Wednesday, 24 January 2018

A Grandparents Love

Grandparents - what we would do without them?!
I know we'd be lost without Luke's grandparents, my Mum and Dad.

Luke was the long awaited grandson, after 3 granddaughters from my sister, a boy was needed in the mix. Not long after I found out I was pregnant I knew it was a boy, we didn't find out but I just knew and so did my Mum, she had the "vibrations" she said. 
His name was influenced by his Grandad.

They adore him and he knows this and he loves it. 

My Mum is Nanny / childminder. While the OH and I go out to work and college she looks after him, Monday - Thursday for us, collects him from preschool at 12.30pm until 6pm. They also help mind him outside of these days too in case we have other appointments to attend. 

He has lunch with his Nan and dinner with his Grandad when he comes in from work. He likes it if his Grandad gets home from work before he leaves so that they can mess around for a while. 
He usually stays overnight with them one night a week, this all started in his first year of preschool when he had Wednesdays off and my Mum thought that rather than waking him early to drop him out to her on our way that he could just stay overnight and have a lie in the next morning - see she spoils him that way.
My nieces are all teenagers now so they aren't around their grandparents as much so Luke has their undivided attention most of the time, as you can see in the picture below.

He has his own room in their house, filled with his clothes, toys, books and his own super soft blanket that he got off his Nan (it was supposed to be hers but he took over ownership!) which he uses for when he's "chillin' out" in their house. 

He has his own apron in the kitchen so that he can wear it when helping my Mum with cooking or baking - peeling vegetables (she peels and chops and he outs them in the pan) or baking cakes. They spend ages playing Jenga or Playdoh. He helps her out around the house. His favourite thing to do with his Nan is the weeding in the garden, in the Spring / Summer they are always out there and filling up the bird feeders - he knows what seeds or nuts go in each container. Nanny always lets him play in the yard for ages after preschool is finished. He has different bedtime routine with his Nan than he does with us - I tried to replicate her routine one time but he firmly told me that "No that's only for my Nanny's house". Of course he always goes to bed without any hassle for her and always sleeps all night, ever since he was small - he did not and does not do this at home!

He has his own tools in his Grandads shed and a toy lawnmower that he follows him around the garden with when he's cutting the grass. He likes to wear sleeveless jackets when he's "working" in the garden, just like his Grandad. They go for walks to see the cows or the neighbours horse, they could be at home one minute and then gone the next for ages exploring the countryside. He loves to "fight" his Grandad - "You try push me over Grandad" and so ensues a wrestling match on the new couches that my mother pleads with them not to jump or bounce on, it falls on deaf ears, these 2 are like 2 kids when they are together, always messing around. He loves it when his Grandad comes to visit him at our house too, "Will you come to my house so I can show you all my new toys?".

They teach him things that he would never learn anywhere else and in a way that only grandparents can. I often hear "That's not the way my Nanny does it" if I'm doing something a different way to her. He knows they adore him but he also knows that they won't tolerate any bad behaviour and they have boundaries, even at this young age, he respects them. 

He missed his Nan a huge amount in December when she went away for a few days, they have a routine you see and he misses it and misses her when it's changed up for whatever reason. 

He's a lease of life for them that keeps them young and makes them smile, he entertains them with his random comments and statements. 

While it was never my intention to rely so heavily on my parents to help us out with looking after him while we hold down 3 jobs and full time college amongst running a house and keeping up with life between us, there's no one I'd rather him spend all this time with than his Grandparents and we will be forever grateful for all their help and the relationship they have with our son, their Grandson. 


Monday, 22 January 2018

5 Ways To De-stress...And Lower the BP!

Back in November I wrote about how I had been put on medication for high blood pressure after a scare with my health. As I wrote back then it felt like every little stress had built up and finally imploded and I was knocked for six. 
Almost 2 months on I'm delighted to say my blood pressure has lowered and I'm feeling a lot better in myself. I took a few steps to help me along the way - food, exercise, de-stressing even decluttering made a difference. So I'm going to share my few tips in the hope that they might help someone else who is feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or anxious. 

Today I'm going to share my 5 favourite ways to de-stress:

Music - I lost my love of music for a while in the hustle and bustle of life but it was the first thing I turned to when I really need to bring myself back down to a calmer level and begin to de-stress properly. I always have a cd on in the car mostly to block out the sounds my car is making but it had been a while since I just put some music on and sat back and listened. I'm mostly listening to my "Chill" playlist on Spotify at the moment and I have it on while I'm pottering around the house, reading, on the computer or even just to lie back on my bed and close my eyes for a while. Music was a huge part of my life for ages so it feels good to rediscover my love for it again and allow myself to switch off while listening.

Colouring - I know this has been a bit of a "thing" recently but it's something that I've always enjoyed. Before adult colouring books were readily available I was known to buy kids ones and just spend some time zoning out while colouring them in, I still have them under the bed in my parents house. I just find it so relaxing, picking a colour theme and losing myself in the task for a while. I spend a lot of the evenings on my own once Luke is in bed as the OH works so it's a nice way to relax and pass the time.

Relaxation Apps - I was recommended a couple of apps from some of my fellow bloggers over in IPB and they really do work. I can't remember of this one in particular was one of them but I downloaded one called "Sleep Pillow" and it has different sounds and noises. You can download a a heap of them but I've just been using the free ones and they are so handy if you are finding it hard to switch off at night, which I usually do. There's nature sounds, weather, waves, a robin, streams etc My favourite ones are the waves and the wind / rain one, you'd think I'd have enough of that in real life with the weather we are having at the moment! They just distract the mind enough for it to wind down and before I know it I am conked.

