Parenting, twins, life, work and worries.

Welcome to this wonderful world!

Posted by shinymac on September 26, 2008

Say hello to Leo!

Leo was born yesterday, weighing 7lb 9.5 and is a happy healthy little boy. My sister is very proud, as is her partner Craig and Leo’s big sister Erin.

I spent yesterday in tears of joy, longing to meet him, and longing to hug my little sister who did so well to push him out so quickly, despite the pain.

Today, they are going home from hospital, and it’s this time in a baby’s life that I remember with much fondness, having been so proud to take my own babies home from the hospital. Home to mountains of gifts for small bundles, home to flowers, home to freshly knitted jumpers, and home to a new routine, or even no routine for a little while, at least until things settle, goodness me, give me a chance!

So I just wanted to wish my sister and the rest of her beautiful little family, all the very best wishes I possibly can upon her exciting adventure of returning home, but returning home with a beautiful and very special new life.

Congratulations! x


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Posted by shinymac on September 11, 2008

One of my earliest memories is bringing my sister home from hospital. A little bundle of screams and joy, all wrapped together and curled up in a huge navy blue carry-cot, positioned neatly in the back of our red estate car between myself and my big brother.
I remember peering in and wondering what this would mean. How this would affect me, how it would affect our family. What this little person would bring to us all; laughter? Fun? Cuddles? Annoyance? I have to say, that unbeknown to me at this tender age of 3, this little person would bring us all of these things, and much much more.

As my sister started to become a real person, by that I mean talking, walking, pulling hair and sticking her tongue out, rather than just laying down, kicking legs and screaming, she was blonde, cute and a pest all at the same time.

She followed me around like a lost little lamb, and I took care of her as much as I could, until I’d had enough and wanted some space and some peace. Well, she talked an awful lot, there’s only so much a big sister can take!

My brother and I used to pick on her a bit, and when we played villages, we chose the important jobs, and gave my sister the rubbish job. She’d end up working as a post lady or a shopkeeper, whilst my brother would be the policeman, and I would be the teacher or the librarian, bossing her about and shutting her into the toy cupboard.

When we lived in Germany, she decided she didn’t like her knickers one day, so she threw them out of the car window on the autobahn. I stifled my giggles as much as I could as my parents told her off, and her face crumbled. From then on, I knew she would be strong. She would be able to stand up for herself, and if she didn’t like something, like her knickers for example, then you would know about it.

We were sent to Boarding School when I was 10 and she was 7, which was for the right reasons, and was really only a 3 year temporary measure. She was the youngest boarder there, and despite everyone looking out for her, and thinking she was adorable, she found it so hard to be torn away from our parents at such a young age. She needed her mummy, and I had to be very grown up and try to give her everything I could in replacement, as we were far away from our mum and dad. I hope that she thinks I did a good job now when she looks back, but it was hard, I was still really a baby myself. She cried and threw tantrums everytime the new term started, and I struggled, but tried so hard to comfort her as much as I could.

On our very first night at boarding school, as we were both in the Juniors, we all shared a dorm. As the lights went out, she asked me to give her a goodnight kiss, in the bed next to mine. I crept out of my bed and slinked over to hers, bending down and plonking a kiss on what I thought was her face. It felt cold! She was giggling away, but it was muffled. She had asked me for a kiss, and whilst I’d made my way to do so, she’d shuffled round and stuck her bottom out of the top of the quilt where her head was supposed to be! The little monkey!

Once we left the boarding school and started at a comprehensive, she faced up to bullies and nastiness daily. She would follow me and my friends around all the time, and I couldn’t shake her off. She hit one of my friends with the hoover pipe when she heard her being mean to me, and I knew then that I didn’t actually want to shake her off. She was my little sis, and I was going to cherish her forever.

She was the first to have a child out of the 3 of us. A little girl, Erin, who is now 6, and a beautiful, loving and bright little girl she’s turned out to be. Despite the fact that her marriage to Erin’s dad broke down, which I think everyone was upset about at the time, she has moved on and found love again, and is expecting her 2nd baby this month.

