A Glimpse of Another Day pt2

Ethan and Axel were watching Finding Nemo. Emma had gotten off the phone and I had just set up my ironing station. Darn these wet towels. Darn that rain yesterday and darn on me for not noticing the rain until it was too late. This country is not exactly hot. Or clever. In all my years of living here, not one place has had a dryer. I have come to see it as, rich people have dryers. We aren’t rich. What makes a person rich? A dryer.

“So what did they say?” I, the nosy big sister, asked as she sat down next to Ethan and gave him a cuddle. Why was she half pretending no phone call happened? Why did I have to instigate this conversation. She used my phone so I should know. She was irritatingly calm.

“How come you don’t hang the towels outside?” She asked as Ethan offered her his bottle of juice. She shook her head no with a giggle.

“This morning, I put in another load of laundry not realising the towels were still this damp. There is no more room on the line outside and I need those clothes to dry too.” Such complications. It’s just laundry. And yet I felt myself increasingly frazzled. I reached for the chocolate chip cookies. Ethan heard the rustling wrapper and ran to me. I offered him one, but he shook his head no and ran back to Emma’s lap with his bottle. Those are the moments where I honestly do not understand my kid.

“They misunderstood my application. They missed the part where I said I am not a Swedish citizen anymore, which is why I am applying for the work permit. The lady said to go ahead and keep working and reapply.” She continued to sit cross legged on the floor in her new tight jeans.

“Dory! Shark!” Ethan had the bottle in between his teeth as he spoke. He needed to point out these beloved characters so that I could reply with, “Yes Ethan! Dory! Shark!” I turned my attention back to Emma.

“So we over-reacted yesterday huh? I panicked. I even looked at flights and everything for you. I sent mom a crazy email. I’ll have to remember to tell her to ignore it as it is all irrelevant now.” Wet towels do not dry with an iron. I had hoped they would, kind of like how girls can dry their hair with a straightener. I grew irritated. Over wet towels.

“I panicked too. But I pretend nothing happened.” She shrugged her shoulders. Still so calm. But I loved this quality about her. She helps me relax.

“Oh not me. My mind races immediately and I come up with options. Choices. Looking for the most attractive solution, like a new adventure. Where have I always wanted to go?…Where do you want to go Emma? If you could choose anywhere in the world?” I turned the iron off but stood by until it cooled so I could put it away. Danger zone for a curious toddler. If nothing held me back, I would choose several countries and live there six months at a time. For the experience and the food. I’d start by going back to Sweden. Then Greece. To eat another gyro by the beach would be awesome. Or drive past a watermelon vendor. With my handyman husband maybe we could finish building one of many abandoned half built houses somewhere. And I’d be tan. I can’t remember the last time I had one.

“I don’t think like that. I am where I want to be. With mom. That’s all.” Ethan had left her lap and begun climbing the couch. She came and sat at the table with me. Eyes down. My little sister all grown up. Making big adult decisions. I remember the night she was born. I was eight years old and loved babies. Little Emma has a life of her own. Flashbacks came to mind like a collage of memories. I used to dress her up as a princess and used my fancy pearl necklace as her crown. Sunday mornings we curled our hair and she loved walking around in my fur collared coat. She inherited my ‘first day of school’ outfit from the tenth grade and wore it to her first day of school in the second grade. We’ve shared clothes for a long time. Gosh I love my sister. So many wonderful memories. And today would be another one.

“Immigration is so complicated. Remember my big thing with May 13th? I got it all wrong. But then sometimes I think, maybe I stopped sweating over details because I officially moved on with my life? Who knows. Hmmm.Well, the sun finally woke up. It is looking to be a better day, let’s take the kids outside.” Me in my pyjamas. The kids in theirs. Oh well. We went out to the backyard for a little while and let Ethan have the time of his life in the big crunchy fallen leaves. Axel was quite content sitting in the sling. I held Axel in the direction of Ethan so he could watch his brother. The neighbours are used to seeing me in pyjamas. They might label me as “lazy”, but I know it is more a matter of sleep deprivation and not giving a hoot. Who knows what people really think. Maybe they’re in their pyjamas. I should stop thinking so defensively. Why do I always feel like I am being judged? I will pick that apart later. Thanks UEL for teaching me how to analyse so I don’t need therapy.

“I need to get going. I got work at noon. Come on Ethan! Hold Aunty Em’s hand!” My heart sank. I loved visits from Emma. We always have such a good time. Ethan refused. He loved playing outside. Everything outside was exciting. The spiderwebs in the tree. The mushrooms that grew randomly. The airplanes in the sky. The laundry that hung.

