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20130731-204743.jpgBut I Don’t Want A Photo Mummy!

20130731-204918.jpgHello Mummy, I Love You!!

20130731-205649.jpgKicking Back And Relaxing, Looking So Much Like My Daddy

Niamh – This week you have been obsessed with being a ballerina. You have been going into your dress-ups and putting on your old ballet outfit. It’s funny really because although you love dancing you absolutely HATED dance classes, especially ballet. You are more of a free-form dancer and no surprises here, you hate being told what to do! Your love of baking grows more each day and Thursday has become baking day. So far we’ve made chocolate cake, chocolate truffles and rainbow cupcakes. I love sitting back and letting you go, just helping with the instructions and the hot or electric things.

Harper – All of a sudden this week you stopped rolling from your tummy to your back. I became concerned and couldn’t figure out why. Then it became clear. It wasn’t that you couldn’t anymore, it’s because you don’t WANT to. And then something else became all too clear. You have started trying to propel yourself forward. I say propel because at the moment you reach with your arms but your legs are doing all the work. Your legs already have the know-how of commando crawling your arms just need to catch up. Slow down little girl stay my baby for a little longer. This week you also had your first real laugh, a real big laugh it was too. Unfortunately for me your mirth was at my obvious pain while you took a big fistful of my hair at the roots and you yanked repeatedly as hard as you possibly could. I was too busy laughing along to save myself.

Declan – Aaaaaaannnnnnddddd welcome back allergic reactions. Thank God no swelling or breathing problems but horrible, red and inflamed rashes that hurt and itch, just on your face. You are so unhappy. I just keep moisturising and using your steroid cream and hope you get some relief. I promise we will get to the bottom of this. This week I also noticed just how much you LOVE bath time. Your sisters are both fans, and enjoy baths a lot, but you take your love to the next level. I think it’s safe to say there is NO OTHER CHILD IN THE WORLD who loves bath time as much as you do. From the second I start undressing you the rap dancing begins. You wiggle and giggle, them the panting comes. You are just so damn excited. Then there is the walk to the bathroom with little squeals. But the best bit, for you and everyone else, is when you are placed in the bath and water starts running over your body. You create tsunamis in the bath tub with your excited thrashing. It is truly so heart melting to watch.

Last week my favourite of the 29 week projects was over at It Only Gets Better. Little Cedric enjoying his bath struck a chord with me.

 

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The FlyLady Is Revolutionising My Life

Ok so I have been promising this post for a while and I have been trying to write it but didn’t know where to start. After having the twins life was chaos for months. The house looked like a bomb had hit it and I had no time or energy to change it. I was unhappy because I was surrounded by mess and clutter, the floors were dirty and clothes were not being washed regularly enough. That was the worst part. Waking up and realising you actually had NOTHING to wear. And not in the teenage way, or the fat and ugly day way. There was literally no clean clothes (that fit post pregnancy) to cover my nakedness. And it wasn’t just my clothes, it was also a Hubby and Niamh. The only ones who always had clean clothes were the twins and that seemed like a daily occurrence what with all the changes of Declan’s vomitty clothes and bedding.

Then one morning I got a chance to eat breakfast on my own (a miracle really). Niamh was at kinder and both twins were asleep. So as I sat and munched some crumpets oozing with honey and had my first cup of tea in forever, I opened up bloglovin’ and started catching up on my reading. It was during this quiet morning moment that I read something that changed my life. It was a small mention, not even the main idea of the blog post, but there was a reference to someone called The Flylady. A reference that was so obscure and hidden that even after days of searching all the blogs I read I can’t find the bloody blog it was so I can give credit. Sorry if I find it I will edit and add it in, I hate not giving credit where credit is due.

This mention of The Flylady was in conjunction with an idea of cleanliness, or was it organisation? I can’t remember. I just remember thinking ‘I wonder what that’s all about’ and clicking on the link. Best decision I have ever made after reading a blog (was going to say I ever made but then what does that say about getting married and having kids lol?). Here was this whole revolution that I had never heard of, never been included in, and I was miffed. I thought everyone knew about this miraculous Flylady and her routines and organisation ideas. Turns out I was wrong so here I am sharing it with you.