Today is her birthday. My little Kerry is now 28, and I can’t understand where the time has gone. It seems like yesterday when she would throw tantrums and I would hold her, stroke her hair and tell her that everything would be okay.
It feels like a week ago that I put a bookshelf up in the middle of our shared bedroom as a divider, so that she knew where she wasn’t allowed. It feels like it was just days ago when our father left our mother, and we were thrown together in a strange kind of mourning, and comforting each other, whilst trying to comfort our mum at the same time, as best as we could.

Now we live far apart, I want her to know that I cherish every moment we share together. Whether it be on an email, a phonecall, or when we actually meet up and hug once again.

Happy birthday Kezza-kins. I love you x

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Bright Eyes

Posted by shinymac on September 9, 2008

When I was younger I went to boarding school in Sussex. At this school, I made loads of friends who were also boarders, and who therefore were like sisters to me at the time, although the kind of sisters who I never saw during the holidays, never spent Christmas with, never remembered being born and that kind of thing.

Often, we would feel homesick, especially at night time when we’d all be settling down to try and get some sleep. These emotions would hit hardest at the start of a new term, when we had returned to our second home, and said goodbye to our real families for the next however many weeks.

I used to love singing, in fact, I still do, and I indulge in this hobby only with my kids nowadays. I don’t go to partake in karaokes anymore, and I certainly won’t be singing with The Vultures again (after seeing myself in their video finale!), so lately the singing thing has kind of taken a back burner. But back then? Well back then was a whole different ball game. After all, these people were my (fake) sisters remember, and if you can’t sing in front of your (fake) sisters, then who on earth can you sing in front of?

So I would let rip and try to cheer everyone up. The favourite number back in the days of nuns and midnight feasts, was, of course, Bright Eyes from Watership Down. Although how this cheered anyone up is beyond me, but it seemed to really work.

I would purposely try and sing it as softly as possible, gradually getting quieter and quieter, until everyone was almost asleep, and then I would stop and snuggle myself in to also try and get some shut-eye.
Everyone would say it was soothing, and I really feel like I tried to help. Whether or not this worked or not, I do not know, but right now, I wish I had a me at that age to comfortingly sing “Bright Eyes” to me until I fall asleep.

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Marley and Evie start school

Posted by shinymac on September 6, 2008

This has been a very emotional week. On Wednesday of this week, Evie and Marley started their journey and started school for the very first time.
I expected tears, I expected clinging, I expected wails. However I got nothing I expected! I got smiles, excitement, happiness and not a single ounce of nervousness or trepidation about what lay ahead for either of them!

It was hard to leave them in the classroom, but I tore myself away and marched home to sit alone for a while as they got to know their new teacher and their new classmates.

It got to Friday, and the reality sunk in. They were really at school! They weren’t my babies anymore! The day had come and they had gone to school as I sat in the house feeling all miserable!
I sat and cried for an hour straight, and even now my emotions keep peeking out at me and saying “Hi there! Fancy a few more tears? Go on…… you know you want to!”

And to top it all off, the rain is simply making it all worse, and everytime I see the rain pouring down and trying to taunt me, I just feel slumped!
Next week will obviously be easier. And the week after that, and the week after that. I just hope the rain stops to help me out a little!

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Day 8 Diary Entry – Italy

Posted by shinymac on September 6, 2008

Sunday 31st August 2008

We had to get up really early this morning, and I did my usual trick of waking up all itchy in the middle of the night, and going out to the terrace to cool down – 3am to be precise! Quite a bit earlier than I needed to be up.
Out on the terrace at night, it is dark, even when you put the light on out there, you can’t see the sea in front of you, and you hear noises. Noises eminating from creatures in a foreign country freak you out than noises coming from creatures in your own back garden. Italian creatures make quite pleasant noises, but not at night time, and certainly not when you’re out in the dark alone with the wind blowing you about.

We all got up at 6, got ready, and headed down in the lift for the last time to reception where our taxi driver was awaiting us at 7.

