Tuesday, 27 December 2011

New Year Resolutions

So we are coming up to the new year (2012!) and with it the talk of New Year Resolutions. I have always been against the idea, for me the middle of winter is not the best time to be optomistic and start trying to change things. I prefer September, the start of a new school year, the feeling of leaving the summer behind and getting back to business. Also, my birthday is at the start of September so it feels right to say "Ok, now I am .... it is time to grow up and start doing x,y and z"

However, this year I have thought, "Why not? What have I got to lose?"

So, here goes.......

My New Year Resolutions for 2012

  • Get on top of and stay on top of the laundry
  • Declutter our dump of a house
  • Try to establish a bit more of a routine and stick to it
  • Ride more
  • Eat less crap - this is one for the whole family really. While I am good at meal planning for the evening meal, I find that breakfast and lunches can be a bit hit and miss. Both of my children (DS mostly) are horrid when they are hungry, so some proper breakfasts and lunches could (in theory) improve tempers all round.
  • I want to feel slimmer, fitter and healthier (nearly all of the above could help with this)
  • Finish decorating!
  • Be more proactive about my good intentions. I have had a car seat and big bag of stuff ready to give to our local Womens Aid hanging around since the start of the summer. This is not good enough. Good intentions are no use to no one!

I think this is it. It is all achievable, there is no 'run the London Marathon'  for me!  I do love to hear what others are planning for their NYR though.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day

Christmas is over. I don't care what other people say or think on the matter, for me Boxing Day is when the Christmas madness has ended, the hangover if you like. It is the day when you you look around at all the newly aquired stuff and wonder where the hell you are going to put it. The day when you spend more time trying to stuff discarded wrapping, boxes and those annoying twisty bit of plastic wire that are an inevitable part of any toy packging, into an already full to burst wheely bin. The day where eating chocolate for breakfast makes you feel a bit sick and guilty (and yet we do it anyway!)

Even as a child I found Boxing Day a disappointment. The initial excitement over new toys has diminished (usually a couple of small bits have gone missing) and the adults seem much less tolerant of your chocolate fuelled behaviour - of this I am now more than understanding!

We kept back our children's main presents til today, which filled the morning quite nicely, but now we have all hit the slump, DH has had a couple of call outs for work (one of which is going to take a couple of hours) and I am trying to fill the time till lunchtime hiding from my children and their demands of more chocolate.

I am looking forward to when the children are in bed this evening and I can have a lovely long soak in the bath with some yummy new bath stuff. It is going to be a long day....

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Olympia fuelled pony dreams

Occasionally I watch something on telly that is not Cbeebies or Peppa pig. Over the weekend I recorded all of the Olympia Horse Show coverage. So the last couple of days if I have a spare moment (there have been very few!) I have watched it.

I watched the Puissance. For anyone not familliar with this, it is a showjumping class where the horses and riders have to jump a short course of 'easy' jumps followed by the wall. The wall is HUGE. If they get round clear (without any faults) they go through to the next round. This round has one jump and then the wall which has got higher, this keeps going with the wall getting higher each round until there is a winner. Although they cap it at 5 rounds. Apparently the record for a puissance wall jumped clear is 7 foot 10 inches. That is higher than I can actually imagine (being only 5ft3(and a bit)

In my Pony Club days there was a competition we used to do at the Christmas party, called 'Chase me Charlie' where you had one jump that would go up each round. It was very exciting (especially for my naughty pony) I remember jumping over 3ft on my little 12hh dartmoor once, it was possibly the highlight of our winter!

I miss those days filled with ponies. I have spent the last few days daydreaming about summer shows, winter showjumping and dressage and autumn hunter trials.

I have been quite enthusiastic about going to the yard, until I get there and it is raining and everything feels damp, the horses are caked in mud, I have too many layers on to even contemplate getting on a horse and the school is under water.

Perhaps I should start my hugely successful showjumping career in the spring....

