Sunday, 12 January 2014

Happy New Year

HELLOOOOO! WELCOME. Welcome to this shiny, brand spanking new year. I do love a fresh new year. And I have been enjoying it all the more since Tuesday when I finally got to offload some children in to the care of others. It was a lovely moment.

We are already quite far in to the new year but for some reason I have been entirely unable to put finger to keyboard and write eloquently about the Christmas break. I attempted to write many times but gave up each and every time. I think it's because Christmas is pretty much the same for every one and a lot happens but none of it is really noteworthy. However, I am determined to break the writers block and get over the hump so, I am in my spot, K is out, my new fleecy onesie is ON and the TV is OFF so I can concentrate. Let's get this written.   

I hope you all had a wonderful festive break. It seems like a ridiculously long time ago now - I can't believe how long the build up to Christmas is and yet how quickly it is all over. My favourite part of the whole time is seeing the fruits of all my labour - going to bed on Christmas Eve knowing that all the presents are wrapped, present and correct under the tree and knowing I have managed to keep the gifts from being discovered by any child in the lead up to the big day. It is quite a feat with the number of gifts there were this year.  I even managed to pack up and drive to Suffolk with all children and all gifts in the car without the two parties crossing paths. I thought that was rather clever. The magic of the big FC still remains and despite many, many, many naysayers who tell her to the contrary, Bea is still an ardent believer so the stakes are high. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing you have pulled it all off and all they have to do now is open them and be happy. (Although when we have Christmas in London I do spend quite a bit of my pre-sleep time in bed worrying about being burgled because I think I once heard of this happening and the arseholes had stolen all the gifts from under the tree - this thought haunts me and I encourage K to sleep in the chair downstairs until the wee small hours to give me greater piece of mind).  When they see their piles is my second favourite - they are so amazed and so happy - Bea and G did their 'happy dance' this year when they came down and saw it all. It does make all the stress and money spent feel worth it. Although the opening of the gifts never lasts as long as I hope it would. Ted opened all of his gifts in a matter of minutes - it was like a frenzied attack on wrapping paper. G was less frenzied but still incredibly enthusiastic so his pile lasted a fraction longer. However Bea was a total pleasure to buy gifts for - she took her time with each and every one and had most of hers left to open long after the boys had moved off and started pointing out what they didn't get (Ted was most put out that FC hadn't read his mind and delivered a cuddly Luigi of Mario Kart fame and G - who had the most of everyone - became a little jealous of Bea's Furby Boom and wondered why he hadn't had one as well - I had expected as much from Ted but G was a surprise - although as I suspected the allure of the boom wore off very quickly and he hasn't once mentioned his lack of furby since).

So, Christmas was pretty standard fare. Although it never works out quite how I imagine it will. There was a lot less sleep than I imagined - Cybs seemed to find the excitement too much to bear on Christmas Eve and was awake for around three hours which meant the night was extraordinarily short but the day itself was extraordinarily long. Lovely, but long. My gifts weren't quite what I imagined either. K had seemingly forgotten (he says not but he quite obviously had) that he was meant to be getting me the replacement to the wrongly gifted DAB radio alarm clock from my birthday, so in its place I received a series of things I hadn't asked for. Always a mistake. Most of them will get used (although the Gary Barlow CD might not) and so are not going to go to waste but none of them were really what I had in mind. Yet again I now have a voucher for the beautician's at the end of our road to use up. I had only just managed to get through the ones from my birthday 15 months ago so I was surprised to find more waiting for me. All I wanted, and had foolishly assumed would be waiting for me, was this sodding swanky stereo system on which to dock my iphone, listen to my CDs and tune the exciting DAB radio in to BBC 2 and enjoy crystal clear Chris Evans in the morning and Simon Mayo in the afternoon. I found it pretty hard to hide my disappointment. I fell short of throwing a full on Ted tantrum but my frustration at not receiving my longed for gift twice in a row was pretty evident. 

The biggest surprise of the day was Ted's epic dislike of what I had rather excitedly thought would be his most treasured present. It was a personalised Spiderman book which was dedicated to him and included 'him' (in name only) in the story, helping Spidey with all the crime fighting.  K had predicted that he wouldn't like his surname being included (Ted cannot stand, stomach or even entertain the idea that he has a surname or is known as anything other than Ted - obviously a middle name is also totally out of the question - so I did know that this probably wasn't the best idea but I wanted to make it entirely clear that this wasn't a generic spiderman book for all Ted fans but one specifically for him) but I was so excited and sure that he would LOVE it I thought the surname would be a minor issue. It turns out that in fact any part of his name being included was actually a disastrous idea. Ted is a Spiderman purist and was absolutely furious that the book referred to Ted and not Peter Parker. My attempts to interest him in the book led to a bit of a tantrum (one of a number on the big day - I'm not sure being a hyperactive 4 year old gels that well with the excitement and over stimulation of Christmas) and it took quite a while to calm him down. You live and learn. In other successes G was thrilled with his scooter and Skylanders, Cybil loves her kitchen (since we got home where she found it built), Bea LOVED her vintage/old Singer sewing machine - a beautiful manual one - and was totally amazed that Father Christmas had got her one even though she hadn't written it on her list.  I was particularly pleased with this find - on the Monday before Christmas on a last minute shopping trip. Just happily waiting for me in the Cancer Charity shop.  Having done 95% (roughly) of my Christmas shopping online it was rather nice to get out and about in the 'real' world to source gifts. I was child free as mum had kept all the children to make it less of a chore and mercifully so as it was the busiest I think I have ever known a town centre to be. Nothing is guaranteed to make a fat and clumsy person feel more fat, clumsy and generally cumbersome than attempting to manoeuvre around shops armed with many shopping bags two days before Christmas. I think I said Sorry approximately a million times and only half of it was unwarranted. I must be thinner for next Christmas if only to make it easier to shop and less dangerous for my fellow shoppers.

