Sunday, 28 June 2015

Busy Busy Busy

Here are a few highlights from the last couple of weeks:
 
  • Currently, we have no bathroom, as it's been taken out so that we can tile and put the new suite in!  (I am beyond excited about this - I love our house, but the bathroom was the room I loved least!)
  • We've also started to get the living area ready for when our guests start arriving.  We've put up new plasterboard and the walls just need rubbing down for paint now!  I have a million ideas to make the house beautiful and I feel like I've been on hold for 3 months until things have been able to progress.
  • The Littles have a climbing frame/swing and slide type thing as a joint birthday present - which is finally going up this week, in time for the summer holidays.
  • The Chicken House needs a roof putting on so that we can go chicken shopping!  Again, I'm so excited for the chickens to arrive!
  • It was our wedding anniversary last week, so we went for coffee and had a chilled out day together - it was nice to just spend some time together without being really busy and hardly seeing each other!
  • Hub's business is taking off - he's getting new enquiries each week and actually has a full workshop as I type this!  I'm so proud of him for getting out there on his own and making something from nothing.  He's put a load of work into his workshop and getting the place looking professional.
So yes, quite busy!
 
We have less than 5 weeks until our first visitors arrive ... and I can't wait to see my plans for the house finally start to become reality!  My Pinterest boards are exploding with new ideas and expansion on original ideas from months ago!  I just need to find the perfect kitchen (that doesn't cost the earth) and we're sorted!
 
Once things begin to take shape, I shall post some photos.
 
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Thursday, 11 June 2015

#MyExpatFamily - Homesick

 
I thought when I moved to France I'd find things easy enough.  I obviously knew that by coming here with my Husband's family (who speak no French) - there would be times where I'd have to struggle to be understood, trying to explain someone else's problem to a doctor/vet/shop assistant; but on the whole, I expected to find this an easy transition.
 
I prepared by learning language basics as well as some of the more situation specific stuff that I knew I'd need to know.  I also looked into self employment, Fosse (septic tank - the joys of Rural France!) regulations and the do's and don'ts of introducing ourselves at the local Mayor's Office.
 
The thing I didn't prepare for, was yesterday.  Yesterday was kind of a bad day for me.  It started when I hit my elbow on our drawers in the bedroom.  Not a big deal really and something I do a hundred times a year - but this hurt (still hurts) to the point that I couldn't really move my arm too much without my hand feeling numb.  The fact that we still aren't in the healthcare system is part of the reason I'm not at the doctors right now (I mean, I'm sure it's not broken ...!)
 
The next thing was that it rained a lot, meaning that being a Wednesday, I had to entertain the children all afternoon in the house while Hubs worked.  Again, not a problem usually.
 
Then during the course of the morning, I had to speak to a lady from the Chambre de Metiers about the SPI course we have to do to start up a business here in France.  In French.  About policies and procedures.  And legal obligations.  In French.  Turns out the Father in Law and I don't have to do the course (I do however have to go with Hubs as a translator - Free of charge, bonus.)  Not too much of an issue, but the amount of times I had to ask her to slow down for me to understand.  Not my favourite thing when I pride myself in not being too much of an incompetent idiot.
 
Then, I hear a certain family member speaking to her farrier about the course that 'we're' trying to organise so that 'we' can set up as a business.  So he tells her that 'we' don't have to do the course because he didn't have to and someone he knows didn't have to.  So I had to explain again why I'm organising the course - because French Legislation has changed this year and it's mandatory now (although I don't know why it's not mandatory for FIL and myself!)
 
Some days I feel like I've sacrificed a lot to be here.  Aside from the infinite gains we're getting out of this experience; I have left people behind.  Support that I really relied on without being aware of it at the time. 
 
I used to think I was pretty self-sufficient emotionally.  I like to keep things reasonably self contained, I'm not one for tears really.  I've had to lean on Hubs more than usual lately and I think that the reason is becoming clear.  I am used to doing things for other people; but lately, my load has increased instead of getting lighter - and the support I had in England is further away.  Not only that, gratitude isn't exactly forthcoming from anyone other than Hubs - and I find that a bitter pill to swallow when I'm putting so much of myself into getting everyone sorted here.
 
