Living Arrows 30/52

"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." Kahlil Gibran

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Ollie and Nate  //  We were lucky enough to enjoy not just a couple of days of good weather, but rather an whole week.  It was seriously wonderful.  The boys loved being able to play out in the sand all day and Ollie enjoyed having friends over to play in the garden.  They have a sand pit that has a lid that we use to put water in because our garden is not big (or flat) enough for a large paddling pool.  On Wednesday I made them a fort using a blanket that I pegged to the slide and we put blankets and pillows inside.  Marcie got a ton of use out of the shade also.  It eventually reached 27 degrees C which is pretty rare here in Ireland.  I'm not sure if we will get that sort of temperature again this summer but we are hoping.  The better weather really makes a huge improvement to everyone's mood and the boys are much happier being able to play outside!

Linking up to I Heart Snapping and Ordinary Moments.

365 1/52

So one of my goals in turning 30 was to complete another 365.  I've tried a couple of times since I completed both of the boys successfully, but never was able to stick with it.  This year though is exciting and I want to capture the little moments throughout... this will be my 3rd 365 project, if I complete it.  

Week 1  //  

16 Jul.  My birthday.  I see the sea and the sea sees me!  Day-trip to Millisle with Mum and the boys.

16 Jul.  My birthday.  I see the sea and the sea sees me!  Day-trip to Millisle with Mum and the boys.

17 Jul.  This is happening... chocolate birthday cake and a can of coke for breakfast... at my desk... because I'm 30 and I can do anything I want.

17 Jul.  This is happening... chocolate birthday cake and a can of coke for breakfast... at my desk... because I'm 30 and I can do anything I want.

18 Jul.  Family festival times!  Ollie's first festival - Longitude 2014 to see George Ezra, Bastille and Ben Howard.

18 Jul.  Family festival times!  Ollie's first festival - Longitude 2014 to see George Ezra, Bastille and Ben Howard.

19 Jul.  The Merchant Hotel with my Mum for Afternoon Tea.  So delicious and the pianist played Happy Birthday while the Waitress brought me cake.

19 Jul.  The Merchant Hotel with my Mum for Afternoon Tea.  So delicious and the pianist played Happy Birthday while the Waitress brought me cake.

20 Jul.  Movies in bed.

20 Jul.  Movies in bed.

21 Jul.  I love having boys.

21 Jul.  I love having boys.

22 Jul.  Pancake party with our friend Lilly.  Lilly happens to be the daughter of one of my oldest / best friends.

22 Jul.  Pancake party with our friend Lilly.  Lilly happens to be the daughter of one of my oldest / best friends.

Our Summer Bucket List

When Ollie's school broke for summer, I thought that 9 weeks was going to be excruciatingly long... so many days to think of different things to keep both the boys occupied.  I was excited too to spend time with them both and not have to do the bus run... to enjoy the warm weather together and spend time as a family... but also I was worried they would get bored!  This summer is different from last summer because Nate was only 1 last year... he and Ollie didn't really play a bunch together but this year is so different.  For the past almost 4 weeks, they have entertained each other.  We have had a ton of fun, been on some trips and enjoyed (this week) insanely wonderful weather.  4 weeks is easy to fill though.  But we have 5 more weeks to go until Ollie goes back to school.  We sat down together to make a list of the things he would still like to do and each day we are going to pick one or two.  Some are day trips, some will fill a weekend and some are small activities to fill the day.

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//  Visit Glenariff Forest Park  //  Day trip to Newcastle  //  Have waterfights  //  Make our own ice lollies  //  Visit Belfast Zoo  //  Make a garden fort  //  Plant flowers or herbs  //  Have a tent sleepover at Grandma's  //  Fly kite  //  Geocache  //  Climb trees  //  Visit Castle Espie  //  Helen's Bay day trip  //  Take the train to Bangor for the day  //  Road trip to Dublin to see Grandpa  // Make lemonade  //  Treasure hunt  //  Visit Rathlin Island  //  Go to Streamvale farm  //  Feed ducks  //  Pick fruit  //  Make cookies  //  Catch bugs  //  Make birdfeeder for the garden  //  Paint rocks  //  Wash daddy's car  //  Picnics  //  Have a 'yes' day  //  Visit Carrick A Reed Rope Bridge  //  Find new parks  //  Go to farmers market  //  Play in the rain  //  Go crab fishing  //  Make pictures with collected seashells  //  Have a BBQ  //  Make banana splits  // Watch the sun rise  // Take photos  //  Make up a new game  //  Go mud-puddle splashing after rain  //  Freeze toys and let the boys excavate  // Blow bubbles  //  Evening walks  //  