The hotel owners bid us their farewells, and away we went – to the airport, sad and gloomy, except we weren’t really, because Evie and Marley were cracking us all up in the taxi with their usual hi-jinx and silly questions, and innocent observations.

We arrived at the airport, found our check in desk, which wasn’t difficult, considering Treviso is possibly smaller than Humberside, and got in line.

We got the front, and despite it being the end of our holiday, I felt surprisingly chirpy, and said a bright “Buongiorno!” to the check-in assistant. Well, I take it she wasn’t in the mood, because she had attitude plastered all over her face!
We put Alex’s case on, and she sent it away fine. Then we put mine on, and she abruptly told us to remove 4 kilos of weight from it or it can’t go through.

So we moved to the side, and hastily started to rifle through worn clothing (even underwear!), and other holiday stuff to try and remove some heavy items.
I was quite upset, as our hand luggage was full, and the case that had been sent down had a bit of room left in, so anything we removed, we had to dispose of.
I picked out my gold wedged sandals, and just said “these weren’t expensive, just leave these!” as the tears formed behind my eyes, and Alex took out 2 bottles of liquor we had bought yesterday from the supermarket. One was a chocolate pear one, and the other a lemon one. We just had to dump them!
I took out my make-up and a pair of jeans which I had to put on over my shorts in front of the whole line of people! I was so embarrassed.

We got back in line, and Little Miss Attitude told us that the case was now within the limits allowed, however, we would still need to pay excess baggage, because it was still overweight. 10 whole kilos overweight!
She sent the bag through, gave us a slip of paper, but no boarding passes, and said we now had to pay 150 Euros or we were not getting our boarding passes to go home. Bearing in mind we had 2 small children with us, I do think she was being highly unfair.

We found the desk to pay the money, paid it as I cried my eyes out, and took the receipt back to the awful check in person, and finally were allowed to go home. I was so upset! 150 Euros is not a drop in the ocean! It’s £120 at least! And we do not have that kind of money to spare!
As we went to security, I realised I had all my make up in my hand luggage, and would need a clear bag to put it into, so I asked the security lady through my tears, and she looked upon me kindly, provided me with one, and let me through with no hassle. I think she knew I’d had dealings with that nasty piece of work, and felt for me.

I cried pretty much the whole flight home. I’d had no food, because she had made my appetite vanish, and I was tired and sad to be leaving as it was, despite the 150 Euros.

It was a really bad end to a really great holiday, but I now need to just try and have positive memories of the whole experience, and put the Ryanair fiasco to the back of my mind.

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Day 7 Diary Entry – Italy

Posted by shinymac on September 5, 2008

Saturday 30th August 2008

We spent a little time this morning traipsing around a couple of supermarkets to buy bits of pasta, gnocchi, alcohol and biscuits to take home. Once that task was complete, we headed to the pool for a swim, and then to the beach for the rest of the day.

Poor Marley did her usual trick of falling asleep and missing out on a few hours, only this time, she fell asleep in my arms in the sea!
Alex and Evie went off to get us all some dinner, and came back armed with fresh crusty rolls, salami, emmental and prosciutto to make our own sandwich. We discovered (typically that it was our last day) how much more delicious and less expensive they were too!
We saved one for sleepyhead Marley, and woke her up to a Hello Kitty ice cream from the moving beach ice-cream stall.

The kids made a huge sand castle village, and Evie and Alex dug up a massive hole, in which Evie was buried stood up! Alex struggled to get her out!

As the day wore on, some German kids came along and made a new sand castle village next to ours. Evie and Marley dished out enough evil looks to start off another world war!
We played in the sea a little for the last time, and spent ages trying to deflate Craig the Croc, the lilo (which we ended up popping), and the kids’ rubber rings, before trotting back a little less laden down with beach equipment, to get ready for tea.

After showers, we headed out to a far posher restaurant than usual. One that had been blessed with the touch of an interior designer, and fitted with huge floor lamps, and trendy unisex toilets. One that did AMAZING pizza at still really good prices, yet one that we soon discovered sneakily charged a 2 Euro per person cover charge! Naughty!