“Ethan! Mommy is going to have a bowl of cookie crisp. Inside.” We walked to the backdoor and Emma reached in for her bag. Ethan came running, little cookie monster.

“Bye bye Emma!” I said waving enthusiastically. Ethan did not join in. I took his boots off and he climbed up onto the barstool.

“Thanks for letting me come by and sort things out. When I get my work permit maybe I will feel as free as you did when you got your visa. I’m jealous you are going home for Christmas.” She gave me a hug and waved bye to Ethan and Axel. I slid the door closed and turned the lock. I watched her as she turned the corner and was no longer in my sight. Then Ethan came running to the door, looked outside, waved and said happily, “Bye bye Emma! Bye bye Emma!”

We hadn’t had lunch yet. This was going to be a long day. I could feel it.

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Beating Winter Depression… with Baking

My goal is not to be depressed this winter. It may be inevitable that I have my bouts of sadness but I must press forward, get over it, and start again.

I only have two kids. A two year old and an almost five month old. Two grumpies does my head in and I tend to head to the kitchen for comfort.

Comfort food. All the way. Of course it cheers me up! I need something now. Not complicated recipes. Easy ones. Decently quick. Ethan can help stir.

I reckon a baked good from my kitchen is better than a snickers bar from the store. I control how much margarine and sugar goes into it and I can add healthy extras.

Here are three goodies I am hoping to execute this weekend. I want it all to be mine! The boys can have the carrot muffins I made this afternoon…

Donut Cupcakes.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE donuts.

This seems to be a good alternative to frying. Recipe and photo credit found here.

Mini Pumpkin Pies.

(photo via)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE pumpkin pie!

Made in a muffin pan, I will follow the pumpkin filling recipe that is on the can.

For the pie dough, I always do 125g margarine,  1TBS white sugar, 3dl flour and 3TBS water. Maybe a dash of cinnamon for fun.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.

(photo via)

I NEED NEED NEED chocolate. A lot of it. Addict? Maybe.

I have never made double chocolate cookies before. To be honest, I have not made cookies in a very long time. Tesco does good ones. But I ran out. Recipe I am attempting found here.

Okay, three recipes might be a bit over-ambitious but these delicious morsels are in my near future. If these turn out as fabulous as I dream they will be, I will post recipes onto my other (housewife) blog: www.mycherryavenue.blogspot.com

It is another beautiful autumn day. Me and the boys are heading out for a walk. A deep breath of fresh air also instantly calms frayed nerves. Have a lovely weekend! x

Exercising With My Kids

I am not exercising in this picture but I liked it. Holding kids hurt your arms after a while!

I’m not slim. I know I’m not. I saw a full body picture of myself. I forgive myself for the time being. BUT. You’d think I’d have an athlete’s body with all that I do with two boys but nope! I’m THIS big.  I reckon it is because I am supposed to be squishy and cozy for my kids to cuddle with and fall asleep on. I’m okay with that!

I still try. With my diastasis recti, I have my daily stomach exercises that the physiotherapist gave me to do. Takes about 15 minutes. I am and have always been a firm believer that eating healthy and exercising equals a fit lean body. With this DR, it limits what exercise I have been able to do. However, playing with my kids is a great way to increase activity while having fun and bonding with them.

I am not here to talk about eating healthy. Currently, I could be classified as a sugar addict. Found a recipe for donut muffins the other day- yum! But I love playing with my kids! This is what I do:

50 jumping jacks. Ethan finds it hilarious and we both end up laughing our heads off.

5 min of dancing to an Oldies classic.

10 min of playing chase. I am always out of breath with this one because we are laughing or screaming too!

 Arm lifts. I hold Axel and lift him up and down. Works entire arm, especially triceps. Do as many as you can handle. I love that burn.

Some bicep curls. I only get to do a few before Ethan wiggles out of my arms.

Calf raises. As simple as bouncing Ethan on my knee.

Leg curls. AKA a flying Ethan! He lays on my legs and I lift him up and down. Works my quads.

45 min walk outside. Not a leisurely stroll. I walk fast and sweat. I push my double pram up hills. I also try to walk with good posture, shoulders back, chin up. I aim for this everyday. Unless it’s too cold for Axel. Which I try to make up for by playing chase again.

I have not seen any noticeable results. I do not expect to see any until after I have weaned Axel. I know my efforts are still good for my body and soul.