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dear Santa

I have mostly been a good girl this year.
Yes, sometimes I get a bit shouty and I am prone to slatternly behaviour, but on the whole I think I deserve some Christmas treats. Any of the following would be gratefully recieved:

  1. A Landrover Discovery and horse trailer
  2. More sleep
  3. A cleaner/nanny/groom Some staff
  4. A balaclava - it gets quite cold up at the yard, I imagine Mrs Claus knits you one every Christmas, being cold at the North Pole and all.
  5. Gloves. Lots and lots of pairs of gloves. I am always leaving them in the wrong coat pocket
  6. A new purse, mine is rubbish and all my money falls out into the bottom of my bag
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt2 on Blu-Ray
  8. Some CDs - the last two Noah and the Whale albums, The Wombats newest album
  9. Some warm long socks
  10. Some nice bath stuff

As you can see, I don't ask for a lot. Merry Christmas to you, Mrs Claus and all the elves

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Christmassy feeling is well and truly back!

We went to the local farm shop today with a couple of friends. Everything was so sparkly and Christmassy, and they had a whole barn dedicated to Christmas stuff.

I bought a couple more presents, a very sparkly wreath for our front door (and it was an absolute bargain) some gold edible glitter, some amazing fruity pot pourri stuff (the trendier stuff, not the dusty stuff in your Grandparents house) and a couple of sequinned bird tree decorations (though technically, these were chosen by the children. Technically)

I am now looking forward to everything christmas has to offer.

Oh, and I am babysitting for a friend tonight, hence all the blog activity.

The Daily Logistics

It is not particularly hard to look after two children and two horses, but you do have to be prepared for some juggling. An average day looks like this:

6.30am(ish) DS wakes up for his morning milk
7am - our alarm goes off, everyone starts getting up, dressed, breakfast etc.
8.40am - leave the house to get DD to preschool, back home just before 9am

DS and I usually try to go to some toddler groups, the market, town or wherever, and try to get some housework done. Fortunately one of the other liveries feeds the horses in the morning and another turns the horses out. Without this help, life would be a damn sight harder!

11.45am - pick DD up from preschool, back home for lunch.
1.30/2pm - we load up into the car and go to the yard.

DS sleeps at this time. I park the car on the yard and he sleeps in his carseat. Sometimes DD will sit and read in the car, but mostly she comes out to 'help' me muck out. She has her own mini wheelbarrow, shovel and broom, so she can play at helping if she wants to, or just fill the barrow with mud (another favourite game!)

I put the sugarbeet on when I first get to the yard (it is KwikBeet, so only takes 10mins to soak) then muck out. Both of mine are on rubber matting and straw. Unlike many people who use rubber matting, I still put a full bed on top.I then refill their water buckets.Then I do the haynets. I hate this job, it is possibly the worst job to do with horses. Unfortunately, with hay being the price it is, I cannot afford for them to waste any, so the nets are non negotiable.

After the nets, I sweep up, do the feeds, then get the horses in. All 7 of them some days. This is the downside to having someone feeding and turning out, I return the favour by getting them in.

I pick out both of my two's feet, straighten rugs and on a good day try to get one of them exercised.

At the moment they are going out onto woodchip turnout due to the mud, so poo picking is not on the list of jobs, but when on the grass this is another job to be done, daily if possible.

I usually get home around 4pm, put on Cbeebies, make everyone a drink and a snack and try to have a 15min sit down, then I start dinner, do more laundry, try to play with the children for while, and write my list for the next day. We usually have dinner around 6pm(ish) then kids bath, stories, teeth brushing etc then kids in bed for around 7/7.30pm

Then DH and I try to clear up the sitting room of toys, light a fire, clear up all the mess from dinner (believe me there is a lot of mess!) load up the dishy, more laundry, any other jobs that need doing (birthday cards, forms, credit card bills etc) and then we slump in front of the telly.

We are usually in bed by 10pm

This is an average day, and it seems to work ok, but there is not a lot of room for manouvre. For example, the other day DD went to a friends after preschool, the mum had to be back at the school for 3pm to pick up her older children so could drop DD off then. For this to be possible I either had to go to the horses early (getting them all in earlier than they are used to and one of them can be a bugger to catch!) or go later than usual and risk DS falling asleep at home and running out of daylight. In the end I agreed to to pick DD up at 2.15pm which was fine but meant the girls got very little time to play after having their lunch. Another example is if you have been up all night with the children, you cannot sleep when they have their nap, the horses cannot be put off. Not big things, nor important things, but things other people seem to take for granted, if you see what I mean? I imagine it is similar to people who work a couple of hours a week - no one else realises how important it is that things run to routine just so you can fit these hours in.