Once our bellies were full, we headed off to play crazy golf, where Alex became so intent on making me lose, he flashed my bum to a few old Italian men in an effort to put me off and distract me from my shot!
After getting confused with our score cards (due to the litre of wine we’d sunk with our meal), we abandoned them and just had fun with it instead.

The kids managed to get into the fun-park next door on our last 6 Euros, which should’ve been 8, but Alex had a word – bless him, and I headed back to the hotel on my own to start the mammoth packing task which lay ahead.

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Day 6 Diary Entry – Italy

Posted by shinymac on September 5, 2008

Friday 29th August 2008

Our penultimate day began with the usual breakfast downstairs, and then plenty of time in the pool, which despite feeling freezing upon entry, soon ended up being a welcome break from the blazing hot sun.

We then spent some time on the loungers on the hotel’s private beach for a change, instead of being right next to the sea as we have done since we’ve been here. The kids soon got tired, so I offered to cart Marley up to the room so she could have a comfy nap. Just before we went, I saw a little cute lizard darting across the sand – it was adorable! I hoped it would climb into my bag so I could bring it home!
Whilst Marley DIDN’T nap back at the room due to being so busy playing, I lounged on the lilo on the terrace, which is the best sun trap ever.

I read a couple of chapters of The Acid House by Irvine Welch, before Marley got fed up and wanted to go and see Daddy and Evie, who had been napping on the private beach!

Once everyone was together, we left our stuff on the loungers and the 4 of us ran down to the sea to all jump in together. Something we’d not managed to do yet! It was great fun, even though Alex and Marley both tried to drown me on several occasions.

We got ready for tea, and headed down to the central section where all the main shops, bars and restaurants were.
Evie wanted something from the Hello Kitty shop that she’d spotted a few nights ago, and had harped on about ever since, but when we got there, she couldn’t find it, and we even asked the shop assistant, but it wasn’t there anymore! She was heartbroken!
We did manage to apease things by getting her and Marley a new punky Bratz doll each which they both love.

For tea we found a really busy restaurant, which is always a good sign, and I opted for a Vesuvia pizza, which was ham, mushrooms, artichokes and egg, and was by far the best ever so far!

A long walk back and a quick beer at the hotel bar. I will be so sad to have our last night tomorrow!

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Day 5 Diary Entry – Italy

Posted by shinymac on September 5, 2008

Thursday 28th August 2008

Today for some strange reason, has felt almost like it was the end of our holiday, despite the fact that we have 2 full days left!
We managed to get up for breakfast, as we have done every day, which I am actually glad about, as it’s filled us up, sometimes even until tea time! We had bacon, eggs, ham, cheese, crusty rolls, jam tarts and coffee.
The kids had their usual chocolate spread on bread.

Poor Evie is suffering with a pretty bad cold and a nasty cough, so we took a trip to the nearest pharmacy in Piazza Torino to get her some cough medicine.
The pharmacist explained how much to administer by drawing a really bad picture of a big spoon and a little spoon and writing a 1 next to the little one. I managed to work it out with my bits of Italian and her bad artwork!

We then went to the beach for a few hours after buying a huge blow up crocodile, which we’ve nicknamed Craig. Not after my sister’s boyfriend, it just fitted right. Cr and Cr.
After playing in the freezing cold swimming pool with Craig, we headed out to the sea with him.

We had panini con formaggio e prosciutto (cheese and ham paninis) from the beach hut, Evie had a hot dog, Marley had a toastie, and then we chilled out again on the sand. Evie didn’t seem to improve, so we decided she probably needed to play in the shade for a while, so we headed back to the room for the rest of the afternoon.

Alex and I tried to brave the heat on the sun-trap terrace, but kept having to go inside and blast ourselves under a cold shower to cool down. It was unbelievably hot.

Tonight we decided to go local for tea, and we picked a relatively cheap place where I just fancied having chicken and chips. It was pants. The litre of wine and the bruschetta starter were great though.

Then a bit later, Evie punched Alex in the nuts and really highlighted a great day in which we’d also seen Marley throwing a massive tired tantrum, due to not having a nap, and then later a very whingy bedtime.