Basically The Flylady is a website that helps you get organised and clean one day at a time. They are a set of basic daily routines (usually carried out morning and night) to help keep your house “company ready” (you can tell its American just from that quote lol) and its damn easy to do. There is a section on the website called Getting Started and that’s where I headed. 31 days of things to do to, you guessed it, to get started on changing your messy habits.

Well it’s been about a month for me and I’m taking it slowly, making sure I am actually doing the previous steps before moving on to the next, to make sure these habits stay. Currently I am on day 10 but I have also cheated and read through some other sections and have added things that aren’t yet mentioned in the daily steps. I’m doing what works for me and that’s fine.

The biggest things that have changed in my house:
* People are now actually allowed to use my toilet and I don’t feel like dying of shame and embarrassment
* The doors to the bedrooms are left open because its not shaming what others would see
* My kitchen is clean and I can actually cook in there
* There are dishes to put said cooking on
* There are clothes to be worn so I no longer need to consider becoming a nudist
* The clothes are actually where they belong, in drawers and wardrobes, and not piled in the study or hiding clean and rumpled in baskets
* I feel good about my surroundings and also myself
* I don’t have panic attacks if someone ‘just drops around’
* I don’t need to rush to the supermarket with all 3 kids in tow so we can have dinner (maybe that was the worst part)
* My sink is so shiny and clean!

All from following some very quick and easy routines and advice, by getting myself a little more organised, and through thinking ahead. I won’t go into huge detail, that’s what all those links above are for, to encourage you to go check it out for yourself, but I will share the 3 big things I have taken from it so far.

1. You can do anything for 2 minutes, or 5, and you DO have those 2-5 minutes even if you think you don’t. (Internal dialogue that helps, in a snarky voice “seriously you don’t have time to just … SERIOUSLY????)

2. It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be done (another internal dialogue and a paraphrasing of a motto from The Flylady, this is actually my biggest helper).

3. Ten minutes of organising myself, thinking ahead,and writing a couple of quick lists, saves me hours of work and trouble.

So go and check out The Flylady, give it a go, then please come back and let me know what you think. For me it’s been life changing and such a positive thing in my life, especially mentally.

Oh and a little tip, unless you like trawling through 30 odd emails a day, most of those testimonials that end up trying to sell you something from the Flylady store, don’t sign up for the emails. You can just as easily go onto the website each day and check The Launch Pad for your reminders and help.

Are there any life changing things you have experienced or stumbled across that you would like to share / recommend to others? And by others I mean me. And by share I mean tell me now and stop being such a life changing hog. Ahem, please 🙂

Living With Pain

Ok so first of all I know I promised today would be the fly lady post and how much she has changed my life (which she has) and I will get to that. But today I woke up and this is the post I need to write today, the most pressing thoughts I am having and the biggest need for me.

There are many different types of pain and it seems that lately I am facing all kinds of pain at the same time. I have had experiences lately that I can only call soul-crushing and emotionally devastating. I have had big choices to make and the pain that goes with those decisions. This pain is something that is personal and something that only I can deal with.

However this is not the type of pain I want to talk about today. For anyone who doesn’t know I have Osteo-arthritis and over the years this has spread from my hips, to my lower back and my knees. It is hard for me to explain to you the type and intensity of pain I experience on a daily basis. It is hard for me to explain what living with chronic pain is like. But I will try.

If you were to ask me what “level” of pain I am experiencing on a daily basis it would be hard to answer. My pain scale is different to someone who does not have arthritis and is different to someone who has rheumatoid arthritis (much worse than mine). Why? Because I am never pain free so to me a level of 3 is normal, a really good day, like nothing is wrong. So I guess you could say my 3 is a pain-free person’s 0. So when you ask me what my level is I will answer based on my own pain scale, not on yours. Today for instance. Today I am at a 7. A 7 for me is bordering on unbearable even with painkillers. If I get to 8 I am unable to function properly and strongly consider asking a doctor for something more. But today’s 7, my 7, is probably closer to someone’s 10. Well as best as I can remember if I felt this way pre-arthritis I would be rolling on the floor in agony. Of course some people may be able to cope with more pain, it is subjective I know, this is just my experience of pain.

