Sunday, 20 May 2018

My Sunday Photo - Week 177 The Paris hotel, Las Vegas.

Peter and I have had many trips to Las Vegas. I think it is probably my most favourite place in the world to visit. I'd live there if we could. From the architecture to the lifestyle, endless buffets, entertainment. Las Vegas is truly a 24/7 city built to entertain from the moment you step off the airplane.

Work on the Paris Las Vegas started in 1997 and took two years to complete. Originally designed to be a full size replica of the Eiffel Tower itself, it had to be scaled back to 1:2 scale due to interference with nearby McCarran Airport.

It opened in 1999, is 164.4ms tall. The hotel has 33 floors and 2916 rooms. We've stayed in many of the hotels on and off the Las Vegas Strip. We opted to stay in the Paris hotel on this visit, as we'd not long returned from Paris, France and had dinner up the actual Eiffel Tower itself.



 View from our hotel room on the 5th floor.

Our hotel room



Like all hotels in Las Vegas, each one contains a casino, restaurants and shopping experiences, usually located on 3 different floors. In the casinos there are no doors, no windows and no clocks, so no way of knowing if it's day time or night time.

The ceilings are decorated with outdoors scenes and the interior is designed to look like you're in a street, outdoors, including real trees.



Since moving to Dubai in 2014, I've been fascinated by the speed at which they construct buildings here and have been following the progress of several construction projects and exploring some of the more unusual building designs.

I'm featuring these buildings in Dubai and from a around the world for My Sunday Photo for 2018.

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower


Saturday, 19 May 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 20

Not long now till I'm back in the UK. Three weddings this year and a few trips with my mum planned to look forward to.

It's about time we had something to look forward to. There have been so many deaths in the family and with friends since July 2017.

Ramadan started this week so it's back to finding out where I can eat and drink during the day if I'm not at home. You can read more about Ramadan in Dubai here.

Wedding outfit sorted and I'm happy with my 'Mother of the Groom' choice.

Most of this week has been dealing with the aftermath of a sand storm, it gets everywhere.

133 Sunday woke and spent the day in a sandstorm, thick heavy dust in the air, up my nose, in my ears, my hair, between my toes, we didn't see the sun for 24 hours. The sand got everywhere and the whole house will need de sanding. The garden and balconies look like mini beaches, there is that much sand I could fill a bucket or two. Had a visit to the post office and stocked up on some English treats I've been missing.

134 Monday More sand issues, swept the balconies. Got up at 5am to do some gardening, walk the dog and get the household chores out the way. By 10am I was drinking coffee, did a food shop finally put the glassware back into it's cabinet (over a week later)

135 Tuesday Woke up to an empty water tank, air in the pump. I had an early start to the dog park,  managed to wash Bob with what was left of the water in the outside tap. I also rearranged the kitchen cupboards to make stuff more accessible. The pool has been closed due to the sand while they tried to clean it, so it was nice to go for a swim and have a shower. Had my bone marrow biopsy results back, no cancer, no bone marrow disease, no idea what is wrong with me still.

136 Wednesday Took advantage of a cool morning and took Bob out at 5am for an hours walk. Met with Heidi at MOE as the locals call it, to be fair saying Mall of the Emirates is a bit of a mouthful. Sounds like a dream place to visit doesn't it, but trust me, all I do these days now summer is here, is visit malls.

137 Thursday Ramadan started. Finally cleaned the rest of the sand out of the house and garden, sat and watched The cat in the hat. Peter has reduced hours for the month, we had an early dinner and watched TV, both dozing on the sofa and an early night.

138 Friday started the day by lounging around and watching TV, the afternoon and evening was spent on a Yacht along the coast line and dropping anchor for a swim. I got a little travel sick, didn't see much of the views, but did enjoy the swimming.

139 Saturday A day of nothing planned. Peter went out to do a food shop and sort out his UK/Istanbul flight for July. I watched TV and tried to sort out a watering system for the garden.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - Revisiting the CN Tower in Toronto and my passion for glass floors and tall buildings.

TweensTeensBeyond, TriumphantTales, BestBootForward, PoCoLo - I've been wondering if Camilla has had this much bother with choosing her outfit as Mother of the Groom and the issues we face as step parents and our role in our step children weddings.

I can't help it but I worry about whether too many parents worry too much about their children's milestones, labelling them and whether in the grand scheme of things as a parent it actually matters in the long run.









Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A step parents role at a child's wedding. I wonder how it is for Camilla?