I thing I might be feeling a bit homesick ...
 
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Linking up with Chantelle at Seychelles Mama

Seychelles Mama

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Me and My Boy - Part One

The second N was born, he was trouble.

 
I say that so often and it's true - in the very best and the very worst ways.  We had a horrendous time getting him here safely.  After a 44 hour labour (without drugs - voluntarily at first, then it was just too late to intervene) he decided that he wasn't leaving his cosy little world.  His right shoulder became impacted on my pubic bone (Shoulder Dystocia), meaning that his head was born a while before the rest of him.  When he came out, we thought we'd lost him before we'd even got to look into his little face. 
 
He took 20 minutes of resuscitation to recover. 
 
20 minutes to breathe by himself.
 
20 minutes before we heard his tiny, feeble cry and knew he was still with us.
 
His cry was about all that was tiny about him though!  He was 9lb 11oz of complete gorgeousness.  I saw him for about 2 minutes before they took me away to stop my bleeding and repair the damage caused from his birth.
 
I was in surgery and away from him for almost 2 hours.  The midwife who had been down to the ward to check on N and Hubs told me that they were both just staring into each other's eyes.  I needed to hear that right then - that both of my boys were ok.
 
The following 16 months were good - N developed into an amazing little boy with a killer personality and a smile that lit up any room he was in. 
 
We almost lost him again - Saturday 1st October 2011.  I was co-sleeping with N at the time and Hubs had left for work at 7.30am.  I laid in bed just watching our little man breathing for a while.  I noticed he was breathing quite slowly and deeply, but he had an ear infection and had started taking antibiotics and ibuprofen for the first time the night before (here's an interesting article that I've debated with many a medical professional since) - I figured it was a combination of those things.  I texted some friends I was supposed to be meeting for dinner that evening and decided that we'd make a start on our day.
 
I did the usual tickling toes to wake him up gig - but he wouldn't stir.  So I picked him up.  He let out the most terrifying sound ever - he was in so much pain that I couldn't even change his nappy that morning.  I carried him downstairs while trying to call Hubs for some moral support while I sussed out what was going on with our little man - no answer.  I put N on the sofa and began to take off his vest - he wouldn't let me lift his legs to get to the poppers, so I started from the shoulders.
 
And I saw it.
 
I knew straight away it was meningitis.  I didn't need to test the rash with a glass - I knew.  We lived a one and a half minute drive from the nearest hospital - so I chucked him in the car and somehow I was at the hospital, calling my mum to get Hubs to meet me there.  I don't know how anyone understood me.  I remember running through the hospital, tears streaming - N still unconscious at this point (and would be for another 36 hours.)
 
It was Saturday out of hours clinic - and the doctor said I needed to take him home and give Calpol.  Well, that's not happening - clearly.  I sat in the waiting room until Hubs arrived (about 5 minutes.)  I pulled N's top down to show Hubs the rash and it had spread all over his chest in those minutes since seeing the doctor.  We were rushed back into the doctor's room, N was given an injection and we were rushed to the nearest A & E in an ambulance.
 
There is nothing worse as a parent that I have had to do than to hold my 16 month old son still while doctors tried repeatedly to get an IV into his vein.  It was horrifying.
 
After a while, he started to respond to the treatments and luckily, he was fine. 
 
One thing I learned from the whole thing, is that a mother's instinct is something that should never be ignored.
 
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Monday, 25 May 2015

Reflecting on Parenthood

I mentioned in my last post that I tend to do a lot of reflecting around the children's birthdays.  Looking at them now, they seem to have grown up loads in the short time since we've been here in France.  N's confidence is growing so much, he's settling into his new school, learning a new language - so many new things.
 
