Blogmas – Day Eleven & Twelve

As you can see we went to visit Father Christmas the other day and the picture we ended up with is anything but the perfect Instagrammable Christmas family photo I had in mind. Actually, it is better.

It was the first time that DB2 had been to a Santa’s Grotto and it was something that I really wanted to try to do this year. We had to go after school because DB1 understandably wanted to come with us. This meant it was approaching DB2’s tea time and a grouchy toddler was starting to emerge. As we went through the elf filled corridors that led to the grotto, both children were getting excited. DB2 hugged the mechanical Santa and stroked his dog, before pushing it over to my embarrassment, but then the wait began. This wait wasn’t too bad. I remember visiting Santa one year when DB1 was much younger, and we must have queued for nearly two hours before seeing the big man. This time it was only a fifteen-minute wait, but with a hungry and tired two-year-old, any waiting time feels like an eternity. We got through it though with DB2 running up and down the corridors, trying to touch everything and thrashing around like a dancing octopus when we tried to hold him.

By the time we went to see Father Christmas, DB2 could not wait. Upon entering the room and seeing the large man in red before him, his mind quickly changed. He initially refused to even look at Santa, let alone speak with him. That is when this photo was taken. If you look closely you will see DB2 clinging to Mr P. I don’t know how many picture attempts there were, but in every one bar this one DB2 purposely kept moving away from the camera as a protest. His picture dodging efforts were so amusing that I look like a shiny, laughing seal in the photo and Father Christmas isn’t even looking at the camera! In the end DB2 did warm up slightly and was willing to talk a little. After receiving and ripping open the present, he was even willing to give Santa a high five and say, “Bye, bye!”.

This is the reality of taking a young child to see Father Christmas and I don’t think this picture could have captured that any better. Does it meet my original expectations? No. But I actually love it so much more because of its imperfections. It represents our first experience of seeing Father Christmas as a family of four and so in my eyes it is perfect.

 

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Mrs P x x x

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Blogmas – Day Nine & Ten

Mr P and I had a rare night without the children on Saturday because we were going to an adult only do in the evening. This was actually the first time in over two months that we had spent any child free time together. Together time has been better this year due to me not working full time, but it usually comes with one or two children in tow as well. Saturday was pure adult only time and I have to say it was nice, but also very strange.

I think it is only when I go to social events without the children that I realise I am not overly comfortable anymore around lots of people. It may just be my anxiety playing up slightly, but actually I think it is more because I have become so used to my identity as a mum that when I am in a situation where I don’t have to be the mother figure, I feel very uneasy.

I never felt like this with my first son, possibly because I was so many other things at that time. I think being a stay at home mum can lead you to hide behind your children, as I feel I am possibly doing a bit too much at the moment. That is one of the many reasons I started this blog. I felt I needed to ensure that I was doing something for myself, besides looking after the children all the time. It took me a while as I was recovering from my most recent anxiety and depression relapse to acknowledge that I needed something for me, but the blog has really helped to give me that and has enabled me to maintain my recovery. I can also see now that I need to find other outlets where I can start to feel like myself again. I do sing with a choir and lead the singing at a baby and toddler group, which is another step forward, but I feel I need something else that reflects me during my pre-baby life (which is now over 10 years ago). I don’t know what that is yet, but I think it is important so that I don’t feel my identity is solely my children, because at the end of the day they won’t need me as they do now forever.

I am loving stay at home mum life, but the other night reinforced how I have changed and how awkward I feel without a little person to run after or fuss over. I am hoping that as my anxiety improves even more and I start to pursue different activities, I will stop feeling this way when I am out without my children. I don’t know how many other parents feel like this, but I will try to write future posts based around this topic, as it is something I am focusing on overcoming in the new year.

 

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Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Blogmas – Day Seven & Eight

We spent a magical evening at a Christmas event at a National Trust park last night. We walked through the gardens that had been filled with amazing lights, music and effects. There were so many incredible lights you didn’t quite know where to look next, but it was so beautiful and Christmassy.

The children did love it, even though DB1 didn’t want to have to stand still because he had to see everything as quickly as possible, and DB2 was so overwhelmed that after running and laughing at lights, every now and then he would just stop and cry. I don’t think it helped that DB2 had been woken up from his car nap, it was past his bed time and he hadn’t had a proper tea because we were eating afterwards.

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We were very lucky with the weather, because although it was cold, it was dry. I was worried that it was going to rain, which I think would have spoilt it slightly, but thankfully we got to really enjoy everything without feeling wind swept and wet.

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I didn’t get to take too many pictures because keeping an eye on both children took priority and I also wanted to enjoy as much as possible. There were so many memorable moments: the huge light ball field was incredible, the children loved the dangly lights, the competition to find your reindeer was so much fun and I think my favourite was the water fountain light display which was timed perfectly to music. Afterwards, we went to the Courtyard and had a bite to eat with some hot chocolate, or in my case mulled wine. It was honestly such a fabulous event and we will definitely be going again next year.