Hopefully we’ll all be a bit chirpier tomorrow, especially as it will be our 2nd to last day!

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Day 4 Diary Entry – Italy

Posted by shinymac on September 5, 2008

Wednesday 27th August 2008

Another glorious scorcher of a day, and I am sat here on the bed, sunburned, despite the Factor 30!

We’ve had a lovely relaxing day, chilling out on our terrace in the morning, and then going to buy a lilo (finally!) and some new Crocs for the kids, then dinner at a beach hut (mmmm…..panini vegetariano per mio!) whilst Evie and Marley played in the park next to our seats.

We wrote our postcards which we purchased from Venice yesterday, and went to buy stamps to post them. I managed to say “Avete francobolli per cartolini per la Gran Bretagne” (which means “do you have stamps to post postcards to Britain?”), and I answered the lady’s “Si, quanto?” with; “Quatro per favore”. I was so proud of myself!
I do wish my Italian was better though. I can only say and understand a few things, especially the “Sono gemeli?” we get asked all the time, which is if the kids are twins.

After a lovely dinner, we spent the whole afternoon at the beach, swimming in the sea, lounging on the sand, and generally just enjoying it. I don’t want this holiday to ever end!

Tonight we’ve had a lovely meal out, along with a litro de vino rosso, and walked up to the other end of the street, only stopping for a 10 Euro (EEEK!) couple of beers in a bar, and a 1 Euro ice cream. I had tiramisu flavour, and Alex opted for fico flavour, but he didn’t even know what it was! I’ve just looked it up and discovered it meant “fig” flavour. Ugh!

Thank goodness for my life-saving Italian dictionary which I remembered to bring with me this time. It prevented me from ordering a tuna sandwich today, “tonno” sounded so appealing that I almost just risked it and got it anyway. It was only because I thought it could be “tongue” that I thought to refer. I’m so glad I did!

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Day 3 Diary Entry – Italy

Posted by shinymac on September 4, 2008

Tuesday 26th August 2008

My feet have never felt so sore! Or so tired! Or so throbbing!
We went to Venice today. The way there was a nightmare though in comparison to the luxurious Azzura boat we used last year. We had to catch a bus near the hotel (number 2) to Piazza Picchi; the bus station. There we had to change to a number 5. Marley was gasping for a drink, and we almost missed the bus due to having to pop to the cafe to buy some water! Good job we did though, because we were squished onto this bus for ages, and it was hot hot hot! The bus took us to Punta Sabbioni, the port, and I knew I had heard of it, but mistakenly thought it was the one we sailed from last year when Alex and I went to Venice for the day.

When we finally got to the boat, the journey was quick and was actually okay, apart from two posers who were sat opposite us, posing and pouting for photographs!

Venice was lovely, just as I remembered it before. It’s very touristy on the main touristy parts, which is to be expected, and it was slightly more difficult with prams than I imagined it would be, but all the same, I loved it. I loved the fact that once again we went with no plans, and we just immersed ourselves into everyday Venice and into the real parts by getting lost on purpose.
I didn’t expect that it would be so unbelievably roasting hot though, but my light kaftan top thing came in so handy to stave off the (even more) sunburn.

We stopped for a (MASSIVE) pizza in a little trattoria (with a fairly rude waiter), and then we meandered through streets, over countless bridges, and even managed a trip on water bus number 1, which stops at every stop along the Grand Canal past palaces and other speeding boats.

On the way home, I managed to persuade Alex to cough up for a bit of luxury and splash out on the Azzura boat! Yay! Space, heaven and a quick trip home at last. Or so I thought! We then decided to walk the whole way from the port back to our hotel, which was a cool 11 kms! (I don’t know what that is in miles – 5 or 6 or something?) Either way, it took us about 3 hours to walk back – the cause of the blisters and sore feet.

We had a treat of Venice bought paninis to munch on when we got back to our terrace.
I so can’t wait for a day of chilling and relaxing beach-side tomorrow.

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