A is the same.  With her, it's the little things as well as the big that I want to remember.  Things like before we moved here, she wouldn't let us put her hair up (or even brush it) and now - it's always up in a pretty plait, bunches or a ponytail.  She is learning new words daily - her lisp that we thought she had isn't as prominent now.  She's so affectionate and tuned in to everyone around her; patting people's backs if they cough, bless you's when people sneeze - she has the sweetest pleases and thank-yous.  I don't ever want to forget how she is right now.
 
But you do, don't you?
 
As time moves forward, you forget how little they were, how they sounded.  The things they said.  I found a video of N at age 2 singing his ABCs - sadly it's on my personal Facebook page and I can't figure out how to save the video to share it with you.  But he is adorable.  His voice is so different now.  Not as 'baby'.
 
It makes me think about how A will be in 3 years time when she is almost 5.  How will she be different?  How will she be the same?
 
I constantly battle with myself, I want them to stay little and exactly how they are, but I'm also excited to see how they grow.  Who they'll become.
 
We've decided that we're keeping to two children - my body doesn't lend itself well to childbirth, unfortunately.  But seeing how quickly my Littles are turning into Bigs makes me sad for the fact that no longer will there be baby days, quiet times when naps are taken and I can just sit and watch them sleep.  No more first steps or first words - even first words in a second language have been spoken!
 
I know there are many firsts to come - and you can never say never, baby number 3 could be in our future.  If not though, I'm truly thankful for the two that we are blessed with.
 
One Of My Favourites of Our Littles, A - 3 Weeks Old, N - 3 Years 1 Month
 
 
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Looking Back and Looking Forward #MummyMonday

I've decided to join in with some Linkys - something I've not really done too much of before.  I think this might even be the first one - so please be gentle!
 
Around this time of year, I find myself reflecting a lot on when the children were littler and how much they have changed in the last year.  In June of last year, we were just buying the house here in France, A took her first steps while we were here, visiting the new house,.  N was about to start school for the first time (in September).
 
N and A - June 2014
Things have changed dramatically for us as a family since then.  We moved out here in March, N started school here in April and A has started speaking properly (in English and has begun learning French!)
 
As a family, we've been through the mill a bit since the children came along.  We've gained two beautiful children, but lost three grandparents between us.  When we were trying for N, Hub's granddad passed away - N's middle name was given in memory of him.  When N was almost 2, Hub's grandmother was hospitalised for a month and then sadly died.  When we'd just found out that A was on her way, my nan passed - A's middle name is for her.  Most of our good times have been tainted with bad. 
 
The move to France came about because of issues back in the UK - which were impacting on us all.  When it comes to our family, sometimes if it wasn't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all. 
 
We're pretty much settled in now and everyone is happier.  I look at the gift we've given the children - so much space to run and play, the opportunity to learn their own limitations in wide open spaces, access to a great education the isn't going to be hampered by political correctness and an over subscription of classroom space.  The ability to be children for a good while longer.  These things make me sure that we've made the right decision in coming here.
 
Change to me was always something to be made tiny piece by tiny piece, making sure it was okay before taking a leap.  Now we have made the biggest change, have jumped into this new life with both feet and we aren't looking back.
 
N and A - May 2015
Sometimes, you have to Jump.

The Multitasking Mummy
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Saturday, 23 May 2015

"Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams ...

And Live the Life You've Imagined."
 
This is the quote written on a canvas print above our bed.  I bought it before we moved because it said a lot to me about the decisions we'd made in the months prior.  We decided that we wanted to sell up, sell the business and move our entire family across the Channel and into France.  For Ever.
 
The life I imagined was full of care free days with the children, blissful moments spent in the sunshine and no stresses to face.
 
 
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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Young Living Oils

Hi Guys
 
I mentioned in my last post about N and the reasons why we'd begun looking into Essential Oils and how they could benefit our family.  Yesterday, I received my Young Living Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit and I have to say, I am already in love!
 