Child 2 is getting married next month. He's 28. I've been step mum since he was 10.

Child 4 is getting married next year. He's 23. My husband has been his step dad since he was 5.

We are a family of 7. We lived as a family of 7. I consider myself to be mother to 5, my husband considers himself to be a father to 5 also.

The children refer to us as 'the parents' They refer to one another as 'their siblings'

Child 2 is getting married soon, his wedding has caused me a few issues, but only because we're living so far away, we're not involved with their planning, timing, costs. This is being managed by the bride and her family and I'm ok with that. We handed over some money, but have no idea of the costs incurred, so no idea if we should've given more. We've been involved, taking our son for his suit fitting and recommending a photographer. My biggest 'drama' has been deciding what to wear, as the only information I have is the bridal colours to avoid and that the Mother of the Bride has her outfit. But I don't know what colour or style it is.
I'd bought a couple of outfits, but wasn't happy with them. I wanted something that said 'Mother of the Groom' not guest. Last weekend with Peter's guidance I finally bought something I was happy with.



I'm assuming Peter and and I will sit at the top table. We will find out 2 days before the wedding when we arrive in the UK, what time the dress rehearsal is and assume on the day we'll know the rest of the plans, when we ask.

Child 4's wedding is completely different in the planning stages but it throws up another set of issues for us. We have 18 months notice of their wedding instead of 6 months with child 2 for starters, so we can book flights to arrive a week before hand and there will be several trips over before then. We are unable to attend their engagement party.

We've met and spent a lot of time with 4a's parents. Peter hasn't met 2a's parents yet.

I know the weddings are about our sons and their future wives, not about us, but with the family dynamics and distances involved, it does throw up some issues.

Child 4 and the family have booked the hotel and secured accommodation for all the family. Unfortunately this means his father's side also. Where Peter and I don't have any problems with this and we all get on very well. I really didn't fancy sitting at the top table with my ex husband, while Peter sat where? So they've done away with the top table and taken every one's needs into consideration. I don't actually think his father would have given this any thought.

In the modern day, with so many people having complicated families, I'm surprised there hasn't been a trend to move away from the top table arrangements.

I'm wonder how things were in the planning of Harry and Meghan's wedding this weekend. I don't follow the Royal Family but I am aware Meghan has a complicated family set up with step parents and step siblings. Obviously Harry's mother Diana, isn't there, so they won't be facing the same challenges as we are with child 4's wedding.






Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Stop fretting about parenting and labelling it

I am a mother to 5 children now aged 30. 28, 26, 23 and 19 (I have 2 step children I inherited at age 10 and 11)


I see so many blog posts about the right and wrong way to care for your child. At what age they should be doing something and giving every stage of their lives a label and trying to ensure their child is not just average, but leading the way, a future leader.

Too many of the bloggers call themselves 'parenting experts' and have large followers of parents trying to achieve the same goals in life for themselves and their children. many of these bloggers also write posts about 'Mum shaming'

Expert advice on potty training, because they're on their second child and now qualify as an expert. The benefits to your child from 'baby wearing' the baby lead weening debate v's the force feeding your child with a spoon and the risks they may face later on in life. Co-sleeping, controlled crying.

How to choose the right school, 'is my child taking part in enough after school activities?' to 'Is your child taking part in too many after school activities'

'My child has limited screen time and then it's only education games they play'

'The benefits of allowing your 2 year old to have their own Ipad'

And healthy snacks for kids, fussy eaters, breast v's bottle and the list goes on.

I prefer to read and write in the style of experience. Sharing my experiences/stories of what happened, what we did and how we resolved issues. I hope I don't/never come across as telling people what and how to do things.

Every stage of parenting is a new experience and the memories of the last stage that were so important and time consuming get forgotten.

Memories:

I know the dates my kids were born on, the day and the time is slightly hazy, I'd have to consult their red books.

The first child on a Friday, in the morning. The second child after Eastenders so a Tuesday or a Thursday (it was only on twice a week back then) the 3rd child? I have no idea.

Length of stay in hospital, 3 days, 1 night and home the same day. All induced, first child 10 days late, other 2 on their due dates.

No idea of the name of the midwife, not even sure if it's written down anywhere, but I do know the name of the hospitals.

1st day at school? Relief on both occasions for the first two as there was a younger sibling at home. Last child's 1st day? Freedom and back to work full time. I don't recall how I actually felt, I probably cried, I tend to, but I don't actually recall these emotions.

School chosen? The one over the road.
After school clubs, whatever they wanted.
Out of school clubs? Mainly football, cubs, gym, swimming.