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If you are interested in keeping up to date with my blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

 

 

Blogmas – Day Six

Yesterday, we went Christmas shopping and it made me think about something that I know has affected me for too many Christmases. During this period, we love to make it special for our children, family and friends. This can often lead to us becoming stressed and anxious about things that in reality do not matter. I realise this is potentially very hypocritical, as my previous posts have focused on decorations and Elf on a Shelf/Advent surprises, which as lovely as they are, are not what Christmas is all about. I don’t want this post to be very sanctimonious or self-righteous, but I know I have fallen victim to making myself ill with Christmas pressure in the past and thought I might write a few posts discussing this.

I suffer from an extreme perfectionist disorder, which at times leads to anxiety and panic attacks. I am managing better now, but it has affected my health quite severely in the past. It is only in recent years that I have been able to acknowledge this as a problem. Christmas has always been a time for my perfectionism to really rear its ugly head. It became so bad at this time one year, that during a Christmas shopping trip with my mum, I ended up fainting.

When I was pregnant with my first son, we went shopping at a huge shopping centre, so it was incredibly busy. We had been walking around shops for hours and I was becoming increasingly more anxious about what to buy for people. I was particularly concerned with what to get for my then boyfriend (now husband by the name of Mr P). I had been walking up and down aisles in the same shop for ages trying to decide the best aftershave gift to buy. I was also getting very obsessed with the 3 for 2 offers and feeling the need to make the most of this. Everything needed to be perfect and I was getting more and more worked up. My mum was getting gradually more annoyed, as she had been shopping for too long and it just seemed to be getting busier. After being forced to make a decision, we finally went to pay. As we headed to the never-ending queue, I started to feel unwell. Soon, everything was spinning, and my eyes were blurring over. As we reached the front of the queue, I told my mum that I wasn’t feeling right, but having trailed after me all day, she (understandably) thought I was being dramatic. As I clung on to the shelves by the check out, I repeated that I wasn’t right and the next thing I know I had collapsed into my mum.

All I remember after that, is coming around on a chair in the middle of the shop, with my head between my legs and a bottle of water being put to my lips. I have to say, sitting slap bang in the middle of a huge Boots, during the busiest time of year, with a group of very concerned people huddled around and intrigued passers-by slowing to have a look after I had collapsed, was not a wonderful experience. I was fine after a while and had just been on my feet for too long, moving around too much and too quickly and had allowed my perfectionism to trigger anxiety.

Looking back, being this concerned with buying presents and putting so much pressure on myself to make sure things were perfect was completely unnecessary, especially when I was pregnant. When you are caught up in everything though, you feel as if this is the only way.

This year I have had a completely different and more relaxed approach. I have not and will not allow myself to become more concerned with buying presents than anything else. Yes, I want my family to have a wonderful Christmas, but I would rather make the most of this run up creating wonderful memories and focusing on the preparations of Christ’s birth, than fuss over buying the perfect presents for everyone. Gifts at Christmas are a sign that you are thinking of others, and thoughtful gifts don’t always have to be plentiful, huge grand gestures or cost a fortune. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much. People will or should love whatever they are given because it came from you. With a young family, this time is precious, and I would hate to look back feeling as though I had focused on all the wrong things. So, here’s to memories instead of stuff.

If you are interested in keeping up to date with my blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Blogmas – Day Four & Five

Today’s blog is making up for the fact that I didn’t post anything yesterday. When I said I would do Blogmas, I told myself that I would make sure to post something every day, which was a good goal for me to keep. Already I have not been able to do this because yesterday and the day before I was feeling so poorly. I had a bug which kept me up being sick all night and I can honestly say I felt awful. I probably would have attempted to write a blog post even though I was feeling so shocking, but Mr P banned me from doing anything but sleep. This probably was the best advice as I am starting to feel better now. In my Blogmas Day 3 post I said I would share my Christmas decorations with you the following day, and not wanting to go back on my word, that is what I am going to do!

We have had our Christmas tree for 5 years now and it has done us so well. I’m not going to say it was the most expensive tree, but we did spend enough that it will definitely last for many years to come. If you are thinking of buying an artificial tree, I would recommend spending that little bit more just so you can make sure you get the most for your money. I would love a real tree, but we are restricted with space in our house. In our old house the space was even more limited, which meant we had to buy a tree that was slimmer than your standard artificial. It took me a while to find one suitable, but our local garden centre is a god send in this kind of situation.

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As I said in my previous post, I have bought new decorations this year to avoid any breakages and damage. I am so glad that I did, because my toddler cannot resist the tree and has already tried to use the baubles in games of catch and football. The majority of tree decorations are from Next. I love the green and red tartan theme we went for and it really does compliment my living room.

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The only tree ornaments that are not from Next are the personalised wooden snowmen I had made this year. They are from Urban Twist and are beautiful. I had one made for each of us with our names on and our elf brought them as our surprise yesterday.

