New Year Stuffs…

2016 is coming! 2016 is coming! How on earth can 2016 top 2015? I mean, we were blessed with a BABY who is the scrummiest boy in the world! 2016 needs to seriously up its game if it wants to even think about competing…

I don’t think 2016 can win. Sorry. BUT, I think it can set us up for an amazing 2017. You see, I want to use 2016 as an admin year. I want to continue our excellent work at debt reduction (we’re so close to being debt free I can taste it), and so hopefully come October time we’ll have nothing except the mortgages and also have money saved for round 2 of IVF! You’ll remember me saying we have 5 frozen embryos, so this means that our next 5 attempts will be significantly cheaper – around £1500 a shot – than traditional ICSI. If blessed with another baby, I am determined to have a year off. The fact we can only afford 6 months this time makes me so sad I can’t put it into words. I feel it’s gone too quickly. I go back to work in a month. Madness. My baby is still so small!

Next time round, a whole year for baby and Logan ❤ , and then I want to return on part-time hours. Maybe 30-32 hours a week rather than 40. If I can do 3x 10hr shifts I’ll be really happy. That would be perfect. Yes, it would mean a wage cut, but with no debt it would be possible. I just wish John’s job role supported part-time working. I know he’d love to spend more time with our little man.

So, yeah, as I mentioned, October will be the month we start trying for baby number 2. We’d like a small(ish) gap between siblings so that they hopefully grow up playing together…wishful thinking, maybe?

We also want to start saving towards our rear extension. Our house is lovely, but the kitchen/diner is way too small. I want an open plan living area with an island in the kitchen, a dining area, downstairs toilet and folding doors to the garden with a hot tub…It’s been costed up for us and comes in at around 20k for the complete renovation. Pretty happy with that. Luckily, John and his dad would do a lot of the manual work so that halves the bill. If we needed a builder, it would cost close to 30-35k. Anyway, that’s way in the future – most likely 2018 for completion. Before that starts, we need to finish the front extension. The weather (rain, wind, dark nights) and our builder having a knee replacement (father in law!) has stalled our plans for 4 months. We have the new door in our living room and John’s bonus will pay for the rest of the materials and stretch to the block paving and raised flower bed to replace the rockery too. I want the house to have a nice curb appeal!

Reading this back, there’s a lot of wants…I guess I want a lot. Yes, I do. I work bloody hard for not a lot of money or recognition, so of course I want my home and family life to be perfect. Who wouldn’t? 😀

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Baby’s First Christmas

This was a year of firsts, and as we look to close the curtain on 2015, I’m still high on the buzz of love surrounding Logan’s first Christmas.

Our baby is so very loved.

John and I both agreed not to spoil him (especially this year) as he won’t remember the day. We did very well too! We bought 2 big teddies from the movie Monsters Inc (Sully and Mike), a bubble machine, and another teddy from Hamley’s. Father Christmas bought him an activity centre handheld toy (non-electronic) 😉 . We also decided to pop an extra £20 in his bank account for future things. That way, when he’s a bit bigger, he can buy some toys he likes. He now has more money saved than we do! A bank account, an ISA, and all his child benefit saved so far! Go Logan!

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Our friends and family were far too generous. Little Bunny is so lucky to have so many people who love him. Sometimes, I still get a little down when I look at my extended family and the way things have turned out, but when special occasions like this come along and our friends rally around us – it’s amazing. It’s not about what they buy or gift, but rather that they want to spend time with him (and us!) and that they care.

Although, Nanny Smith bought the toy shop I think! He has a Disney pull along train, bath toys, rings, clothes, books, CDs…so much! On Christmas morning, Little Elf Logan opened up his presents and found a posh outfit from the Disney store: a cute shirt and bow tie. Mummy squeed as Daddy dressed him up for lunch. Ok, he just had booby and then sat in his highchair as we ate, but still!

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The Christmas Loot! What a lucky boy!!!

The day was amazing.

I’ve been converted and I’m now a Christmas lover! I genuinely can’t wait to start lots of family traditions in the future. I want to make it a special time of year for the right reasons: family, charity, love and happiness.