When people ask me how I am doing I lie. Well maybe not lie, I just don’t tell them how I really feel. Why? Because after a while, for other people, it gets old. You don’t want me constantly telling you I am in pain. You don’t want to hear how moving hurts and doing just the day-to-day necessary tasks can be close to impossible. You don’t want to hear how getting out of bed can make me want to cry and every step I take is an effort that involves stabbing pain. It’s not that you are a bad friend or unsympathetic, you just don’t get it. I understand. If you were constantly going on about something I would feel the same way. It’s human nature. And so I don’t share what my day-to-day life is like. Because I don’t want to be a whinger, a whiner, a person who has no friends because they are sick of hearing me complain. It’s not a commentary on my friends, they are wonderful people, just a true assessment of how I feel. And anyway, what will that complaining achieve. Nothing. Nada. A big fat zero. Nothing will take the arthritis away. It is here and it is here to stay.

Some days getting out of bed feels like trying to climb Everest. The effort I expend having a shower and getting dressed is exhausting. There are days I have to ask Niamh to put my socks on for me, or help me hook my undies and pants over my feet, because I just can’t do it. There is nothing as shaming and embarrassing as that. It’s not just the pain. Being in that kind of pain is exhausting all on its own without putting in all of that living and caring for others. Some days my joints burn, from the inside, and that’s when I know I’m in trouble. That’s when I know my joints are at their limit and I need to take it easy (as much as possible anyway as babies don’t understand mummy is supposed to be resting). I refuse to let my pain impact on my children. My taking care of myself can not be to the detriment of their health, safety or needs.

What is the worst thing though? It’s actually not the pain (even though it can be debilitating), it’s not the arthritis (although that does suck big time), its not the frustration of not being able to explain how I feel. The worst thing is some of the comments I get. Here’s just a small example of some of the thoughtless things I have heard:

Just take the pain killers / anti inflammatories / something stronger (and I believe the rest being thought is – and just shut up). The short answer, I can’t. I have 3 kids to look after and anything stronger than Panadol really affects me. Who is going to look after my children if I knock myself out, or impair my judgement and ability to focus?

You’ll just have to deal with it and get over it. . This direct quote was actually from a doctor when I was first diagnosed. My sister has sero-negative arthritis with rheumatoid factors and I was experiencing more pain than her. I knew there was something else wrong. After seeing another doctor and getting surgery on the hip I now know a bone spur and torn tendon were to blame.

Maybe if you lost weight it wouldn’t hurt so much. . Yep you are so right, so very right. And yes I don’t always eat the best foods for me but its not a constant junk fest. I’d just like someone to tell me HOW instead of WHAT. It is hard to lose weight when you can’t even walk on a regular basis. This comment hurts not because it is saying you are fat, it’s because it’s saying I choose not to do anything, as opposed to seeing I do what I can, as much as I can, when I can.

You just have a small pain tolerance (then there is usually a comment about how much more pain that person can deal with). You know what. This pisses me off more than anything else. This comment is really saying “You are a wuss and a whinger. It’s only a problem for you. If I was in your shoes I would be fine. It’s not that bad.” Let’s make it perfectly clear. I am not a wuss, I am not a sook, and this fucking hurts. If I am telling you about it it’s actually hurting me more than you could imagine. And just to showcase how tough I am, after both Caesars I was up and walking the next day, three days later you wouldn’t even I know I had just had major surgery. After my knee arthroscope and hip operation I recovered faster than thought, and was doing more than expected a whole lot quicker. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not me!

It’s amazing how unsupportive people can be when you don’t LOOK sick. It’s amazing how unsympathetic people can be towards people who have chronic pain. It’s amazing how little empathy people can have to someone experiencing chronic pain. This is what makes me angry. My arthritis is not going to go away, it’s not going to get better, there is no cure. For me the best I can do is take it as easy as possible on the bad days, and make the most of the good ones.

Now I know this post is sounding very negative, and yes I do tend to have negative thoughts. There are times I have cried and railed about how unfair it all is. How angry I get about the fact that in my early 30’s I have to be careful like someone in their 70’s, 80’s or beyond. But that’s not how I choose to look at my life most days. Most days I am thankful this is all I have to cope with. My arthritis won’t kill me, it doesn’t require constant surgery, I can choose not to take my medications and I will be ok. I am aware that there are other people right now dealing with much worse. People fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses, people who have lost limbs or been severely injured in accidents. Although I can not bring myself to be thankful I have arthritis I am thankful that is all I have. My arthritis has shown me how strong I am, how I can do things even when I think I can’t, that I can overcome something and do so without making a huge fuss over it or need praise for doing it.

