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The Twins Have Turned 6!

Apologies for my late blog post. It has been 4 weeks since my last blog and I confess this is purely due to a lack of time, lack of energy and lack of brain and humour capabilities. With the 6 weeks holidays two-thirds of a way through, I am starting to find myself incapable of stringing an adult conversation together, let alone make an attempt at writing a hopefully witty blog.

I love my kids, honestly I really do and even when us school parents (through gritted teeth) told each other on the last day of school that ‘we are really looking forward to spending time with the children’, I really meant it. However, 6 weeks is a long time for any family unit and rather than finding myself making up little ditties on my guitar like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, as I’d hoped, I instead feel that I am developing more similarities to Mrs Hannigan in Annie, grumbling under my breath about ‘little children’ whilst looking for bottles of Gin in my laundry basket.

But these are special days and no matter how many ‘she said, he said’ or ‘I’m bored/hungry/thirsty’ demands I have dealt with in my slightly manic sing-song voice these last few weeks, we have had fun too. I have crammed my calendar full of events to keep the kids occupied, in order for us to spend ‘quality time’ together and to encourage a separation period between the children and the Wii. I have also organised 3 birthday parties for our twins, yes 3 parties!

Our twins turned 6 on the 8th of August, yet we started their birthday celebrations on the 23rd July. The reason for this is that the 8th of August fell during our holiday to Norfolk so we had to engineer for them to see their friends and family prior to our week away.

Party 1:

The first party was held at a non air conditioned indoor play centre for kids, complete with many forms of airborne bacteria thanks to the masses of kids in a close environment. The day was the last day of school, non-uniform day, so I decided to book it straight from school. What I didn’t bargain for was it happened to be also the hottest day of the year so 10 sweaty overheated kids emerged from their classrooms before the party had even begun. The two hours consisted of the children running around like a bunch of crazed lemmings. My daughter adopted a high-pitched scream on every slide as other parents (including us) tutted at the out of control kid making the annoying noise as I tried to discreetly quieten her without being noticed. The twins enjoyed themselves and we ticked off the first of their celebrations with an amazing cake courtesy of my talented cake maker friend.

Their most excellent cake from my talented friend Anthea Scott. Please contact me for orders.

Their most excellent cake from my talented friend Anthea Scott.

Party 2:

This was a more sober affair, you probably thought I meant sombre but I was referring to the hip flasks me and hubby always take to a play centre (only joking). Anyway, round 2 gave our family members who were not coming on holiday the opportunity to swamp the twins with presents. I had given up on trying to persuade the twins to wait until their birthday to open their presents as it was still two weeks away! The party meant more cake, more presents, happy twins, party 2 ticked off.

Party 3:

As I mentioned in my previous blog (https://anounceofme.com/2013/05/19/my-neighbouring-set-of-not-so-desperate-housewives/) we have the benefit of neighbours who have also become our friends. As their children do not attend our kids school, nor are they a member of our family or will be coming to Norfolk with us, we had another birthday party for the twins. This was a BBQ, my hubby’s party of choice if ever we are at home, lots of presents, more cake, happy but confused twins asking me whether they are 5 or 6 as they can’t work it out. Must not do this again next year. Party 3 ticked off.

Lets all sing Happy Birthday again.....

The Twins 6th Birthday:

We had a lovely week away in North Norfolk with our parents which we all really enjoyed. And without trying to sound like ‘Kirstie and Phil’, the location was perfect, the cottage spacious and it was jolly splendid fun (that was the Kirstie bit). On the Thursday of our week away, it WAS the twins ACTUAL Birthday for REAL! We woke the little ones up, excitedly explained it was their Birthday to which they were not overly impressed about despite us decorating our temporary living room with balloons, banners and dishing out party poppers. Another Birthday to celebrate, obviously they soon got into the swing of it with the promise of more presents and cake. We also had arranged to take a boat ride off Blakeney Point to see wild seals, complete with our dog Chester and I even managed to persuade our Captain to lead another sing-song of Happy Birthday with all the passengers joining in, which a fellow tourist bizarrely filmed, whilst Chester growled at passing seals in the water.

Chester the sea dog.

Chester the sea dog.

It does feel very strange to say that our twins are now 6. It only seems like yesterday that I sat exhausted in my hospital postnatal bed, staring wide eyed at two little babies in two little plastic cots, feeling a mixture of excitement and sheer terror at the prospect of two babies to care for along with my then 3 year old son. But we survived…. just… but that is a whole other blog… Stay tuned for more and I promise it will be sooner than 4 weeks!

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Our House In The Middle Of Our Street

My hubby’s job involves working odd hours. He works on a rota of shifts ranging from working an early shift which is up at 5am and home by 5pm. A late shift where he leaves home at lunchtime and is back by midnight. And the shift I dread the most, nights, leaving home at 8pm and arriving home in time for breakfast and with sleep on his mind. Unfortunately, the kids and our dog don’t really understand the ‘Daddy needs to sleep’ concept and it is a constant battle when nights fall on a weekend, for me to achieve a quiet house. Our children are really adept at the loud whisper or managing to ‘talk quietly’ but then decide to start up a really noisy toy, causing the dog to bark and for them to shout. However, the saving grace is that a week of nights normally follow with a week off work for my hubby. This is obviously a good thing as hubby will willingly walk the dog and do the school run, allowing me time to catch up with my work. Unfortunately it also means that he will feel that the week needs to involve some sort of project that often turns the house upside down. I don’t want to appear ungrateful as I know I will benefit from it in the long run, but it’s just the chaos in the interim that is hard to handle.