(Note to reader: None of this has been officially approved by any Dr or health staff, I’m just a mom trying to stay as active as possible.)

Beating Winter Depression…. by Participating in the Season

Running so fast he's a blur!

Dreary mornings make it difficult to feel motivated. Even giving up my pyjamas and getting dressed. But. I am determined to win this internal battle and conquer by being happy and grateful. Another way I am beating depression is by participating in the season. Something I have actually not done before! For the past eight years or so, before kids, I worked on holidays. No time or budget for seasonal decor and no motivation for the seasonal fun. What a droop I was!

I now have a theory that with kids around, I will never be depressed again. They bring me so much joy!

Here is what we have done to beat the gloom:

We went outside to kick and crunch the fallen leaves.

I added a dash of nutmeg with the cinnamon to my apple crumble.

Ethan is wearing his spider teeshirt and I put on my red teeshirt dress (Friday night is also date night!)

Making something crafty always cheers me up, no matter how lame it is! And magnets are quick.

And of course a daily dose of my childrens’ laughter. xx

A Glimpse of Another Day pt1

It is never too early in the day to play with photobooth!

It is now just past 8pm, but my day started at about 4am as usual. Axel stirred in his crib, Ethan whined for his milk, the husband rolled over and muttered “sorry honey, I love you”. Only the kitchen light was on. The humming of the refrigerator seemed very loud during these early mornings. The formula powder and bottle were ready on the counter. I tried to open my eyes wide and not trip over my own feet. I was just up an hour ago! After I nursed Axel again and gave Ethan his bottle, I laid down on Ethan’s bed and waited for him to finish drinking. I should have a blanket for myself nearby, note to self. Ethan looked around the room, then at me. Rubbed his eyes and with the bottle teat still in his mouth he said “hug”. I sat up and placed his sleepy body in my lap. “Ethan, it’s night night time. Mommy’s tired. Mommy night night. Daddy night night. Axel night night. Ethan night night. Okay? Mommy’s tired.” I put him back by his pillow and laid down with my eyes closed. Sometimes I fall asleep and stay with him several hours. Sometimes I cannot go back to sleep. Sometimes he cannot go back to sleep and we both end up watching Kung Fu Panda three times before the husband gets up for work. This time, luckily, he fell back asleep and I was able to go back to my own bed. I love my bed. The duvet pushed over inviting me to return to its warmth. I hug my pillow and let my feet rest on the husbands legs. Sleep. I’m so tired.

 Two hours later. Two hours? Wow I felt awake. I slept two hours straight. It was a deep sleep, I dreamed something about Leo getting his car fixed at a garage located inside the London underground. He stood on a balcony outside that garage looking down at me as I stood in our old gravel driveway in Hartville. As always, there was a Sainsbury’s nearby. In real life, I rarely shop there. We are a Tesco family. Anyhow, I got up and did the morning routine. Nappy changes for the boys, breakfast for me and Ethan, morning TV for the boys while I did the dishes and put in a load of laundry. I then wait for Axel to have his morning poop and nap. Motherhood. There are days where my entire day is revolved around their bowel movements. From Ethan needing comfort and encouragement from being constipated and whining to Axel making a big heap of mess creating more laundry. Who would have known? The moms who did know, never told me! I picked up Axel from his bouncy chair, an instant smile lit up his face. He seems to have this unspeakable unconditional love for me. He smiles at the sound of my voice, or the touch of a tickle, and even more so when we look into each other’s eyes and coo at one another. He may only be a few months old, but I feel he has his “baby way” of letting me know he loves me. And my heart melts. “Look Ethan, it’s Axel! Axel, there’s big brother Ethan! Hi! Good morning!” Ethan’s attention turned to us. “Ax-hole!” he exclaimed happily. The two brothers look at each other. Ethan hugged him, then pointed out his hair, head, ears, nose, cheeks, chin, arms, hands, feet, mouth, and eyes to me. Then he pointed out all the same body parts on himself. “What a relief it is all there eh Ethan? Oh! Show Axel your dinosaurs!” He ran to find the best ones. One in each hand and always a T Rex in one of them. He showed Axel what they can do. “Biting. Fighting. Hug. Kisses.” He then placed the dinosaur’s head on his own mouth and said “kisses.” What a lovely T Rex he has. It was going on 9 o’clock and we were all still in our pyjamas. What would be the point of getting dressed? Do I get dressed so I can hang laundry outside just in case the neighbours see me? Nah, I really don’t care about that. Do I get dressed in case someone visits me? Nah, only Emma pops in and she is my sister so again I don’t care. I’ll get dressed because it will motivate me to do more than I would if I were to stay in pyjamas all day. But I’m tired. Exhausted. My eyes refused to stay open. Axel went down for his morning nap and today, so did I. Ethan got to watch Kung Fu Panda again. Well, he had to, it hasn’t left the DVD player for two days.