The reason I wrote this post today was to bring some understanding to those who are lucky enough not to live with chronic pain or an “invisible illness”. When you look at someone you may not know what they are going through even if its debilitating. There are many of these invisible illnesses that impact on the sufferer’s day to day life without you even being aware of it. Lupus, arthritis, chrohn’s, food intolerances, diabetes, chronic fatigue, and many more. There are people out there suffering and you don’t know because they choose to just get on with life the best they can. So when someone does share with you how they feel, how much pain they are in, how unfair it is, just listen. Listen with empathy. Give sympathy. Don’t point out how lucky they are it’s all they have, or that there are other people worse off. If someone is talking to you about this what they are really saying is I just need someone to be there and understand.

Today I called Hubby at work and he knew it was a bad day from the strain in my voice, the tiredness and resignation. He also knew I just needed to cry and be told to take it easy. That it was ok to put myself first where possible. He’s really good like that and I love him so much more for just knowing.

Do you suffer from an invisible illness or chronic pain? Or do you know somebody who does? Are we whingers and do we need to suck it up or has this post made it more understandable? Tell me what you think 🙂

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20130723-212446.jpgNatural Beauty. Better Invest In A Shot Gun Ready For Those Teenage Years!

20130723-212606.jpgWhat’s That Over There?

20130723-212725.jpgAre You Serious?

Niamh – You are such a beautiful girl inside and out. It is so beautiful watching you interact with your brother and sister. You are so loving towards them and they return that love to you a thousand-fold. They watch your every move and have special smiles just for you. This week has seen the re-emergence of the cocky, smart-mouthed Niamh. I have to admit she’s not my favourite person. I much prefer the Niamh who still has her own mind and is confident enough to share it, but does so without the attitude or being rude to others. It must be hard trying to work out your place in this world.

Harper – We have found our voice and discovered what a varied and interesting instrument it is too. The sounds that you make are so funny to listen to, especially your new going to sleep drone. You have also discovered your hands are great for grabbing onto things you want to explore more closely. It’s amazing to you that you can pull things into your mouth, although fluffy things aren’t that great to eat lol. It’s amazing to ME just how much you are changing and how fast you are growing up.

Declan – Well we have mastered raspberry blowing. St first I had no idea what was going on and was getting quite concerned you were constipated. We had days of ridiculous looking duck faces going on, puffed out cheeks and red faces. Then all of a sudden it all clicked and bbbwwww your first raspberry. And weren’t you so very proud of yourself. The funny thing is, you won’t show off your new talent if you think someone is watching. You wait until our head is turned (although I will admit I pretend not to look and peek anyway) and off you go. Perhaps you think you are being rude you little rebel.

Last week my favourite 28/52 post was of Ruby, Cole, and Eliot over at Milk Please Mum. The absolute joy on Ruby’s face, the big brown eyes of Cole, and Eliot’s look of mischief. I love seeing kids on a farm!

 

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20130723-145141.jpgNiamh Rocking A Fashion Statement In Bed

20130723-145402.jpgHi Mummy, I Love You!

20130723-150525.jpgMy Little Cool Dude

Niamh – Back at Kinder this week and boy did you miss it. In all honesty we both couldn’t wait for you to go back. You were grumpy and kept whinging you wanted to go back. Of course first day back you are all excited,we had to leave early to keep you happy (I’d been holding you off all day lol) and once we were there you were bouncing off the walls. Of course when it was time for mummy to leave the tears started. Such a funny, contrary little girl.

Harper – What a week of growth and changes for you. You have been off your food but I’ve read that’s normal when going through a growth spurt or reaching milestones. You can now roll from your tummy to your back and with a little help can go the other way too. It’s so funny watching you on your back kicking your legs and rolling onto your shoulder and then cracking the sads because you can’t quite get over. You are so vocal now and making so many different sounds and pitches with your voice. It’s amazing how much you have grown and changed in such a small amount of time.

Declan – If Harper is the happy baby then you are most definitely the jolly one. You laugh all of the time, at anything and everything. You have a repertoire of giggles, chuckles, squeals and belly laughs that are just a true delight to hear. At first you would only laugh at your daddy (who can blame you really) and even though he still gets the biggest and best laughs I now also get a look in too. Now if only we could figure your sleeping out we’d be set.

