Monday 30 September 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 39 Babies and a wedding

There's a new addition to the family last week, so here's a brief guide to my numbering, lettering system I use.

Someone commented that they thought it was sad that I referred to my nieces children as the Things, so if you're not familiar, read on and find out why.

I used to work in Child Protection in the early days (2008-2010) of Social Media and one of my roles was to guide sports clubs on how to deal with using images and names online. Around 2011-12 our youngest said no more photos, followed by requests for 'if you blog about me, can I read it first?' Nowadays the kids aren't bothered and will often tag themselves in my photos. The eldest child is in care, but we still post photos of her, she is part of our family.

But I decided I should give them blog names and they became numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. Their girlfriends/wives get a letter added to the number. We currently have 1, 2 and 2a, 3, 4 and 4a and 5. Last week 2 and 2a had a baby girl, she is now 2b or as I now refer to them now as the 2's.

My niece has 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl. I ask permission every time before I post online and they are collectively known as the Things. Thing 1, 2, 3 and 4. I'm a big Dr Seuss fan, as is the eldest so with permission from my niece and her husband I gave them the names after the Thing 1 and 2 from Cat in the Hat. I address cards, presents to Thing (insert no) they love it, they knew straight away who their easter eggs and presents are from.

I have another niece who occasionally appears on my blog or social media who is 8 and more recently another Great Nephew on my ex husbands side, who is now 3 months old. I initially asked permission to post online, I now tell mum where I'm posting. These don't have nicknames, I must think of something, but with the number of additional family members I'm starting to confuse myself.

Child 4 and 4a got married on Saturday and keeping with the social media theme, we're waiting till they post the pictures online before we share.

265 Sunday Pottered around the flat, visited Thing 1, 2, 3 and 4, then up to mums to see sister, niece and nephew, then off for a visit to the 2's. I was early so stopped at a coffee shop to discover my friend stood in the middle of a field, fencing it out ready to move her horses into, so I helped out for a bit.

266 Monday Nail bar (wedding prep) a visit to the 2's and off to see the Things, finished packing, bath and bed. Cuddled 3 babies in one day.

267 Tuesday A visit to the 2's, packing, general flaffing around and cleaning, dinner, bath and an early night.

268 Wednesday Dropped car hire, flew to Belfast, collected by 4 and 4a. Stayed at their new house for the night. Went into Belfast to collect the suit hire and some last minute shopping.

269 Thursday Peter flew direct to Dublin, collected car hire and drove to Belfast to meet me, on my return from visiting the Manor House to drop the additional table decorations. out for dinner with the in-laws.

270 Friday Collected Peter's mother from the airport and made our way over to Enniskillen where the wedding is being held. We transported the wedding and bridesmaid dresses to the hotel and kept them in our room for the night. We had dinner and a few drinks.

271 Saturday A leisurely morning and out to meet my mum. sister and family who were staying nearby, from 1pm we started moving dresses, collecting suits and button holes before getting dressed and ready for a 3pm start. It was a beautiful wedding. I'll share photos next week.

On the blog this week:

My advice for the expectant grandparents and social media.

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Tuesday 24 September 2019

Advice for the expectant grandparents and social media.

I'm was struggling so hard not to shout from the rooftops 'we have a granddaughter' It wasn't our news to share and I chanced my luck walking up town with a giant pink balloon with 'it's a girl' written all over it.

Our son and DIL didn't want visitors at the hospital other than grandparents and siblings and as soon as you tell one person, there's a risk they'll stick something on facebook to congratulate them or tag you in a grandparent meme. They wanted to make the announcement in their own time and make sure they told all their family and friends first.

We were all provided with a list of people we could tell when the baby was born, but not to say she'd gone into labour, as no one wanted to spend 2 days replying with 'promise to let you know when the baby is born'

When labour started and people were asking 'any sign of the baby yet?' I was bought a bit of time as her due date was the 20th and the baby arrived on the 16th and I could honestly say 'no, not yet' however at the time of writing the baby was 2 days old and I hated lying to friends and I'm pretty sure with the number of visits I've made to Gloucester this week (everyday) people are starting to guess.

I wish now when she told everyone she was pregnant that I'd added 2 weeks to the due date, that would have fended off a lot of questions this week.

I am extremely privileged to have such a wonderful relationship with my son and DIL and over the past week have spent a lot of time with the in laws and we all seem to be getting along very well.

My DIL will say 'no thanks' she will message me and say a time/date isn't convenient and will suggest an alternate one. She asks for advice, she listens if I suggest something and will politely say 'no thanks' or will tell me exactly what she would like from me.

As soon as she was admitted to hospital on Sunday night to have the baby, I was ready. I had nappies, pads, food, drinks etc in the car in case she needed anything. I had a book and snacks for anyone waiting and plenty of change for the drinks machines and car park. I headed over to the hospital to visit Child 1 for the afternoon and on my way home popped into the hospital to say 'good luck' they seemed pleased to see me.