I also decided to buy a tree skirt this year, which again just adds that extra little something to the tree. I’m not too sure of the brand because I got it from the garden centre, but I love it. I have had to stop my children from lying on it several times though because it does look so cosy!

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I have always had wreaths to put on the walls, but with changing our theme and decorations, I had to buy new ones. These heart shaped wreaths are from Next and I really like the Christmassy simplicity of them.

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I also bought two Nordic reindeer Christmas card holding kits from The Wedding of my Dreams, as the way we used to display our cards doesn’t work in our new house. I have no cards to hang from it at the moment, but I can’t wait to start filling it up. The wooden reindeers look lovely and fit in well with our other decorations.

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When I ordered our Advent calendar from Dibor, I also ordered some little stockings. I received a pack of three different designs all within a Nordic/tartan theme. I have hung these on our curtain rail, as we do not have a fireplace or anywhere else troublesome little hands can’t reach. They will be used purely for decoration, but I’m hoping our elf might cause some mischief with them!

I still have some more little decorative touches to add, but I am so happy with how our decorations have turned out and the products I have bought. There is nothing better than decking the halls and this year our house feels even more festive.

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I will be blogging every day during Advent, so if you are interested in keeping up to date with my blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x

Blogmas – Day Three

Today is Christmas decorating day! Our elf knew this so brought a lovely toy nativity with him to place in our living room. I always want to have a nativity in the house, but the one we usually use is pottery and is likely to break if my toddler just so much as looks at it. I want the nativity to be something my children can interact with and not just look at from a distance. I remember playing with our nativity and retelling the story being one of my favourite things to do at Christmas, and I feel it introduced me to the reason we celebrate in an accessible way. So, I thought a wooden toy nativity from The Early Learning Centre would be perfect, and I was right. My youngest (DB2) loved finding it with the elf this morning and has enjoyed playing with all the wooden characters, while taking the stable apart and trying to pry the baby Jesus from his crib. I have told him he is attached to it, but he is still very determined.

This Christmas a lot has needed to be adapted thanks to DB2 and his destructive ways. Besides a new nativity, I have also bought brand new baubles. The baubles we have used previously are glass, which with a toddler is a disaster waiting to happen. To avoid any breakages, I have chosen wooden, fabric and plastic ornaments that hopefully will withstand the pulling, dropping, shaking, climbing and banging that will undoubtedly take place. I’m sure he will find some way of causing chaos with the Christmas ornaments, but at the moment I am hopeful, or maybe in denial, that everything will be fine.

In my mind I want decorating the house to be full of peace and joy, but in reality, once those tree lights come out of the box, all hell breaks loose. I don’t know if it is just my family that finds putting lights on the tree incredibly stressful, but since I was a child this has been the case. I do become a woman possessed, because every year there is something wrong with the lights. Whether it is that they don’t work, or they are impossible to untangle and the more you try the worse it gets, or a row, just a row is not working and you have a gap of light missing, so now you have to buy a new set anyway because you can’t replace the bulbs! I can already say that this year has been no different and we have had to take an impromptu visit to the garden centre today to buy new lights, because both sets weren’t working. Now that we have sorted out the problem though, I can go back to my nostalgic Christmas decorating routine, confident in the knowledge that I shouldn’t have to worry about Christmas lights for another year.

If you want to find out how our Christmas decorating went and see the finished product, read tomorrow’s Blogmas post. To make sure you don’t miss any future posts, click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

Thank you for your support.

Mrs P x x x

Blogmas – Day Two

Our elf delivered something special today. He brought our box for the Reverse Advent Calendar that our family will be doing. I love the idea of this, as it will allow the children to put something into the box every day that can eventually be given to a charity for those in need. We have decided to donate our box to a charity that supports the homeless, so each day our elf will bring an item/items that will be of use to this charity, and the children will place them in the box. I am hoping by the end of Advent our box will be filled with lots of things to give away.

As wonderful as it is that my children enjoy receiving things from their Advent Calendar, I also want this period to be a time of giving and helping others. I feel by taking part in the Reverse Advent Calendar, they are thinking about those in need and reflecting on how they can help them, instead of just focusing on what they will receive.

Although we have always donated to charities during this time of year, we have never done this before. So, I am very excited to see how the children will respond over the coming weeks. My eldest son (DB1) was incredibly sweet this morning when he found the elf sitting in the box on the kitchen table clinging to a tin of peas. After reading the letter Cheery Elf had written explaining everything about the Reverse Advent Calendar, DB1 gave me a huge hug. When I asked what was wrong he said, “Nothing. It’s just really nice”. He does make my heart melt sometimes.

I hope this is a sign of things to come and they will really benefit from doing this. If you want to see what we fill our box with over the coming days and weeks, then follow my stories on Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and I will make sure to write another post on my blog just before we donate our box. So, if you are interested in keeping up to date with my blog posts, please click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog page. If you like this post click the ‘Like’ button and leave a comment. I am also on Facebook and Instagram @frommissjtomrsp and Twitter @frommissjtomrs1.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Mrs P x x x