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20130716-115406.jpgNiamh And One Of Her Discoveries

20130716-115505.jpgHarper Learning How To Grip

20130716-115603.jpgDeclan And His How You Going Smile

Niamh– It’s amazing how something small, mundane and insignificant can become something big, exciting and new when you discover it. You are such a curious and clever little girl who delights in discovering the world around you. It’s wonderful to rediscover the world through your eyes.

Harper – You are such a happy little girl. You wake up with a huge grin for your daddy and I, you play with that huge grin plastered to your face, and you go to bed still with that big grin. You are definitely mummy’s girl at the moment but only for feeds. Happy to play with anyone God forbid if anyone bar me gives you a bottle.

Declan – Well hello there Mr Strong-Willed. You know what you do and do not want to do, and when you do and do not want to do it. You’re not a fan of the daytime sleep and like to fight naps even when your eyes are closed from pure exhaustion. I think you are going to be just like your big sister when you grow up!

Three / 52

It’s halfway through the year, and halfway through the 52 Project. Over at Che and Fidel this week there is a special post just for people to post their three favourite photos of each child so far. I love the idea and am definitely in so here they are:

    NIAMH

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It’s been a big year for you my gorgeous, crazy girl. Moving house, starting kinder, and becoming a big sister. We’ve had our ups and downs adjusting to being together all of the dime, and we are still working out how to relate positively. I’ll be honest, four is a hard age for the both of us, but I can see the amazing little girl you are becoming. I have money worries about your readiness for school next year, you really could go now to be honest. You are curious, intelligent and so eager to learn. I love the games we play together and how you try to chest even though you know I am watching you! Its amazing watching you with my iPad andI love the fact your favourite things are the educational games I’ve downloaded for you. I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for you.

    HARPER

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It’s hard to believe that four months ago you were not yet here, not yet a part of our lives. The last three months have seen you grow and change. You are our happy baby. Always waking with a huge smile. So talkative and excited to interact. You love to be held close and kissed all over your face. You have mastered cooing, rolling from your tummy to your back, and can rake things with your hands deliberately. You have just recently discovered your hands and tongue and its hilarious watching you discover them. You will laugh silently when you are ultra happy but the sound eludes you as of yet, and you are trying your hardest to roll from your back to your stomach. As a big sister to Declan you are so protective and are constantly checking to make sure he is OK, or reaching over to hold his hand. You also love your big sister Niamh and watch her wherever she goes. You are a true joy and blessing to our lives.

    DECLAN

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Declan you are such a funny little man already. You have battled through some shocking things already in your first three months of life and its made you a little grumpy, but nobody came blame you. Shocking reflux, allergic reactions on multiple occasions (face swelling, hoarseness, turning red on your face and torso, instantaneous dermatitis on your face), multiple blood tests and a real difficulty to settle and resettle. However you were the first to smile and coo to us, and you are also the first to laugh. And laugh you do, at everything and everyone. Big belly chuckles that are a true delight to hear and behold. You haven’t yet mastered rolling but you can deliberately touch and rake things with your hands. On occasion you have also grabbed hold of things but then get shocked it worked and can’t let go without help. You love to kick in the water and try so very hard to sit up on your own. When propped up on a pillow you can almost get there. It’s been a wonder meeting you and spending the time to get to love you even more, I can’t wait to see what else you will do first.

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This week we escaped to my Dad’s house down at the beach. He lives a quick 5 minute walk to the sand, and an even quicker 3 minute walk to a supermarket and chemist. It was nice to get away and ignore it all for a couple of days!

20130709-163925.jpg Niamh Wave Watching And Thinking About What To Put On Her Sand Face Sculpture

20130709-164246.jpg Harper Laughing At Her Daddy, Such A Funny Man

20130709-164403.jpg Declan Sleeping Peacefully Again. All the Walking In Fresh Sea Air Helps Him Find His Zen

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25/52

I am so far behind, had a really shitty time lately, and week 25 is easily up there as one if the worst weeks of my life. So for the next couple of weeks (the ones I am catching up on) there are just photos, maybe a little description. Sorry I will get myself back into it soon.

20130709-163203.jpg Niamh Baking Up A Storm A-La Masterchef

20130709-163310.jpg Harper Practicing Her Fish Lip Pose Ready For The Selfie Years

20130709-163446.jpgDeclan Sleeping Calmly and Peacefully zin Mummy’s Arms

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