My sister called. “Can I come over? I just need to make a phone call and sort out this visa application. These people are idiots.” I was still in bed, in my pyjamas, but awake enough that I considered myself “safe”. Let me explain. One night when Ethan was about six months old, I was so exhausted and delirious that I almost dropped him. An experience like that just does something to ya. Ever since, I decided it is better for the kids to complain in their cribs and I catch a nap than for me to be THAT tired. “Sure, when?” “I’ll be on the 10:28 bus.” “Okay, see you then.” I put the phone down on the bed. Ethan had come in and stood waiting for me. I pulled him next to me with a great big cuddle. There are moments I miss sharing a bed with my Ethan. I don’t mind his kicks, his sweaty hair or his whistling nose. I just love my babies next to me.

I loved waking up next my Ethan

An hour later Emma tapped on our back door. Outside looked like it fit every stereotype about England. Cloudy, wet air, grayish and depressing. Her shoes were wet and muddy. But her smile lit up the atmosphere in the apartment. “I won’t be long. I have to start work at 12:30.” “No worries, do what you gotta do.” I busied myself wiping the condensation from all the windows. I had one ear keeping track of what the kids were doing, and the other ear tuned into eavesdropping. I wanted to know what went wrong with her application, what was going to happen next and if I could help or offer my endless wisdom to my innocent little sister. I caught a few key words. The rest got muffled with Axel’s cries and Cbeebies. My mind raced with several ideas of what my sister could do with her life. Where she could go. Options she would not be able to come up with if it were not for me. I feel responsible for her. Even though she is 23. But it’s her life to decide, not mine. Sometimes it is difficult to step aside and not intervene. Big sisters always know best, right? I then flashback over my life the past ten years. There was no way I could have made sense of any of it at the present time it happened, only now looking back do I see why things had to be as they were. And the only thing that kept me from falling was my faith that everything happened for a reason. I may not know the reason, but there is a reason and even if I don’t know what it is, God does. I trust Him the most.

It is long past 8pm as I first mentioned at the beginning, it is 9:08pm. I’m tired. A repetitive statement of mine since becoming a mother. This day shall be written about, just not yet. I long to be in my pyjamas again and my bed looks ever so inviting. Each night when I go to bed I always hope to catch a few hours sleep before the disruptions begin. It has happened on many occasions that the very moment I make myself comfortable, and completely relaxed and ready for a dream that awaits me, one of those boys scream for me! The kind that cannot be ignored. The type of crying where I know I better jump up right now before it becomes an unbearable sound I label as ‘noise pollution’. Too much of it straight into my ear and I battle my own temper tantrum! Yes, I am tired. I’ll tell you about the rest of my day next time, it got much better and more interesting….

hmmmmm

Beating Winter Depression…With Strawberries

Winter depression comes every year. In high school my grades dropped significantly. The dark winters in Sweden left me aching for sunshine. In the past few years here in England, I have spent two winters pregnant with HG. I am determined to beat winter depression. I am promising myself to focus on all things good, count my blessings and overcome the sadness that has so often ensnared me.

In order to do this, I have been inspired to do as my darling Elena has also set out to do, make a plan! Find hers on her lovely blog, catching confetti.

Taking on board this genius idea of hers, I have made a plan for myself. I will LOOK at all things beautiful, I will LISTEN to all things uplifting and I will WRITE about all things good in my life.

Whenever I start to feel down, I am often immediately met by guilt. Guilty that I am low when I have so much to be happy and grateful for.

Besides all the other good things I love about my life at the moment, today I am thinking about strawberries. They are cheerful, beautiful, refreshing and sweet.

I am reminded of the time my friend and I sat on the side of a road in Greece and ate a punnet of strawberries. Good times.

This is quite the inspiration and a must-do craft at some point this winter! Strawberry painted rock magnets!

I absolutely adore mason jars. Mason jar + strawberries + plaid = perfection!

(all photos via pinterest)

This winter is the first of many where happiness will conquer depression. That’s the goal. I’ll let you know who won in spring 🙂 xx