Living Arrows 29/52

"You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." Kahlil Gibran

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Ollie and Nate  //  We are halfway through our 4th week of summer break.  Ollie finished up with school on 30th June and doesn't return until the 1st week in September.  It's incredibly long.  The dynamic has changed at home... having him with us all the time.  Sometimes this is good, in that Nate loves having him here and the moments they happily share together make my heart close to bursting.  Sometimes though, they get on each other's nerves and sometimes cabin fever sets in if the weather isn't good, or I haven't planned something to do.  All in all though, it's amazing seeing them together.  When Ollie is at school full-time we don't see quite so many glimpses of them bonding and now that Nate is a little older the play together so well.  Ollie makes up a game and Nate follows suit.  He really copies a lot of what Ollie does.  He loves his brother so much.  I need to make some better plans for August, but we are getting away for a week to Scotland!  Excited!

Linking up to I Heart Snapping and Ordinary Moments.

30 After 30!

When I was 28 I made a list of 30 things I wanted to do before I turned 30.  At the time, the list didn't seem all that insanely ambitious... but having just checked, I only crossed off a very small fraction.

I learnt to shoot in manual mode on my camera (though I am still practicing!), I started yoga (but have not yet mastered the splits), I made some new friends, I ate lobster again (more than once!), I tried a new hairstyle and we paid off a credit card.

A couple of my goals are currently in progress... for instance, I am sitting my driving test in August and I hope that I pass it this time.  We are attending a music festival on Friday (missing the mark by just a couple of days!), James and I have plans to hike Slieve Donard and I'm halfway through losing a stone.

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As I turn 30 today though, I'm ok with having not completed my list but I am excited to write a list of 30 more things I would like to do as I enter a new decade (I know, sounds weird right?) and some of them come from my old list.  This time I am taking the pressure off and not setting myself a deadline/ time limit... and if I change my mind about completing one or all them, then that's ok.  It's my list! :)

So without further ado... presenting my 30 AFTER 30 list.

  1. Karaoke.  Nobody hears me sing.  So I'd love to step out of my comfort zone just once.
  2. Buy a KitchenAid mixer.  Fancy schmancy kitchen appliance... grown up or what?
  3. Let go of grudges... 
  4. Complete my BA (Honours) in English Literature and Language.  Starting in October!
  5. Run a 5K.  This is happening in August!!!!
  6. Travel!
  7. Attend a blog conference.
  8. Learn how to cook something fancy.
  9. Pay it forward.
  10. Read the news!  I need to be more aware of important situations in the world!
  11. Make a garden!!!!  Currently garden is totally crap haha!
  12. Let go of broken friendships.
  13. Spend more time nurturing quality friendships.
  14. Create and not touch an emergency fund.
  15. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant.
  16. Geocache.  We need to do this as a family.
  17. Establish my photography business.
  18. Write our will.
  19. Try raw sushi.
  20. Have a regular exercise routine.
  21. Drink more water.  People who say water doesn't have a taste are lying!!!
  22. Redecorate...
  23. ...and declutter.
  24. Learn a new language.  Maybe german!
  25. Take a salsa class.
  26. Own gorgeous lingerie.  How fun to have ONLY pretty underwear rather than functional.
  27. Say yes more often, especially to the kids.
  28. Complete another project 365.
  29. Give blood.
  30. Do volunteer work.

Why I'm OK With Turning 30

Tomorrow is the day I turn 30.  I will wake tomorrow as Emma v3.0.  In my head I am expecting to wake and feel entirely different but of course I won't.  I'll wake in the same bed and I'll still feel like I've not slept enough (despite getting 7 hours probably)... my kids will jump on me the same and I will enjoy our morning cuddle time the same as I do every day.

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I don't think 30 is old... but it feels old for me.  Mentally I still feel like I'm about to turn 20... though when I was 20 I thought 30 was pretty old compared.