The first thing I did (after opening all of the bottles and smelling them all, of course) was to diffuse Lavender and the Peace & Calm blend - it was getting on for the 'Witching Hour' in our house.  You know, the time when the children turn into little hyperactive monsters because they could really do with sleeping!?  I diffused throughout the afternoon, and into the evening.  We had the diffuser running in the hallway outside the children's bedrooms during our bedtime routine.  I'm calling our initial usage a win - A was asleep in 20 minutes (which is usual for her), but N was asleep in a record 45 minutes.  Usually he takes up to (and sometimes beyond) 1.5 hours before finally giving in to sleep.  Things were chilled, we were calmer and it showed - not only did the children sleep earlier, but I feel they slept better too - N was super happy upon waking this morning. 
 
I'm aware that you can't base a judgement on one try, so watch this space as we bring more essential oils into our day-to-day lives - you can guarantee that I'll be blogging about this more! 
 
N has Wednesday afternoons off of school (as is the way here in France) and usually by this time (3pm) we're all balls of stress!  Hubs and I have started to use the Stress Away blend - I'm finding that I can let a lot more noise and whinging wash over me.  The other thing that's happening is I'm diffusing the same mix as I did last night at bedtime.  There have been a couple of arguments over Lego, mostly because a lot of the Lego is built into models and there are a limited supply of bricks (until the birthday gifts are opened in a fortnight) - but the general mood is better than any other Wednesday so far!  No-one is feeling particularly stressed.
 
We're just beginning our journey with Essential Oils, but I'd love to give you guys the opportunity to experience them for yourself - with a 24% discount.  You can get this discount really easily by signing up as a Wholesale Member here on the Young Living website.  The Sponsor ID and Enroller ID should already be pre-filled for you (if not, type 2889002 in both boxes) and you'll need to fill out your own details in the blank fields (ensure that the Wholesale Member option is highlighted - this will allow you to benefit from 24% discount on all purchases).  Then you can just go ahead and chose your starter pack - I started off with the Premium Starter Kit, which is valued at over $300 - but only $150 for wholesale members!  It's a great kit which includes 
 
  • Everyday Oils Collection - 10 5ml bottles of oils and oil blends
  • Home Diffuser
  • Sample Oils
  • 2 Sample Sachets of NingXia
  • Loads of Literature to get you started
  • Lifetime Wholesale Membership
If you don't fancy signing up to a Wholesale Membership and just want to order oils at retail prices, you can click on the Young Living tab at the top of the page (or follow this link)
 
I'm excited about experimenting with the different oils and incorporating them into our daily lives.  I might be getting a bit engrossed in my Pinterest account again!!
 
Do you already use Essential Oils?  Do you have any tips for someone just starting out?  Let me know in the Comments Section 
 
Happy Wednesday 
 
 
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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Moving In and Trying New Things

Hey Guys.
 
I've been a little neglectful of my little corner of the internet.  I'm sorry.  I've got loads to tell you though!
 
We moved into our house back in March!  It's fantastic.  It needs decorating, walls need knocking down and the roof may need a bit of attention.  But it's ours and we're finally living here!!
 
A is coming on in leaps and bounds - she said her first words in French this week.  (Au-Revoir and Merci!)  We attempted big girl pants today - but we're going to give it a couple of weeks until we try again - she knows what she's doing and when it's happening; she needs to grasp where it should be done now.  We had lots of tries on the potty, and a couple of tiddles in her pants after she'd pulled them back up.  But for the first try - she spent the morning in pants, dry and so proud of herself!
 
N is in school.  He started last month, and so far he's doing ok.  I knew it'd be different and he's going to have a steep learning curve actually needing to learn the language and use it simultaneously, but he's being positive and goes into school happily each day. 
 
We are having some issues at home with behaviour, N is struggling with negative emotions and ways to express those.  Also there are some bedtime issues linked to his need to know everything we're doing as well as him being a bit hyperactive (which is usual for him) just around the time when we're thinking about bedtime.
 
In light of these struggles, I've been looking into ways to calm him and ease any anxieties he has regarding bedtimes, and also trying to focus him into an activity where he can release any pent up energy (that he isn't able to release in his new massive back garden or around the property!)
 