Other than that and the incident when Ted was hit in the eye by a Nerf bullet (a very long and emotionally draining debacle ensued) the break was a very lovely, family Christmas. There was a LOT of food. I ate an awful lot of it. My Brother in Law ate more. That was comforting.  I also got some great presents (always a bonus) - Shiny Life sister made me some rather beautiful Liberty print cushions (she is annoyingly talented as well as shiny), mum gave me a gorgeous handbag and the scarf Keith gave me turned out to be rather pretty and useful so all in all I was happy. We also had a very enjoyable day with K's family where we got to eat even more and open even more presents which does help to elongate the fun. My favourite gift from that day was my fleecy onesie.  It is fabulous. Although according to those close to me (mum and K) it shouldn't be worn in the company of others as I look terrible in it, but this worries me not - it is magnificently comfy and like wearing a slanket (another favourite gift from many moons ago) and luckily enough I don't have to look at me wearing it so it isn't going anywhere soon.

After the festivities in Essex with K's family, Shiny Life sister left and Kent Sister joined in the fun at mum's (Cupcake Sister had visited on Christmas Eve with her brood so it was a very family Christmas this year).  We got in to the swing of keeping our pyjamas on until lunch, watched films, played with toys and avoided the persistent rain outside. G got an ear infection (standard) and K spent two hours waiting with him at the out of hours surgery for penicillin. K departed for the silence and solitude of London shortly afterwards with his brand spanking new Chimenea (my fabulous Christmas gift to him which he was remarkably underwhelmed with at the time and has taken the piss out of many times since but actually turns out to be totally fabulous  - many happy hours have been spent in the garden burning stuff and roasting marshmallows with the children since our return). My sister and I ventured to the cinema with the children to see Frozen - the BEST Disney film for many years and a huge hit in our house. I have downloaded the album which is epic and I am going to spend the year getting all the costumes together for the children to wear in next year's Christmas card. I am just waiting for some spare cash so that I can go crazy in the Disney store. That, Gangsta Granny and Death Comes to Pemberley were my screen highlights of the holidays.

And that brings me on to New Year - a thrilling, once in a lifetime fun factory of fabulousness naturally.  K and I couldn't really be bothered to drive to either of our locations in order to be together so we spent the night apart - him at home alone and me at mum's alone after she went to bed at 8.30 leaving me with the laptop (I tried to write to you then but it was crap) and Midsomer Murders (a repeat which I realised I had seen a couple of times before once it got to the end). It was rocking. I have decided that next year I am going to open a child hostel and make some money out of NYE. Parents can pay £20 a head (discount for multiples) plus a bottle of nice booze to drop their children here for the evening for a great big slumber party. As they are not my children I won't really care what they get up to so they can spend the evening watching films and eating crap until their parents return to collect. I shall most likely lock myself in my bedroom with headphones. I'm pretty sure I am a GENIUS.

And that brings us back to the brand spanking and shiny new year. I love the new year and January. I  am so relieved Christmas is all over and safely done and dusted and that this joyous month contains no reason whatsoever for me to buy any toys or presents of any kind for any member of this family. I LOVE it.  And it just gets better and better as I can officially announce that Cybil had just completed 5 days NOT breastfeeding. WAHOOOOOOO. Enough is enough and 17 months in I have given up trying to encourage her to move straight from the boob to the cup and have instead allowed her to regress to a bottle as I am so very keen to have a little detachment from her.  The big transition started over the holidays whilst we were staying with mum who very kindly moved Cybil's cot in to her room so that I could get some sleep and finally culminated in me watching in shocked awe as she accepted a bottle of warm milk at bed time. The relief was immense. Although I didn't realise at the time that that was going to be my last ever breastfeed and I must admit to feeling a tad emotional since.  Not emotional enough to give in to her still daily demands for me to whip them out though. I am resolute. No more boob.

The New Year is looking rather rosie actually. Not only are my breasts my own once again but last night K and I even went OUT. I know, big stuff. I believe nowadays the 'youth' refer to it as a 'date night' but when I was young and mum and dad used to go out we called it 'mum and dad going out'. Whatever it is known as it was a stunning way to start the new year - we failed to celebrate much last year due to Cybil and her lack of sleeping prowess so this was long overdue. I have already had my hair done, attended a 40th Birthday Party for the Magician, I have another night out planned next week for The Replacement's birthday and this half term is also incredibly short so it's only a month before we get another week of lying around in pyjamas all day - so, all in all 2014 has started off very nicely indeed. No doubt there will be many ups and downs to the rest of the year but I am very pleased to have welcomed it so happily so far.  The only fly in my ointment is a rather unattractive weight gain from my prolific Christmas eating. I have only missed one fast day over the last three weeks but have managed a decent four pound gain. I have decided not to panic and am attempting to wean myself off chocolate and overeating gradually. There is no hurry.

So. There you have it. A pretty bog standard one for us - gifts, food, family and festivities. I'm not sure how long my happiness with 2014 will last but I really hope we will at least get through January. All that remains to be said is Happy New Year. xxx

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