Of course, if really needed, the horses can wait til someone else can do them, but I'm talking about car breakdowns, hospital trips or planned in advance things.

I will often tell people who are thinking of getting a horse the bad bits, not that I am trying to put them off or give them a negative view, but because if they are thinking of getting a horse then they are already aware of all the good bits. Someone on Mumsnet recently told a poster who was thinking of getting their own horse, something like "Try going outside early every morning in the cold to sweep up leaves or something for an hour before even thinking about getting breakfast, properly dressed etc, then see if you are ready"

Says it all really, we must be mad

Sometimes I amaze myself

with my stupidity!  Yesterday I managed to turn half of my post yellow. No idea how/why this happened, but I really am not very technologically minded. But today I fixed it! Apparently I had turned the text background colour to yellow (obviously) so Hurray!

Friday, 9 December 2011

I have already hit the Christmas slump, Bah Humbug

I love Christmas. Well, I love the idea of it, the reality generally is a bit crap.

In my head I have this Kirstie Allsop version of things, beautiful homemade presents, lots of jolly gatherings where people have so much fun! A huge family Christmas meal, lots of sparkle (tastefully done of course) and no tat.

The reality is DH has to work odd hours over most of the festive period, meaning that the one big family gathering is usually missed. It means crappy work Christmas party, where you struggle to find things to say to people you hardly know, too much money spent on crap no one needs or actually wants, trying to get round to see everyone before Christmas day, and invariably upsetting someone.

Every year I try to be more organised, tell myself that this year it will be different, I will have a sparkling, wonderful time, we will be inundated with invitations to jolly gatherings that we will actually go too, I will have made so many of the Christmas gifts and decorations and everyone will be amazed and delighted.

Not this year. This year I have had enough. I have tried to get DD involved with the build up to Christmas by doing crafts, explaining what Christmas is about etc, and she is excited but I don't think she really gets what all the fuss is about - sensible really.

Add to this the guilt. We get our children one main present each from us, a small present each from each other and a stocking. They don't get loads from other people but I think they get plenty. But then you go onto Facebook/talk to friends and you realise that their child has got about £150 worth of 'main' presents as well as their stockings (which are stuffed with more expensive presents) Each to their own, but then you start wondering if  you are denying your darling children. Which is madness.

Anyway, right now I have had enough of Christmas, I would quite like it to all be over. Some snow (ok, a lot of snow suitably deep for sledging) would be nice though ....

Monday, 5 December 2011

Lemsip is great

Yes it tastes a bit vile, but somehow that makes it work better.

This lurgy I have had really has been rubbish. I have ulcer type things on my tonsils (which are huge) and I am now on day 2 of a mostly liquid diet. This makes me feel grumpy, very grumpy indeed.

Last night we had a roast dinner, I had mash potato instead of roast, no meat, some carrots, the soggiest yorkshire pudding I could find and a gallon of gravy.  It just felt so wrong. On the plus side, it may help me lose a couple of pounds before the christmas parties....

Back to my Lemsip ad the prospect of more mash potato for dinner.

Friday, 2 December 2011

So, apparently Mary didn't go to Bethlehem on a donkey....

She went in a car, not just any car, a pink one. This is what DD told me this morning.

I have done an 'Activity' Advent calender for DD (DS mostly just gets a chocolate coin) Yesterday, being the first day, we read a children's version of the Christmas Story. To be honest I didn't think DD had taken any of it in, having been preoccupied by a chocolate coin, so I was surprised how much info she could give me when I asked her if she remembered this morning. Obviously the mode of transport wasn't one of the details she remembered.

Today was Playmobil Mary and Joseph.

My advent treats? Yesterday was 45mins without my children, today is a lurgy. A sore throat, woolley head, achy bones and a temp of 38.9. Probably caught from that known hotbed of disease, playgroup one of the children.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I am knackered and I want to have a moan about it

Like completely, bone achingly exhausted. The sort where you actually want to cry. But I shan't.

DH is having his busiest period at work, not helped by a trip abroad this week, so it has felt like we haven't seen him and last sunday seems like it never really happened. DD (Darling Daughter) is just 4yrs old and at preschool every morning, and it is coming to the end of her first full term doing every morning. She is tired, she is grumpy, she looks peaky, she either argues with everything or mumbles in reply depending on what time of day it is. DS (Darling Son) who is 15months is quite jolly, but teething again, which is upsetting his sleep patterns.