He's started Judo after school on a Friday, which he enjoyed (his first session was yesterday.)  At bedtime this evening, he said that he didn't like us going outside after he'd gone to sleep as he was worried where we'd be - to clarify, we sit outside the back door on the patio, watching the sun set - we aren't wandering off for miles!  So I think he has the fear that something is going to happen while he is asleep, that or he's missing out on fun.  I assured him this evening that we were staying close by - and voila! asleep within 5 minutes.
 
With his hyperactivity in mind, I started doing research into Essential Oils (which I had been hearing a great deal about over at Jessica's Blog - at www.mycoffeeiscold.com)  Jessica is an amazing mother to two gorgeous boys - and I can't remember a time when I wasn't checking her blog for updates (we're talking pre-children!)  They've faced some difficult times and as a family, they've really had to rethink some of the ways they do things to help their eldest son, who has Autism.  One of the more recent things that has happened, is that they've introduced Essential Oils into their day-to-day lives.  There have been a few posts that I've sat back after reading them and thought about N and some of the struggles he faces with regards to dealing with emotions, aggression and hyperactivity (I know some days I could use a way to unwind also!)  So we've decided that we're going to give Essential Oils a go in hope that we can create a healthier, happier environment for our family.
 
If you'd like to find out more about Essential Oils, you should definitely check out Jessica's blog - or even if you don't care for Essential Oils - you should check it out anyway! 
 
Wow - so that was a bit of a tangent post!  I'll post more about the move and will do a photo post very soon.
 
Much Love
 
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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Changing Things Up A Bit ...

I've blogged before about not being the best at following through with correction of bad behaviours with N.  I'm at a point at the moment that I need to change tac from correcting bad behaviour, to praising and rewarding good.
 
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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

When People Tell You That Moving House Is Stressful ...

... Guess what?  They aren't lying!
 
It's not the actual moving that is stressing me out, I can't wait to get going.  It feels like it's been forever in the making, our family is so ready to make this move.
 
No.  It's the arse kicking that needs to happen to get people moving as fast as we'd like.  I hate the feeling of being unable to do anything.  The feeling that someone else is responsible for the biggest change we've made to our lives since having children is a truly awful one.  I am a very pro-active person (I think I even heard my Solicitor roll her eyes when I called her for the third consecutive day regarding THE SAME ISSUE.)  -I am a paying client, surely when asked to converse with the other side regarding the completion of our transaction, that should be done quicker than 72 hours after the initial question was asked, non?

Still, it's been done now.  We are anticipating an exchange of contracts to happen next week; and a completion date of 2 weeks on Friday.

Guys, I cannot tell you how excited this makes me.  I'm already booking movers and planning everything down to the last detail.  It's not too soon to be planning white goods purchases already, is it?

It was almost a bit anti-climactic when I got an actual answer yesterday though.  After all of the phonecalls, emails and chasing I've been doing to get this house these houses* gone - I had an answer, The Husband questioned why I wasn't bouncing off the walls with excitement.  In truth, it's only hitting me now - 24 hours later, that we're actually about to do this thing for real!

In other news, N is off on a school trip next week, on a coach, to London.  I am terrified.  I can't imagine my tiny little man, in a massive city ... without me.  Of course all of the PTA mums got places on the trip before it was even announced to us lesser mortals - so when I volunteered, there were no spaces. 

If you follow me on Twitter - you'd have seen this today

 
 ... we are dutifully practising our French.  I am a massive fan of Frozen (read any Disney movie ever made) and I couldn't resist buying the DVD in French (it has English too) - A seemed more excited by it this time, coincidentally probably, but I'm telling myself it's because she really likes French(!)
 
I've done a lot of prep with the children in readiness for the move.  N has done lots of French with tuition at the academy, as well as in class at nursery last year.  I took a 20 hour course, so when N asks me what words are in French, I can mostly help him out.  A and I listen to French nursery rhymes and she's started waving Hello/Goodbye when she hears Bonjour/Au Revoir which I find so exciting.  It's going to be a journey raising my babies to be bi-lingual.
 
A journey that I cannot wait to embark upon.
 
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*When I say house - I mean houses, I'm also the primary contact for my In-Law's transaction which has been a Royal PainInTheArse as well.