Achievable Romance in the Average House

Valentine feature-2

Valentine feature-2

There’ll be no dozen roses, or candlelit dinners and I’d be weirded out if there was; the little things that all add up to love are what count for me.

I’m pretty sure the kids like tangible treats so they’re getting ridiculous glasses and some Love Hearts sweets. In return I get adorbs artwork.

Forget hot air balloon rides with champagne; here is the official run down of things that happened this week that mean something between me and the fella I married.

  • He bought me tickets for my birthday to go see one of my favourite bands from my teens: Suede. I was into them at a time when he was all about Motörhead yet this week when the gig rolled round he sat beside me probably not embarrassed at my lyric-recall powers.
  • He made the school lunches on thursday night. That’s a bit pathetic that I count that in the romance column of our marriage ledger. I had made them the other four nights but it’s a task I dislike so much that any reprieve is noted.
  • Much as I love to watch Ireland play in the Six Nations, the enthusiasm doesn’t stretch to the Under 20’s on a friday night. I suggested we watch About Time on Netflix instead, and he did not protest one jot. It helps that Dumble Gleeson (go to 1:18) – who can do no wrong in our eyes – and Rachel McAdams (think he might fancy her a bit) star and that it’s from the reasonably reliable Richard Curtis school of nice-English-people-and-an-American-bumbling-about films. What? It’s a genre. Lets forget Love, Actually though. I hate Love, Actually). I cried unsurprisingly. I guess lots of people do but it’s got the dad-cancer trigger which is bound to set me off. Sorry. It’s not really a spoiler. Anyway, him indoors liked it.
konkan indian
LUV U
  • He suggested we get Indian for dinner. That was no big sacrifice on his part but it’s my absolute favourite. I would happily bathe in Saag anything.
post run coffee
The best ten minutes.
  • I got up this morning and he was gathering swimming gear to bring both children to the pool. Lessons aren’t on this week, and he’s a member of a fancy place where the lads can go free but there’s no guest passes for wives. Oh no… So instead I got to go for a run and drink coffee in peace and eh, write this. Added bonus, that’s the children washed for the next week.
IMG_0479
Not as sorry as I am

Incidentally, I had hoped for all my couch-hours this weekend to be spend under a giant Netflix Night In blanket like some of my parenting blogger colleagues (shout out to Sadhbh’s audacious use of her granny). Instead this is all I have. My blanket has been keeping the local delivery office cosy for three days now. I think. Maybe my postman is snuggled up under it eating popcorn and toblerone with the missus. If he is, I hope he gets the ride. It’s the weekend for it.

 

The Power Of The Treat

Treats should be doled out judiciously. They’re probably a little frequent in our house. Still, they hold a lot of power.

  • Toddler refusing to put on socks and shoes and you really need to get out the door? Promise a treat when you get where you’re going.
  • Schoolchild doesn’t want to go to their expensive swimming lesson? Treat after the class.
  • Everyone eats up a healthy dinner with minimal moaning, homework is done and place isn’t ultra-messy? Treats for all!

I won’t claim it’s the best parenting method in the world, but it gets us through. Recently I realised it’s one way traffic; I hand out all the treats. It’s time that changed.

January has been quite tough in our house. I finished up a contract before Christmas and started a new freelance job in the New Year. (Sidebar: Look! I even got interviewed for the Irish Examiner about my three day week)

working mum
Shame they spelled the blog name wrong. (Image courtesy of Office Mum)

My work hours have been rather erratic; in one role I can start as early as 7am, and finish as late as midnight. I’m delighted to not be tied to one place day in day out right now while I work out my path. In some ways I have all the control, in other ways I have none of it. I’m at the whim of employers to decide if they need me or not but I’m learning so much. Frankly, I’m way out of my comfort zone and it’s a certified good thing though you might not realise it if you saw the bags under my eyes. One highlight of January was sitting on the stairs late at night trying to explain the concept of freelance and shift work to a six year old who just could not understand why I couldn’t collect him from school every day despite having spent a lot of his little life at childcare.

The glory of a full time job is setting foot in that office each day knowing what you’re expected to do, knowing that you can do it, seeing familiar faces and catching up with your colleagues over coffee. At home everyone knows the drill too; where they’re supposed to be on any given day. We haven’t got that certainty right now so I’m making a February planner for the fridge so that the six year old can see what’s coming up in the next few weeks. Right now I’m definitely working office hours for a few weeks straight, but I’m trying to not send him to after school care five days a week. He’s got three days off for mid-term in the middle of it. He’s been invited for playdates and we’re trying to work it out so he can get to those. Luckily the three year old, though usually not very flexible at all (in fact he has an iron will) is happy to head off to his playschool and hang with his buddies whenever we send him.

Amongst all the juggling I realise how always “on” I am when I am at work: Always eager to make a good impression in various offices; always ready to learn and prove myself; work out where the coffee is and make sure I’m not stealing someones milk; getting to know some people well enough to discuss our Netflix habits and just generally trying to be comfortable in whichever hat I’m wearing that day. Metaphorical and physical hat, in case you’re wondering, I mean there’s implied dress codes to be followed too.

So dammit I need treats too, grown up ones. To this end, I dropped the little fella to creche this morning and I got a blow-dry for no reason. (I know loads of people get this done all the time but that time is long past for me what with the childcare costs)  I’m going to work soon, to sit in a room on my own for ten hours. My hair is smooth and swishy and actually lovely and no one will see it but me. But for forty minutes this morning someone looked after me and it transformed me from manic packed-lunch maker to a calm, in control and ready for the day person.

blow-dry
Proof

Next month, nails.

I’ve already used this gif on the blog, but to be honest, it bears repeating a lot.

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Happy New Year!

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We won’t tell them it’s not midnight if you don’t! To bed at 9pm! Woohoo!

Kids can pick their favourite character – we chose King Julien – and ring in the New Year with countdowns featuring Oona and Baba of Irish animation Puffin Rock, Care Bears & Cousins, Inspector Gadget, the Project Mc2 girls, King Julien, or Mr. Peabody & Sherman and all their DreamWorks Animation friends. (Titles can be found by searching for New Year, New Years Eve, Countdown or Happy New Year)

Press play on your countdown of choice, grab your party gear and snap and post a pic using #StreamTeam. Start your party anytime, anywhere by searching New Year’s Eve Countdown on Netflix.

The Elf Chronicles: Part Two.

Elf on the shelf

The Elf Chronicles: Part Two. I’ll tell you what he’s a very imaginative fella and when it comes to his annual retirement day, December 25th, he deserves to put his feet up and have a lovely big gin and tonic. I might do the same myself.

This is what he got up to at the start of the month, now let’s see what else he’s been at. It’s been a busy week…

Continue reading

A Week of Elf Ideas

So we’re in full December swing now. I am torn over whether starting this whole elf lark a couple of years ago was a good idea at all. Every single morning by around six am Dominic has come up with an excuse to go downstairs to check out his antics. Do you think he goes asleep after that? No, obviously. I guess I’m just grateful for Pinterest and Instagram for late night inspiration. Though, one could make the argument the whole damn elf thing would never have taken off it it weren’t for them either…

Here’s what he’s been up to so far, I’ve included Day 1 for completists, I know you’ve seen it already: Continue reading