Yes there were hassles, I was a full time taxi driver

Extra clothing and equipment and school uniform bought? 2nd hand shop, almost every time and hand me downs? I learnt some expensive mistakes.

School shoes? Woolworths.

Involvement in school? Too many wasted years on the PTA, too much fretting over baking cakes, reading records, dress up days, who got picked for the school play/team.

Party bags and who to invite to parties. In the village hall, the garden, the park, the odd cinema or bowling trip with a handful of friends.

We had no social media back them. I didn't even own a mobile phone and what internet we had was dial up on a desk top computer that took half an hour to load.

Our only competition/interference?

Our parents and other school mums in the village in which we lived in.


What I do remember and feel is important about raising our 5 children is the following:

How we listened to them and took their concerns seriously.

How we sat as a family at the table for dinner every night, even if only 2 of us were in.

How we set boundaries in regards to bed times, no tv's in rooms, mobile phone weren't a right of passage.

How we encouraged that an A for effort was all that mattered and reminded them that even if they failed an exam/test that they had worked their hardest towards it.

How we didn't have expectations of them attending University, but even before education was made compulsory to the age of 18, as a child they did not have the right at 16 to decide they were just going to sit at home all day, doing nothing.

The importance of part time jobs and earning pocket money.

Telling the children 'no' from time to time.

Teaching them the importance of understanding they wouldn't be picked every time for the school play/team and if they wanted something they needed to work harder for it.

Being last was OK, we're not all good at everything.

Letting them make decisions from informed and limited choices.

Taking them to visit grandparents, encouraging their relationship with the absent parent and families, regardless of how that made us feel.

Did we get it right as parents?

There have been complaints now all 5 children have reached adulthood, about what they saw was fair and not fair, about why 1 child was allowed to attend an activity that they couldn't do. It was probably about behaviour, family dynamics, costs.

We often talk about some of the 'moments' we had when things were really bad, stressful, when money was tight and I made costumes/outfits for school events that the child involved had a melt down and refused to wear a cardboard box, I'd decorated as one of the mister men to school.

We often recall some of the biggest strops, where a child wandered off and disappeared for hours in a foreign town because we refused to buy them a certain toy and they called me a 'crap mummy for the rest of the holiday.

All 5 of our kids now live independently, jobs, girlfriends, finances and one will be married in just under 2 weeks.

All our kids still speak to us, visit (at great expense as we live in Dubai) make an effort to come together when we're in the UK, occasionally ask us for guidance and support. They rarely ask for money, but we offer it. For the wedding, for the last child's deposit and first months rent.


Regrets:

When I look back at the top photo, all I see is a snap shot in time. I don't relate to how those small children became the adults they are today. I see them as they are now in the photo above. Well rounded adults with a future. I didn't know or couldn't predict their future back them. I didn't know we'd end up living abroad, leaving the 3 eldest ones in the UK as they'd already reached 18 and left home. All I can say is they developed their own personalities, made their own choices, failed and succeeded in all the things I mentioned above.

But I also didn't know at the time that at what age they reached certain milestones, were weaned, potty trained, sat up, crawled or walked wasn't going to matter in the long run, they are who they are now and if they want to make changes, it's up to them. But I can continue to be their mum, support and guide them, lead by example and encourage that A for effort.













Sunday, 13 May 2018

My Sunday Photo - Week 176 The CN Tower Toronto

As you may have gathered my now from My Sunday Photo's this year, I have a bit of a thing for construction projects, tall buildings and glass floors. You'll find a list at the end of this post of other places I've visited around the world.

The CN Tower in Toronto was opened on 26th june 1976 and until September 2007 it was the tallest structure in the world until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was constructed.

I made my visit in July 2015.

The CN stands for Canadian National Railway who wanted to build a large TV and radio communication tower to demonstrate the strength of the Canadian industry.

There are now different categories to determine the official heights of buildings around the world. Freestanding, structure, building and tower. The CN building is a tower of which it held the record for being the tallest in the world for over 3 decades.

At 553.33m tall, with 1,1776 and 114 flights to the top.

There are 3 observation decks. Skypod at 447m. Indoor observation level at 346m and outdoor observation area at 342m.With 360 views of the City.





The world's first glass floor was also opened on June 26th 1994 and is accessed at 342m.



Load tests are performed annually on the 2 1/2 inch thick glass and measures 23.8 square meters. It is 5 times stronger than it needs to be and should 35 moose ever ascend the tower it would support their weight.

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower

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