So, DH is working stupid hours, DD is being quite hard work, DS is waking up in the night again, not going to sleep very well in the first place and waking early, and to top it all off, our next door neighbour, who is a lovely old lady but quite deaf and with a yappy jack russell dog, is obviously falling asleep with her (loud) music on at night which means that we can still hear bloody old fashioned fairground type music at 4am. Although last night was opera, which was at least a bit of variety.

I used to be able to sleep anywhere. I would rarely oversleep, but I would need an alarm to wake me. Since having the children I am a very light sleeper, which apparently is very common. This is not great when DH frequently gets called out in the night.

So, last night, despite having a late night, already being exhausted from having a completely mad day and then a few drinks I hardly slept. I think I saw every hour. At 6.20am, I decided enough was enough, so I got up, and did some tidying. DD didn't wake til 7am and DS (having been up for half an hour at 3.30) decided he was now very tired and I had to get him up at 7.30 so he could have breakfast.

One of my 'Mum' friends, said "Make sure you get a nap this afternoon while DS sleeps"

There is one problem with this, the horses. Whilst I adore spending time up at the yard, on some days it can feel like you are wading through treacle - like today.

Anyway, moan over. The children are fast asleep, I am going to leave the mess that has sprung up from nowhere throughout the day, have a soak in the bath and go to bed (possibly with earplugs!)

Good night!

Monday, 28 November 2011

A Horse Filled Weekend

I am still on a post horsey filled weekend high! This weekend I have clipped both the Mare and Gelding, and they both look quite smart (well, as though they belong to someone anyway) I have given the stables a good muck out too, lots of lovely clean straw, then had a sort through the old rugs.

DH (Darling Husband - I have resorted to abbreviations) and I then had a fun hack, thanks to a lovely girl on the yard who offered to look after the kids for an hour. I wouldn't say the horses were on their best behaviour, but they were really enjoying themselves. There is a fine line between having a bit of fun and being naughty, and they stayed the right side of it (just, in the case of the Mare who had to have several bucks!) We figured out that the poor Gelding hadn't been sat on for a month! Poor boy had a cut on his frog (his foot, for anyone who may be reading this and not familiar with horsey terminology) that had got a bit of pus in and he was quite sore for a while, then we had our holiday and before we know it a month had passed. He was an angel, yes he was bright and a bit on tippy toes, but definitely the better behaved of the two (yes Darling Mare, I am looking at you) so called lively ex-racehorse!

So, despite having slightly stiff muscles today, I have been full of bounce. This makes the day seem a happy one, and when mummies have happy days, so do the children. A fantastic result.

Now, back to the laundry mountain, also known as Mount Washmore....

Friday, 25 November 2011

Today I am Superwoman!

Seriously, the only thing I can't do is fly.

Today I got up at 6.45am (mostly thanks to my Husband's phone) had a shower and washed my hair and got dressed. All before my children were ready to get up (this is quite an achievement)

We got to school on time, then went to the postbox and the local shop to get milk (before we had run out!) As soon as my Son and I got home I started on the housework, my kitchen is now clean, and sorted out a load of baby stuff for a friend. A friend then came round for tea and mince pies (not home made, they were on special offer in M&S) Picked my Daughter up from school, had lunch etc.

Then I phoned up a horse feed company to get some more info on one of their products, I was impressed so have ordered a bag of these http://www.simplesystemhorsefeeds.co.uk/products/viewhorsefeed.asp?id=37&name=Lucie%20Brix I will pick them up on monday, so will report back on them then.  Whilst on the phone, I made a chunky pasta sauce from fridge leftovers (tomatoes, onion, yellow pepper, garlic, carrots, celery and bacon)

I then loaded the kids into the car, and off to the horses we went. At the horses, I put some Kwickbeet on to soak, mucked out my two stables and put clean straw in both, skipped out the paddock, got my horses in, picked out their feet, straighted the Gelding's rug. I then (this is the exciting bit!) got some jump stands and poles out and set them up in the school. I had a lovely ride on the Mare, some flatwork, mostly getting her to listen to me and be more responsive as she can switch off a bit and go around like an old mule if you let her. Her canter is improving, we have had some niggles with the canter transitions, and on the left rein the canter is a bit wonky, but the last bit was a huge improvement. Then we popped over the jump. It was only a dinky cross-pole, but it perked us both up, so smiles all round.

