st October, which has given me a bit of a jolt. Even before I started blogging myself, I used Bloglines to aggregate all my feeds, and have found it the simplest and most user friendly of interfaces ever since. Every new post on this blog plus all the posts and photo albums I've posted on have been viewed via Bloglines, so it peeves me mightily to have to use Google Reader or somesuch from now on.

What this news has done though is prompt me to re-read the past few years of postings on good intentions. This year has seen a massive blogging hiatus, wholly due to the demands of a full time job and a full on daughter. One of the reasons I have decided to carry on blogging, even if there are no readers out there any more, is the increasing frustration I'm feeling at the lack of individual time I have to just be myself, do stuff, that isn't job or family related. My family is my life, don't get me wrong, and by gum Gemma is the best achievement I have ever made. But it's time to reclaim a bit of 'me' even if it's simply by writing things down. With no commuting time (except driving in the rush hour singing Baa Baa Black Sheep at the top of my voice to entertain the small child in the back); no early morning time at work; and limited free time at home (sssh I was meant to be ironing tonight) this is going to be a bugger to achieve, but I want to give it a go again.

If it gets to May 2011 before I post again, maybe I'll have a rethink. But I should be able to do better than that, I hope.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Business as usual

New year, new projects - at least that's the idea. I've actually been pretty busy on the knitting front since Christmas, making a cardigan for Gemma's baby friend Alice who was born in the same birthing pool exactly 2 weeks later than she was! Incredibly annoyingly I ran out of yarn about 5 rows from the end of the final sleeve. Grrrr. Still, it's given me renewed vigour for making things, and my yarn stash is relatively healthy (well, for me anyway) so there are a few little hats on the way, finally finishing my Central Park Hoodie (a mere 15 months after starting it, eh-hem...) a jumper for Gemma, and then, enticingly, a package from Clothkits on its way. They have a sale on at the moment and when I saw the image below I just couldn't resist ordering the dress, and then a little birdie skirt to go with it. You can't adequately describe this kind of cute, can you?

In other news, I've decided after much humming and hawing to stop going to the monthly bookgroup for a while. I've gone to the Mostly Books Wednesday evening bookgroup since its inaugural meeting back in 2006, but over the last 12 months have been attending sporadically due to a certain little one's arrival. I have read all the designated books each month however, and have increasingly found that doing this gives me little or no time to read my unread mountain, making me slightly resentful of the bookgroup book I feel I have to read. (Naming no names, Silas Marner). Now that I'm back at work full time, I decided I would see how that affects my work-life-reading balance, get through a pile of books of my choosing, and see how I feel later in the year about re-joining the group.

Finally, a nice feelgood end to the post - I had a fantastic piece of luck a few weeks ago while working from home due to the snow. As nursery was shut, Ali and I were sharing Gemma duties while trying to answer emails etc and after she'd woken from her morning nap on the second day at home we decided to take a walk to avoid cabin fever. We made it into town, went to Scuffs (a brilliant kids shoe shop in the market square in Abingdon) and bought the next size up in Padraig Slippers - the only shoes she cannot pull off, hehe.. On the way back home, trying to avoid slipping and sliding in the heavy snow/ice, I put the shoe bag and my purse in the bottom of the pram. On reaching home however we found the bag had disappeared. Disaster! So I retraced my steps into town (including a heavy tumble on the ice which gave me an enormous bruise to my knee and my dignity), hoping to find the bag still where it had fallen, whereever that may be. No luck. I got back to Scuffs without much hope of finding anything, only to be told that some kind soul had found the bag, looked through my purse to find my contact details, handed the bag and purse to a local community policeman, and phoned Scuffs with the details in case I ended up back there. The police phoned me as well to let me know they had the bag safe, so I picked it up from the station that afternoon, intact. The guy who was so honest was a chap called Ed Carlin, and he phoned me a number of times to make sure I knew my purse was safe, as well as sending me a very sweet text afterwards declining my offer of a thankyou gift. It's wonderful to know there are honest, helpful and conscientious people out there. Bless 'im.