That's ok though.  I think.  To feel a lot younger than you are.  

I've completed an approximate 1/3 of my life.  That's a little scary but also I look back at my 30 years and realise how much I have accomplished and I am so dang proud of myself... if my next 30 years and the 30 or so years after that are in any way as successful then I'll have lived my life well!  

I'm so good with where I am in life although it's crazy to think it has only taken 10 years to get here... husband, house, kids... there is nowhere that I would rather be.

Do I have to wake up tomorrow and suddenly have it all figured out?  Nope.  And I'm not going to.  I'm so much more relaxed now, as an almost 30 year old, than I was in my twenties... I don't care so much about strict routines... about what others think... or about unchecked boxes on my to-do list.  I'm still a worrier of course.  But more relaxed.  I've given up worrying about unimportant things or things that I cannot change. 

Turning 30 isn't something I can change... so I'm embracing it and all that it has to offer.  I'm even a little more excited than I am apprehensive!

Ollie's School Sports Day

So the Monday before Ollie finished up for summer break, his school had sports day.  They have it each year right before break and the whole school takes part.  They are divided up into colour teams which consist of people from all the junior age groups.  

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Ollie had been talking to me about the practice they had been doing at school and he was so excited to take part.  

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He isn't very fast or very sporty... but he was the kid that I saw there, that mostly came last but had the HUGEST smile on his face.  More important than coming first was seeing that his Grandma and I were there watching.  He kept calling over to us and posing for the camera.

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It was a gorgeous sunny day and the turn out from parents was brilliant.  I love how they do it at Ollie's school.  Everyone is part of a team and nobody takes part individually... the races are all as teams.  

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Later on in the morning when it came to the relay race, Ollie got confused as to which team he was on and ended up running back and joining a different team.  Nobody in either team noticed... least of all Ollie and his 'new' teammates all cheered him on as if he had been on their team the whole time.  It was pretty funny.

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So proud of his unwavering determination!  That's my kid!!

That Time Nate Had To Go To Hospital

I think we have had a fair share of hospital trips in the short 6 years of Ollie's life and 2 years of Nate's life so far... Ollie had bronchiolitis when he was 6 months, pulled his elbow out of it's socket 3 times and had an asthma attack... Nate was in once before when he split that tiny bit of skin that connects lip to gum when he tipped the pram.  All in all nothing too serious but nonetheless, hospitals are not a fun place to be.

A couple of weeks ago both boys had chesty coughs... Ollie's was managed well and was on the way out but Nate's was getting worse and it was affecting his breathing.  He had been given an antibiotic and a steroid and an inhaler.  The first two weren't making much of a difference and it was insanely hard to get the inhaler into him.  The little mask thing on it made him petrified... he thought he was suffocating and would go very panicky.

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We took him to the Out Of Hours Doctor on Saturday and she checked him over and decided his oxygen sats were a little low so she gave him a nebuliser.  For some reason he had no trouble keeping that on his face.  It helped a little but by Sunday his breathing was bad again. 

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Sunday happened to be Father's Day... and we spent the day in A&E.  Poor James haha.  The Doctor checked him over and got some ventolin and steroids into him and sent us home.  Nate was a pickle and chose to take the inhaler perfectly for the nurse but again struggled to take it when we got home... and then he got a temperature.

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On Monday we failed to see much improvement.  Nate was sleepy, had a fever and just was not himself so off we went to A&E again.  They were concerned that he had gone downhill since the day before so started nebulisers again and he was diagnosed as having bronchiolitis.  After 3 nebulisers and a dose of steroids they were still struggling to keep his oxygen sats up and his temperature down.  They decided to admit my littlest boy.  Once he got a bed on the children's ward they scheduled a chest x-ray which came back clear and they kept him on oxygen pretty much the whole night.  I got approx. an hours sleep the whole night because he was nebulised every couple of hours... or would knock the oxygen mask off and suddenly his monitor would beep.  James came back to hospital the next day to let me go home and sleep.

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When I got back to the hospital, Nate looked a little brighter and we were hopeful that he was getting better.  We were hopeful we would get to take him back home the next day... but then it went downhill again.