Of course, by now I realise I need to kick on a bit to get everything finished before my Son wakes up, as having to push a buggy around while carrying feeds and haynets does make life that bit harder.

Everything done, get home around 4.30, I then have to get the kids (ok, and myself) fed before going to the school Christmas Fayre <<shudder>>

It was horrible, a hot hall, packed with children high on fizzy drinks and plastic tat won at the 20p tombola. We stayed 10mins, but luckily my Daughter was more than happy to leave once she had a chocolate crispy cake.

Both children are now in bed, I have the (real) fire lit, wine in the fridge (congratulating myself on a job well done) and I am now trying to think up 24 activities for advent....

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Why have I started a blog?

I like the idea of writing a diary. I have started many in my life, but they last a couple of weeks at the very most. What I struggle with is who are you writing it to? An imaginary friend? The diary itself? Yourself? It just feels strange. With a blog you can (in theory) be writing to actual people, does that make sense?

I wanted some way of recording the small things that may be forgotten, good and bad, and if anyone wanted to read about it, then great.

I have lots going on my life, I feel I am many things. I am a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) to my children, I am a housewife (actually, to anyone who knows me, this is laughable!) I have horses and in my head I am still a 'serious' rider.

Some days I feel I am all of these things, and sometimes I feel like none of them. Sometimes (quite a lot of the time to be fair) I feel like a stroppy 14yr old in a sulk because she has to do something she doesn't want to.

What I am aiming for with this blog is to have somewhere I can witter on about my family, my horses or whatever. My horse friends don't tend to have children, so don't really get how difficult it can be to fit in the horses around them. My 'Mum' friends don't have horses and don't really see what the big deal is, and think I am mad to 'waste' so much time and money on them.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My Horses

I have two horses. I have the Mare, who is beautiful (I may be slightly biased) She is 15hh, TBxID, 10yrs old, dark bay with a white star and a snip, one 'wild' eye and two and a half socks. She is lovely to ride, forward going, bold and a bit of a show off. I love her.

I also have the Gelding. He is 16hh, TB ex-racehorse, 11yrs old, bay with a star and one white sock. He is a sensitive soul, some may say a bit simple and is quite in love with the Mare, who is a bit mean to him (ok, very mean) He is not very brave, and can whip around on a sixpence! He is mostly for my Husband to ride really, but I am supposed to keep him ticking over so he is ready for my Husband to ride when he gets the chance (which in all honesty is not very often)

I keep them at a small DIY yard 5mins drive away. It is a lovely yard, where everyone helps each other out. The kids and I spend our afternoons up there, my Son has his nap in the car on the yard and my Daughter runs around with the yard dogs playing with sticks and mud, while I muck out, do haynets, water buckets, feeds etc. That is what happens on a good day. On a bad day I have two grumpy children, it is raining, I have forgotten to pick up horse food and we are waiting for the farrier to arrive. But mostly it works and I feel happy, my Son has a good nap, my Daughter is rosy cheeked and smiling and we all come home in a good mood.

Today has been a good day

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The morning hasn't improved much

In the rush to get out of the house, the buggy broke (one of the bolts is a bit dodgy and needs replacing frequently) I couldn't find my keys (Barbie was hiding them) and my Daughter fell flat on her face on the pavement. Rush to get back as we have the chimney sweep coming and the house is an absolute hole at the moment, to find that although I had locked the door I had left the keys in the hood of the buggy which was parked outside my door. I am an idiot.

I then had to change my Son's nappy (they are great with their timing aren't they?) when the chimney sweep arrived. I hadn't had chance to run around chucking stuff into cupboards and now my house smelt of poo - marvellous.

However, I now have a very clean chimney but the house stinks of smoke. Ho Hum.


I have set this up and now have no idea what to write! Whilst setting this up, my son has emptied an entire pack of baby wipes - never trust a quiet 15month old!

I am now running late (of course) still have to brush hair (mine and my daughter's) and get to school in 10mins, I know this, not because I have looked at the clock but because Everything's Rosie is halfway through on Ceebeebies and we have to be out of the door the moment Tweenie Song Time has finished.

Bye for now, I'm bound to be back wittering on about something later....