Reading - A former love of mine and one I've very much neglected since L came along. I used to love reading, escaping into the story for a while. In recent years I've found it impossible to shut off enough to concentrate on a book but I'm slowly getting back into it. My book choices vary greatly and I stocked up on some new ones in the Christmas sale as well as receiving some as presents so I have plenty to choose from. A page or two a night and I won't be long building up my reading stamina once again.

Candles - Nothing relaxes me more than turning off all the main lights, leaving just a lamp on and lighting my favourite scented candles. I use mostly Yankee candles but I couldn't possibly pick my favourite scent. I've also had a couple of Tipperary Crystal ones too. There's something so relaxing about a flickering flame and dimmed lights while I'm reading or watching a program or even just sitting back and listening to some music. Candle light creates a cosiness in the house, like a warm blanket, I'm all about hygge at the moment! 

Do you have any particular thing you like to do to relax, unwind and clear the head? I'd love to hear!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Back To The Grind

Although I returned to work last week, it was only 2 and a half days and didn't really feel like the festive season was over, so today it really is back to business. 

Work clothes laid out the night before

Preschool clothes laid out the night before

Work lunches made up for the week - this week it is veg soup all boxed up and ready to grab each morning

Preschool snacks in the bag ready for the boy child to grab on his way out

Coat and hat put next to the bag

Setting the 500 alarms to make sure we are up on time

Getting the boy child bathed and to bed early 

Trying to get all the little jobs done the night before because there will be no time during the week to get them done now we are back to normal. 

Checking the calendar to make sure all the childminding arrangements have been made for the week

Just like that the holidays are forgotten about and we get back to the grind as if there was never any break to begin with. I do love my routine though, not necessarily the time constraints that come with it but the order being back in the house. 
Looking at the above it would seem preparation is the key to make all the juggling go as smoothly as possible and Day 1 back it, we are doing good, y'know that's a good effort right there. 
Now just to keep it up for the foreseeable, we should do, I mean if we stick to our "getting up earlier so we aren't rushing" philosophy that we've been attempting for the last god knows how long....we'll be just fine!

Happy Monday! 

Or this!


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018 - A Year Of Change

2017 slipped away from me quietly. I spent it back at home in my parents house with them and the boy child while the OH had to work. We never really do anything on New Years Eve, the parents usually come to us and we get take away and watch RTE 1 until they do the countdown which they mess up every single year! 

2017 was a bit of an odd year to be honest, it felt like we were just surviving, just about keeping the heads above water in every aspect. We were caught for finances and time a lot in 2017 from the very beginning and when the OH lost his job last January I honestly didn't know what we were going to do, but as everyone said "Don't worry you'll be fine" and we were, still are. We made it through, it's been tough and it's not over yet but we are so close to the finish line in this chapter of our lives, change is on the horizon and well, I'm excited for 2018. 

I usually make resolutions that I never stick to but these aren't resolutions as such but things that deserve a bit more of my time and attention, all things that were put on the back burner while we got through 2017.

  • Blogging - My blog has and is a hobby of mine, it's not my job and I don't rely on it financially so I do it out of total love. It's taken a hit in recent times and been neglected both in the frequency of posts as well as the quality of posts. I aim to give it a bit more love this year and make an effort to create interesting content. As well as loving my own blog, I want to share that too, I've not kept up with my favourite blogs and I miss reading them and discovering new ones so I'm going to make more of an effort to read and share. 

  • Photography - I will, I swear I will, actually finish the online photography course I've started. I need to understand the camera better and make better use of it, or y'know actually pick the thing up and turn it on! It's a pssion of mine, I lvoe capturing, editing and creating pictures and I missed it more than I thought last year. 

  • Health - One of my last posts of 2017 was about how I'd been put on medication for high blood pressure and I'm determined to take better care of myself to reduce the risks associated with it. There are a few steps I can take to do this and I will hopefully share what I find effective. I was given a clean bill of health this time last year with the exception of high BP and to keep an eye on it, I didn't and well now I suffer the consequences so it really needs to take priority this year. 

  • Wellbeing - As the point above I also neglected my own wellbeing last year, resulting in stress related headaches, weight gain, skin break outs and just an overall not looking after myself and minding myself. I let things go a lot and it doesn't make me feel good. I want to feel energised and positive, not sluggish and unmotivated. This has been going on for more than the last 12 months but the shock of the BP diagnosis really hit home for me. I aim to stress less, or at least manage it better.

  • Time Management - I really need to manage my time better. Holding down a full time job and having an energetic 4 year old at home, there's not much spare time left in the days but what is there I need to use more wisely. It's so easy to say "Argh I don't have time for that" but if it's something I really want to do I'll make the time. Organisation is the key here and lists, I lvoe a good list and they really help wiht hitting the mini goals. Small changes on this issue I hope to make are getting up even a half hour earlier to save the last minute rushing, utilising the time I spend on the computer and being more productive on it, planning a week in advance for things that need to get done - I've a fancy new journal to keep track of all this.

  • Reading - I love reading, I used to be an avid reader but since L came along and life picked up a very fast pace my reading time has dwindled and it's something I miss. I have a pile of books next to my bed that I have every intention of picking up every night but never do. This is something I really want to change. 

  • Family Time - Something we have very little of in recent years but this year I want to see big changes in that and priotitise our time together. L loves having his mum and dad to himself and going off on little adventures and I feel like this year it's more important than ever before he makes his way into Junior Infants and proper school life begins. 
I'd like to think all of the above is achievable and that I put my focus back on some of the more enjoyable aspects of life.

Happy New Year!
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