First new tradition: instead of ‘Elf on the Shelf’ we want to do something with these two cuties…

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Left: Reindeer. Right: Lady Fox

We need names for them, any suggestions? The traditional Elf on the Shelf scares me a little. I find the eyes and facial expression a bit creepy, and I’m not sure I like the idea of the elf ‘reporting’ back to Father Christmas on whether or not Logan has been good or bad. A bit too Orwellian/1984 for my liking. However, I do like the idea of the Christmas duo turning up and doing fun things overnight for Logan – perhaps prepping art and crafts or activities?  Yes, I had them in the bathroom for a day or so 😀

Next, I got this gorgeous advent calendar in the sales. 75% off and it’s so so sweet. Made of MDF but painted,945293_10156329058600375_8692825969906301171_n the drawers are a great size and will accommodate cars, LEGO, bubbles, trinkets etc really easily. No chocolate for this baby! Yes it will cost more than a £3 calendar from the shops, but if I get things during the year the cost will be spread and it’s far more personal.

I’ve also been walked over and taken advantage of. It’s taken years and years of heartbreak and disappointment for me to toughen up and finally feel relaxed and comfortable (emotion wise) and I don’t want to project any insecurities on to our son. Christmas is a great time of year to show him what’s important, how he should behave always, and how giving is always better than receiving.

Talking of giving, Logan (ahem!) made these for 2 sets of special people…

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Left: Oddparents, Lee & Charlie. Right: Oddparents, Hannah & Dan (pic inserted after this was taken!)

Last month, we asked our best friends Lee and Charlie if they would be Logan’s ‘Oddparents’. We’re not getting Logan Christened as neither of us are religious, but we want him to have guardians that we trust to look after him if anything were to happen to us. We love Lee and Charlie, and they love Logan (and, I think, us?). So it was a perfect choice.

But wait…there was another couple who loved him as much as Lee and Charlie -my sister, Hannah and her partner Dan. Hannah has been more than my sister for the last 6/7 years, she’s my daughter and Logan therefore is as much her brother as he is her nephew. So we have 2 sets of wonderful Oddparents for our gorgeous, clever little boy. 😀

We closed the Christmas period off by meeting up with some friends for a long overdue catch-up. Over the years, we’ve all moved away or started different jobs so getting together is tough, but with 3 babies already here and 1 on the way, the next generation need to start the friendship bonds early. Logan has taken quite a shining to Imogen. Young love, perhaps? He’s already buttering her up with cuddles! There’s talk of trying to make the get togethers a regular thing, especially around Christmas. I think that’s a great idea 😀

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Imogen & Logan

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Left to Right: Imogen, Lexie & Logan

Here’s a few more piccies from the last month:

 

15 Awesome Things from 2015

It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative. I’m incredibly guilty of always dwelling on the bad times and fretting about things that are outside my control that sometimes I forget about the good stuff.

As 2015 draws to a close (less than 2 weeks to go, folks!) I thought I’d list 15 things from 2015 that have been incredible, or good, or simply made me smile. I urge you all to do the same.