There was a Baby group messaging on FB, which 2 and 2a updated us all throughout the day. Her parents, Peter and I and her brother and sister. I opted to stay away from the hospital during the day, but was nearby with child 1 again returning to the hospital at 5pm and staying until the baby was born.

I was very aware not to step on her mother's toes, there was no need to worry, but I didn't return to the hospital until her parents arrived.

I spent some time in the delivery room in the later stages when the contractions were every 2-3 minutes apart, but had no intention of staying in the delivery suite and her sister and I left to spend the next 3 hours sitting on chairs in the corridor, watching the ward doors waiting for the announcement that came in the form of a message on FB 'SHE is here' They'd opted not to know the sex of the baby in advance.

Once our son emerged from the room, he called his father, his gran and then I made the other calls to his brothers, aunts, cousins who were on the approved contact list.

The baby is now a week old. I had a day off from visiting the hospital as I knew the other Grandmother had that day off work and between us we've been to the house everyday to look after the influx of visitors, siblings, friends, great grandparents. I'm off to Belfast now for a week as another son is getting married, then my husband is returning with me to meet his grandchild for the first time.

I have worried I may be making a nuisance of myself, that I might outstay my welcome and very concerned I'd say something that might not be wanted, as in advice. But I don't have to worry, friends with new babies 6 months and 3 months have been around to offer more up to date and relevant advice about a whole range of things.

I asked permission yesterday to make a facebook post to announce we are now grandparents and used a photo of one of the cards we were sent. I've shared the news with friends online in private messages and with the odd photo in messenger and the babies name. Our son wants to know what business is it of people he doesn't know, but our DIL has met a lot of our friends and appreciates their value in our lives and their genuine interest in our family as we do of theirs.

Saturday 21 September 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 38 We became Grandparents

So this week we became grandparents for the first time to the most gorgeous baby girl. Couldn't be more proud of our DIL than we are now, oh yes best include our son.

So that's child 2 and 2a now parents and until we find a suitable blog name, it's 2b. She was born Monday night around 9pm, I sat outside the ward with 2a's sister who I'd only met twice before. 1st time at the wedding and second time last week at the baby shower. We had a blast watching the maternity room door for 3 hours, waiting for the announcement of a royal baby, instead we got a facebook message. I do hope 2a thinks it's funny that we messaged her throughout her delivery (unanswered of course) complaining about our waiting time and numb bums. I was allowed the briefest of sneaky visits before we all left the hospital, me, her mum and dad and sister, at midnight.

Apart from the fact I walked through town on Tuesday morning with the biggest pink helium balloon, everything was being kept quiet until they made their own public announcement after telling family and friends.

So here's what I told you I was doing this week, it's true. I've added in brackets the baby visits etc.

I'm now carrying a pack lunch with me, the most I can get when I'm out that's wheat free is a cake in Caffe Nero and Costa, can't grab a sandwich/wrap on the on go or fast food, so it's either supermarket sushi or hospital cheese and pickle packs and a yogurt with crisps for lunch most of this week.

258 Sunday Off to meet twitter friends of 10 years for coffee in Newport, Mum had a reaction to some new medication so I got her checked out at the local hospital. After dropping her home I popped into see child 2 and 2a (on the maternity ward)

£5.90 for this at Nevill Hall and I couldn't eat the bread or the sausage rolls, even if I had wanted to.

259 Monday Took mum to the doctors then headed off to Gloucester for a bit of shopping and visit child 1 at home, then called in to see child 2 and 2a (on the labour ward)

260 Tuesday Walked Thing 1 and Thing 2 to school, then took mum for an appointment in Usk, bit of shopping (giant helium balloon, pink of course) coffee, then off to visit child 2 and 2a.

261 Wednesday Walked Thing 1 and Thing 2 to school, they tried to con me with a trip to Greggs and Thing 2 didn't stop talking the whole way and hugged every tree and pole on route. Coffee shop visit and say bye to the lovely Manager, Stacey who was so kind to me when my father died 2 years ago. I spent the day tidying, food shopping, wrapping christmas gifts, a friend called in for a natter and I watched TV and had an early night.

Thing 3 wanted his photo taken, no pictures of Thing 4 the new baby as I didn't want to confuse people with them thinking she was 2b.

262 Thursday 2b home from hospital today. I met a friend for coffee in a nearby town, called into my old neighbourhood for a catch up and visited 2, 2a and 2b and then had dinner at a friends house.

263 Friday Took mum for a routine hospital appointment in Newport, called back in the old neighbourhood to catch up with another friend and then it was back to visit The 2's.

264 Saturday Up early and Peter and I finally got the video chat working again, it's been playing up all week and it's vital for us as a family to be able to communicate freely and for him to meet his granddaughter until he can fly over in person.

