Millie finished school for the summer holidays on Wednesday this week and it’s been a time of reflection and progression. Another academic year over, the prospect of a brand new class and teacher to return to, more advanced topics, extra homework, bigger school jumpers and shiny new shoes. So for the next six weeks at least we’re stocking the freezer with ice cream, partying all night in our pyjamas and doing fun things together as a family before all of the hard work begins.
In these past few days we’ve explored the woods, decorated the house, Millie designed and sourced the materials for her very own Princess dress that we made as a fun little textiles project, we’ve been shopping for treats and drawing lots of pictures and reading stories. It’s pretty much been non-stop since the second she stepped foot out of school, and the days are whizzing past already.
I love it when you get a great kick of motivation to get out there and do everything, and after decorating it’s so lovely to see the house go from chaos to calm once again, the garden is immaculate, the bedrooms don’t so much as have a book out of place and all of the linen is fresh and clean. I have this urge to go through all of the cupboards and clear out plates and boxes, as it’s so refreshing and renewing to open all of the doors and windows on a gloriously sunny day, with the kids splashing around in the paddling pool eating fruit from our trees, music playing and me scrubbing floors and doing DIY.
Next week we’ll be out and about exploring local attractions and learning about the history and culture around us. It’s pretty crazy to think of how many incredible and amazing attractions there are around us that we completely overlook or haven’t yet experienced. It’s always the way though isn’t it, you travel afar to have a day out and drive straight past those most closest to you. And with days out being a military routine of securing a parking space, charging through crowds with a pushchair, spotting on suncream, sourcing ham sandwiches and running after little aversive feet, I’m looking to do one or two things out and about with the children each week. This way they constantly have something special to look forward to, and also time to relax at home and play, as sitting in hot cars and queuing with loads of people on a scorching day can be quite intense for little ones, so I wouldn’t want to overdo it and spoil their enthusiasm and patience. Also going out as a family is pretty expensive, as after paying for tickets, food and drink, the gift shop and petrol you’d be lucky to come home with change from £150.00 after an afternoon out. To put it into perspective if you go out as a family twice a week for six weeks at £150 a time, that’s £900.00. Add to that extra summer holiday treats such as clothes shopping, toys, comics, sweets, ice cream, lunches out, picnics, BBQ’s, parties, sleepovers and anything else that wouldn’t be part of a regular weekly shop and routine, and by the end of the summer holidays, for a family of three, simply staying at home has cost around £2,000.00 if not more. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just eye-opening to put a perspective onto things.
In a couple of weeks it’s my mothers birthday, in few months it will be Millie’s seventh birthday followed by my best friends birthday, parents anniversary, Christmas and mountains of presents, food and extra bills. My TV license always comes out at Christmas and I’m sure the car is due its MOT soon too. I’m normally super prepared for every event months before its due, as I like to source presents well in advance, know what I have to spend and have time to find exactly what I’m looking for. But right now, I’ve literally left everything until the last minute and I’m totally winging it. For a girl who divides up underwear draws and lines up pepper pots, this is most unlike me. Excuse me whilst I twitch.
Gabriele is starting pre-school this October, as he’ll be two and a half years old by then and so my goal for this summer is to get him potty trained and sleeping in his own bed. Yes, I know, I still have him in my bed but it was a kind of relapse after we became a single parent family. Since he was born he always slept in his cot, aside from the odd night when he had a cold or was teething really bad and I’d fall asleep next to him from exhaustion. But as I have a super-king size bed I feel like a little cocktail sausage rolling around on a party platter, I literally couldn’t reach from one side to the other if I tried. I was so used to sleeping alongside my ex fiance, that when I was suddenly on my own I just couldn’t sleep at all. I struggled with insomnia and had this strange feeling inside that I was waiting up for a cat that hadn’t come home, or a child late for a curfew. I just needed somebody next to me to help me to sleep, and that’s completely selfish I know, but I was going through such a painful time and I really just needed my children close to me. Gabriele was a year old then and Millie was five, and as I healed from my breast reconstruction and breaking heart, the children were my only light, showering me with kisses and cuddles and begging to come and sleep next to Mummy, and I was so thankful that they were there. I immediately let them sleep in my bed and from then on we’d watch DVD’s cuddled up together like bears, read stories and hug all night.
Towards the end of last summers school holidays, and realising that Millie would be returning to an early morning routine again in September, Millie went back to sleep in her room, but as Gabriele slept so much better in my bed I never returned him to his cot. And that was over a year ago now. I know I’ve made a rod for my own back, I should never have taken him out of his cot in the first place, but my bed is so big that he now sleeps on one side and I sleep on the other and I’d never know he was there and vice versa. So whilst it’s the summer holidays yet again, I have six weeks to shoehorn him into his bed for the first time, knowing that he will quite possibly resist at first and I’m in this for the long haul. I’d best add some matchsticks for my eyelids on my shopping list.
In preparation for Gabriele’s move into his toddler bed, which was once his cot that grows with him, I have got a few bits and pieces to make the transition a little more enticing. Gabriele loves Peppa Pig almost as much as I love chocolate, so I’ve got him a Peppa Pig duvet set, some pig teddies and his favourite lullaby pull-string next to his bed decorated with fairy lights so that he can soothe himself to sleep. I’m expecting to have to sit on the floor beside him each night until he falls asleep and I can creep away, gradually reducing my time spent perched on his rug until eventually I’m not needed at all. But I’m hoping his first impression of his bed all set up will be really exciting and interesting for him, I really need it to have the wow factor so that he starts off wanting to sleep in his bed. With it being summer it has been a nightmare trying to get him to sleep at his usual bedtime of 7pm as it’s still bright daylight outside and people are going about their day making noise, BBQ’ing in their gardens and playing music, the exact opposite to how it is in winter. As it’s too hot to have the windows closed Gabriele is kept totally wide awake and alert by it all, until everything settles off by about ten or eleven at night and the rest of the world is quiet and calm. So I’ve been considering getting some blackout blinds and fans for the bedrooms so that no matter what time of year it is, bedtime will always be dark and quiet at 7pm. Watch this space!
I am so humbled and in awe of all of the people who join, follow and contact me. I love how my path in life has inspired and motivated so many, giving those in their time of need and dark days a little light to follow and reason to keep going. If I can do it then anybody can. We are all strong and capable people, we have the ability to overcome incredible feats and fallbacks in life, because we have a heart and soul and that allows us to get back up and try again. Pablo Picasso famously said “Everything you can imagine is real.” And that is incredibly true, our very existence, hopes and dreams are nothing short of a miracle, and nothing is impossible in life, because everything you can imagine is real. We have the most amazing opportunity right now to live our lives exactly how we choose, to make every day count and take one step forward at a time that will eventually cover an incredible distance and achievement. So always dream big and make it happen, each and every one of us is entirely unique and priceless to this world.