  1. Of course this is going to be Logan. The (relatively) safe arrival of our firstborn is, without a doubt, the best thing to happen this year. Hell, it’s the best thing to happen in any of my years on Earth! Everything about him makes me smile. Even the poosplosion nappies!
  2. Bathroom renovation. I have a freestanding, deep bathtub that is just divine. I’m actually typing this blog post while wallowing. Heavenly.
  3. I’m back to pre-pregnancy weight and slowly losing poundage. Hurrah!
  4. Whilst on maternity leave I discovered The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Suits, Reign, Sense8, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Bates Motel, How To Get Away With Murder, Jessica Jones and many more great tv shows. Why does this make the list? Because I was able to relax and watch. Something I never had time to do before baby. Logan has made me realise that actually, it’s ok to say no sometimes. It’s ok to have some ‘me’ time and be selfish. It’s not a crime.
  5. With some smart financial planning, we worked out we’ll be debt free (bar mortgage) in 30 months. That’s a 2015 win because it was this year we turned the corner and upped the payments.
  6. Ex Machina. This is my movie of 2015. At the time of writing this, I’ve not seen the new Star Wars, so it might change, but Ex Machina made me smile in so many ways – intelligent scifi that didn’t rely on special effects. Much love for Oscar Isaac too. That man won my heart in Agora a few years ago.
  7. A GBH conviction whereby the offender tried to gouge the eyes out of his victim and sent a load of revenge porn images to her family. This case made the national news and was one I oversaw and worked on. Probably one of the most memorable cases from the last 9 years.
  8. The continued growth of Grimbold Books and Kristell Ink. Without such supportive and enthusiastic authors our little publishing company wouldn’t be around. 2015 brought many trials our way and we tackled and brought down them all. 2016 promises to be bigger and brighter.
  9. Unsolicited and praising reviews of my book. Yeah, this is a big smile maker. I received some lovely positive reviews of my book that have encouraged me to find time to write…soon.
  10. Meeting up with Grimbold authors at BristolCon and FantasyCon. Simply amazing. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life, and honoured to call them friends. The tee-shirt reveal for the launch of ‘The Heir To The North’ was a highlight for me.
  11. Meeting my friend’s babies – all of them. Oliver, Oscar, Eli, Alex, Lexie, Imogen, Amber, Isabella…gorgeous, all of them. What a year.
  12. Celebrating my 7th wedding anniversary. Ok, I was heavily pregnant and we didn’t actually do anything, but we made it to 7 years! Here’s to the next 7 (and beyond!)!
  13. Our pets took to Logan really well. No jealousy or issues. With 14 cats and 2 dogs there was always the risk that one of them would turn. A massive relief and euphoric feeling knowing that they all get along.
  14. A generalisation here, but…being a better person overall and the realisation that grudges and negativity breeds discontent and unhappiness. In 2015, it clicked: don’t let the bad shit get me down. I’m calmer and feel more focussed, because of that I think I’m a better friend and person.
  15. I’m alive. I have a house. I have a child. I have enough money to pay bills and feed, clothe and take care of Logan and myself (and hubby). These are all things to be proud and happy of.Give this a go. I’m sure I’ve missed off some huge, happy and amazing events of 2015 but these all popped into my head and were typed in quick succession. Do remind me if I’ve forgotten anything that I should be shouting about!

Conquering Fears

When I was 17, I went for braces on my teeth. I should have had them years before, but, as was typical with my mother, it wasn’t considered a priority until the free treatment deadline loomed…

The process was horrid. The orthodontist was slapdash and rough, bruising the inside of my mouth and cheeks. The cement used on the brace anchors was slapped on and covered my teeth where it shouldn’t, leaving a rough feeling all over my enamel. It was painful, very painful.

Every check up during the 18 months left me crying and sweaty-palmed. Wires would rub my cheeks where they weren’t trimmed down and on my final visit, the metal ring/clamp around my back tooth was removed with so much force it cracked my tooth and I was in agony. The orthodontist referred me to a colleague to have it repaired free of charge, but I didn’t trust him and now feared dentists.

I had a root canal done privately (my only treatment up to that point) and was sedated with tramadol during the process. It was ok. I don’t remember much from the procedure, only the bill – £480.

That was 12 years ago and since then, I’ve only been to the dentist once – around 6 years ago for a check up. The experience of my orthodontist left me with a phobia and even thinking about the dentist now makes my teeth and jaw hurt. Right now, typing this, I have a shooting pain in my jaw that I know is psychosomatic. The tang of the antiseptics and mouthwash assails me, and the sharp jabbing on my teeth and gums is as vivid today as it was 15 years ago.

Today though, I’ve pulled on my big girl panties and booked in for a check-up on Monday. Pregnancy can do very bad things to teeth. The change in hormones paired with breastfeeding and a nutrient sucking vampire-esque baby can leave teeth prone to cavities. I don’t want that. I have that one root canal and that’s it. Except…the last few weeks I’ve had some sensitivity when eating hot and cold foods, and now I’m worried. So, I’ve bitten the bullet and decided that if I need any work doing – now is the time. Not only is it free until Logan’s first birthday, but if there are any issues I need to get them sorted before they get worse and before any sibling. I don’t want my teeth to crumble and fall out.

Wish me luck. I will need it. :/