My nephew, his partner and their 3 month old son, my great nephew live over the road from 2 and 2a, so as the house filled with visitors I popped over to have some cuddles with this one.

Nothing on the blog this week, I've been a little busy. Next week Peter joins me in Northern Ireland for 4 and 4a's wedding.

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Saturday 14 September 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 37 Dubai to Wales

Struggling with the 3 hour time difference and waking up at 4am, there's no wifi in the flat and the coffee shop doesn't open till 8am. I've spent the time writing #postcardsofkindness, parceling up nearly 1000 postcards to send off to various primary schools and groups around the UK for them to write. I inherited these postcards from my late father 2 years ago, along with his stamp collection. I'm carefully researching the unfranked stamps to make sure they're not worth more than their face value before using them to send the cards in the post.

Loving the weather here, been wearing a short sleeve dress and flip flops last 2 days, had the windows open in the flat at night and been outside as much as possible. You have no idea what it feels like to be able to wander around freely outdoors.

Catching up with my friends and family also. Everyone I visit lives in Monmouth or the Forest of Dean our former home from 1994-2002. Everyone I visit round here I've known since then, apart from the mum of the twins who I met the night my father died and was the most amazing support to me and child 5 that night and the months afterwards.

I'm so busy catching up with gossip and lives I forget to take photos.

251 Sunday Off to the dog park to meet up with a few friends that I won't see for the next 6-8 weeks, went for a swim in the afternoon and did the last washing and ironing before I left.

The road moved overnight, one lane to the left back where we started 2 years ago before they started to build the new metro system. At one point the road curved in front of the buildings on the right.

252 Monday Hairdressers for a cut and a gel mani and pedi, getting ready for the wedding on the 28th. Dropped some donations off with a friend to hand around her community, an early dinner and bed.

Sunset over Al Furjan, the scene in front of me was empty 2 years ago.

253 Tuesday Off to the airport for a 7am flight. Went straight to my niece's house to visit The Things and meet Thing 4 for the first time. Grabbed some food on the walk back to the flat and unpacked having an early night.

254 Wednesday A lazy morning and coffee shop visit, collected mum and off to Child 2 and 2a where child 1 came to visit with her carers, then off to 2's baby shower for the evening with family and friends. Baby due on the 20th.

255 Thursday Spent the morning with 2a, visited my nephew, partner and their 3 month old baby. Coffee out late afternoon, visited the Things and an early night.

256 Friday Picked my friend up and off to her daughters and granddaughter for the day, dropped her at work in the afternoon and had a walk round the town where I went to school in Ross-on-Wye. Popped into to friend, her husband and the twins who live in Monmouth, then spent an hour nattering to a mate on the phone.

Palma violet gin £6.99 in Home Bargains

257 Saturday Off to the Onion Fair in Newent to meet up with some friends, then off to visit 2 and 2a, then calling in at another friends on the way back.

Never tire of this view of Monmouth Castle from the flat.

On the blog this week:
The final part of my road trip to Australia with child 3

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Creating a Garden in the Desert in Summer in Dubai

Summer in Dubai is hot, don't let this fool you. It was 30c at 7am and the fog means you can't actually see more than 500ms.

1pm in the desert and car temp on leaving the dog park. it took 20 mins to get home with air con on and the temp dropped only to 48c, it was actually 44c outside.

And don't forget the humidity

So this all means we don't sit outside in the garden day or night, we go outside only for short periods of time and we shower and change clothes after most trips out.

The garden suffers, surprisingly due to the humidity it means there is lots of moisture in the air and we water late at night.

 Midday sun, in fact most the day there is very little shade

Some shade in the afternoon briefly when the sun is blocked by the house for a few hours

Early morning shade

Despite us living in the desert out cactus does need watering still and we do so with a slow drip feed

I bring the chair pod in for the summer to protect it from the sun and so I can use it

I brought these flowers back with me from the UK, they were from family and friends for my birthday. This is after the flight, sadly the air con in the house meant they didn't make it through the night

Surprise sunflower in the garden on my return

Climbing plants have faired well

Our cactus had a baby

Some rare time outside, but the dog will insist on going out so to ensure he doesn't over heat and I don't forget him, I sit out there with him.

Local date trees. Did you know these palms need 40ltrs of water a day to fruit

The occasional clouds, very rarely does it rain during summer

Been away for 3 weeks, the grass has grown

The sand sweeping is back on again, it's the bane of my life, gets in the house also

Climbing plants need more water than Peter was giving them

The outside/communal areas really need tidying up, but they do provide additional shade for the garden and the house

A thunder storm over head, looked promising but came to nothing, 5km further inland it chucked it down

So there's our garden for the summer, I'm back in the UK now and Peter will join me for the last 3 weeks, there's no one to water the garden so it'll be interesting to see what survives with the humidity levels dropping also