My living room

My living room

I am thankful of his hard work, he could spend his week off doing nothing but I suppose part of me feels guilty at how much he achieves in his short space of time compared to my often neglected household chores. The minute he picks up a paintbrush, I feel I ought to be simultaneously cleaning out my kitchen cupboards stating that it’s ‘kitchen cupboard Tuesday’, demonstrating how diligently I keep the house clean. In reality, housework involves just about covering the basics of hoovering, dusting and an occasional mopping of the kitchen floor. This is through lack of time and impulse and I constantly promise to ‘give this house a good clean’ on a regular basis.

I suppose hubby’s enthusiasm to get things done also reminds me of how pretty useless I am on the decorating front. I could paint a wall sure and probably hang a bit of wallpaper at a push but any maintenance issues are firmly left to him leaving me feeling like a bit of a 50s housewife. There was a dripping noise coming from our conservatory yesterday, when hubby asked me how long it had been occurring I had assumed it was just normal considering the rainfall and had been happily ignorant of it. Apparently it was not normal and needed fixing! I can happily embark on writing an article where I have to research all manner of subjects not necessarily of interest to me. But ask me to prepare a room for decorating by having to sand it or scrape wallpaper off the walls and my heart sinks. The ironic thing is and my hubby would be happy to point this out, is that the living room project that is in full throttle this week was pretty much my idea. I was lured by the perfect show rooms of Ikea and the promise of bookcases and french dressers in my living room. I had envisioned how my living room could resemble a grown up space and not an extra toy room for the children, which is how it has been for the last 9 years. We recently built a conservatory which meant a new dumping ground for the kids to use, so I figured it was time to reclaim our living room. I just forget about the upheaval it causes getting to the point of finished.

So, I will try to paste on my air hostess smile as I squeeze between living room furniture that is currently housed in our hallway and kitchen. I will continue to be tea lady for my hardworking hubby who is hopefully going to finish the job he starts before moving on to another. And I will think of the end result to help me along the way and try not to mind the squat that my living room currently resembles. Patience is a virtue after all.

Our Four Legged Friend

Apologies that my blog is a little late this week, the reason being is very much due to the subject of the blog…. Our new dog!

I must be mad. That is the general consensus from my friends and family when I decided to add to our family unit with a puppy. Raised eyebrows was a common reaction from most people I told of my intentions. Many of our nearest and dearest are dog lovers so appreciated my ‘need’ but were also of the opinion of “you have 3 children, the twins have just started school, why are you giving yourself the extra work?” . Or I was accused of falling into the category of getting a dog instead of having a baby, as a lot of Mums once all their children are at school, have that urge to pop another one out. This is SO not true in my case, after twins I have pretty much had any broody bone ripped from my being. The only urge I have when I see a newborn is to appreciate the fact I don’t have a sleepless night ahead of me. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing “Auntie” to my friends offspring but I will happily hand them back without a moments thought of wanting another one for me.

But that same insane need you have to get pregnant, I felt a touch of it recently on the hunt for a puppy. When you decide that you want to get pregnant, and in most cases there is often a wait involved, you go from being a rational person to a slightly mental one calculating ovulation dates like Carol Vorderman, introducing strange ‘fertility’ foods into yours and hubby’s diets and dribbling with bump envy at every passing pregnant woman. And why is it that there are so many pregnant women around when you are feeling a bit barren? Do they radio through to each other when they see you coming, “Desperate to get pregnant woman approaching Costa Coffee, all pregnant women fall in immediately, over!”

My need for a dog started a few weeks ago when we met up with some dear friends of ours over the country park with the kids and their new puppy. I had thought about getting a dog since the twins had started school, hubby wasn’t keen so I brainwashed encouraged him with the usual mantras of, “it’s good to teach the kids the responsibility of owning a pet” and “I feel I need that added security when you’re on a night shift”, but we had agreed that it would be too much to deal with. So quite like handing a baby to a reluctant husband to hold, we met our friends new dog so I could manipulate encourage his heart strings. Their puppy is adorable and the kids loved it so was able to add “it will enrich our family unit” to the list. My hubby was tempted, as he does loves dogs, but was able to hand it back and forget about it, but it had switched something on in his mind and had also got the kids on my side to bug him about it too!

Two weeks later I had been ‘keeping my eye out on dog rescue sites’ which really meant scouring every dog home in the country for my desired breed, a Labrador puppy. To buy new from a breeder they are £600+ but it wasn’t just the expense that put me off, I really wanted to help a dog in need of a home. Sadly there were endless offers of other breeds such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Collies being the most available. I was tempted with one Collie puppy called Chaos but thought would sound a bit mad shouting that across a park, like I was trying to incite some sort of riot!

Ironically enough it was hubby who finally found our dog via Gumtree whilst looking for motorbike gear, he reckons. He found a 6 month old Golden Lab called Chester who was looking to be rehomed as his owner was moving and couldn’t take him. He was a pedigree so would still have to pay for that privilege but at a second-hand price – bless. We made the fatal mistake of making a visit to its foster home to see how we felt about him, well unless you are pretty soulless, visiting an Andrex puppy in cramped conditions looking at you like the cat from Shrek, it was pretty impossible not to say yes to him.

So Chester has come to live with us. He is very kind natured although has a habit of nipping which we are trying to stop, he is great company, loves the kids and is so at home with us already. The kids are happy to walk him with me and my son hasn’t even picked up his DS since Chester arrived so I think I’ve fulfilled all my previous mantras. All except one that is, the security issue. Last night while hubby was working a night shift, there was a noise in the garden next door, Chester shot up and ran to the door to be let out. I opened the door and he looked at me as much to say “come with me it’s a bit dark out there..” I had worked out it was next door’s Springer Spaniel so wasn’t worried so I accompanied my ‘guard dog’ out into the back garden at which point the Spaniel barked and Chester went flying back indoors with his tail between his legs leaving me outside in the dark, on my own! Oh well at least he is starting to look a bit big and scary, even if he isn’t!