James stayed in hospital that night... and for that he gets mega husband points.  He sent me a message at 11pm to let me know that Nate had to be nebulised again because his sats dipped to very low levels, which meant taking him home the next day was no longer on the cards and we were right back at the start.

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I spent another day at the hospital with little Nate... he was in good spirits and wanted to be active and out of his cot, but anytime he did that he would get breathless again.  I'd picked him up a couple of new toys and that cheered him up a little and my mum brought him a portable dvd player so he could watch Bob The Builder in bed.  The biggest upside of having a child in hospital sick is that they want to snuggle a lot.  

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Nate got a bunch of visitors at hospital that evening but we had to greet them all in the canteen because only parents are allowed in the children's ward.  His Uncle Ryan and Ryan's girlfriend Laura, his Nanny and his Grandma and James and Ollie.  He was full of beans and so happy to see everyone.  James stayed another night and I went home and spent some time with Ryan and Laura.

I woke to wonderful news on Thursday morning... Nate didn't need nebulised at all and his sats stayed up all night.  We spent the morning waiting for the Doctor to come round.  She decided to keep him on Ventolin syrup because it was proving too difficult to get him to take the inhaler. We were so relieved by this.  By 2pm we were home and Nate was settled and snuggled up in bed.

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A fortnight on and Nate is back to his happy and healthy self.  Apparently this isn't a symptom of him having asthma... this could just be a one off... viral... and I hope this is the case.  I have bad asthma and I would hate for him to have the same as me.


Ten Things I Hope To Accomplish This Summer

{1}  Teach Ollie to swim and get Nate used to the water.

Last summer my mum got Ollie some swimming lessons for his birthday and he really enjoyed his one week crash course.  We haven't been swimming a lot but I'd like to change that.  Nate's very uncomfortable around water, even in the bath he would rather sit on his hunkers than on his butt.  I'd like to get Ollie swimming properly and show Nate that water isn't scary.

{2} Pass my driving test.

Last summer I took my driving test unsuccessfully 3 times.  On the 3rd attempt/ fail, I promptly gave up and decided driving was not something I wanted to do.  Roll on this summer and I've been taking lessons since February.  I NEED to get my test.  I need to have the use of our car.  I so badly need that independence.  My test is booked.  For my 4th attempt.  But it is top secret as to when the test takes place.  Even James won't know that I am doing it.

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{3} Tick some things of our house to-do list.

I'm not being overly ambitious and instead of trying to cross everything off, I'd just like to complete a couple of things... to know we are getting somewhere with the house!  The list is pretty long.

{4} Get fit.

I'm going to be 30 in a couple of weeks.  It's all downhill from here haha so I need to be accountable for my health and whip my body into some shape or other.  I've started running and am going with the C25K workout plan... combine that with yoga and I should be fit come September right?  I've also registered to take part in The Color Run Belfast in August.  Insanely excited about that!

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{5} Travel.

This goal will be so much more easily attained if I pass my driving test.  We aren't going abroad this summer so I'd love to see more of this little island that we live on.  We should just close our eyes and point to somewhere on the map of Ireland and GO.  Why not?

{6} Make a summer bucket list with the boys.

We need to make a list of everything we would like to do together this summer... zoo, farm, Bangor day trip, go camping, go geocaching etc.... 

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{7} Spend time outside EVERY day.

The weather here in Northern Ireland is so unpredictable.  Our summers often leave a lot to be desired weather wise, it rains a lot... but we don't melt in the rain.  The boys are at home together for the next 8 weeks and they are full of energy, I need to get them outside every day to burn off some of that... but also because being outside is just good for you.  So come rain or shine, you will find us walking Marcie, rambling in the forest or at the playpark.

{8} Get into a routine.

Since the start of this year, I've been in a funk routine wise.  I have no idea why... but with Ollie off school for the next 2 months and with a lot of time on my hands, I figure now is a good time to get a proper routine in place for me and for the family.

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{9} Do what the boys want to do.

Every day I have housework to do... and two little boys who would much rather I do something else with them.  I'm going to make more of an effort to keep on top of my chores better so that I can say yes to the boys more.  I want to do whatever they choose and spend more time on their level playing PROPERLY.

{10} Work on my blog.

Self explanatory haha.  I've neglected my blog quite a lot the past few months.  With more time on my hands this summer, I want to get it back up to scratch.