Category Archives: Stop moaning lady!

Goodbye, 2015!

Standard

Goodness, another year gone. I’m glad 2015 is coming to an end, but it is scary to see how time is flying.

I love lists and I love going through all the things that happened in the year, the good, the bad and the ugly. Most of all, I love planning the year ahead.

2015 was the year of sad news, dear people being diagnosed with terminal diseases, friends dying much sooner than they should. On a positive note, babies were born and, with them, hope in humankind is renewed.

We had a bad experience with holidays. After over a year since we had a decent break, our trip to Italy was a nightmare. Starting with an expired passport and the cancelation of the first week in Tuscany. We managed to spend a week in Jesolo, which was a bit “meh”. I love Italy, so not bad, but it wasn’t great either. On a positive note, although we weren’t entitled to any refund for the cancelation, the lady at the hotel in Tuscany took pity on us and managed to give us part of the money back. So Tuscany is back in the list of places to visit! And because they were super nice, I’ll leave the name of the hotel here, for future reference and in case you are interested: Villa Mazzanta.

Someone broke into our house, just as we returned from holidays. The signs are still around the house, reminding us that we are not safe anywhere, not even in our own houses. On a positive note, nothing was taken other than some cash.

I started and stopped Pilates. I had great results, but it was a nightmare to leave the house and as soon as I got back from the class, all the pain would be back. I am in a lot of pain but have been postponing going to a GP. I have finally booked an appointment… for tonight!

I didn’t read much this year. Got stuck in a John Grisham book for almost the whole of 2015 (The Brethren), but finally finished before the end of the year. On the other hand, I read The Circle, by Dave Eggers, in a couple of nights.

I didn’t even tried to lose weight properly in 2015. I did track what I was eating on My Fitness Pal, but that was it. I didn’t try to exercise either. It’s just way too hard to try to find time, to negotiate who will stay with the kids, to have to beg to have some “me time”. Things at home weren’t great this year and I confess: instead of fighting, I gave up.

And because life is like a football match, I managed to score a few goals at the very last minute of the year. My resignation, as you all know by now, is the main one. I cut coffee for for about 6 weeks now (although in the past week I had a few decafs) and sugar (for 3-4 weeks, I’m back to it until the new year).  But the little things I am the happiest about are all related to the house. I’ll write a separate post about them another time.

I think this is a good summary of 2015: the year I gave up. So I’m glad it is going away and a brand new shiny year is coming to the rescue.

Goodbye, 2015. Welcome, 2016! Have a great start of year, everyone. See you on the other side.

While Beatrice fights not to sleep…

Standard

… I decided to check how things are going with this blog. Practically dead and I feel sorry for it.

Many months without posting and mainly because I wasn’t inspired at all. 2015 was a “meh” year for me. The folks in Lala-land will probably argue that I should be grateful for my health and for my family and for everyone being healthy and under a roof and… the list of “good things to be grateful for” goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I am.

But comparing to other years, 2015 was “meh”. Probably mainly my fault.

Now… 2015 ends with a twist. Because a “meh” year cannot end up “meh”, otherwise what’s the point? So, 2015 was the year I resigned my 4-years-old-job. Without another job to go to. I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I’m not worried (yet). I can go to another similar job, I can go to a “worse” job that will pay less but also will take less of my soul, I can become a stay at home mother. The sky is the limit.

At the moment, I am enjoying a two week break, trying to sort out the thoughts and ideas in my head, spend some time with the kids and organise the house. Trying to find myself, as I have been lost for a while now. And, with the proximity of the new year and the prospect of starting again (I know it’s an illusion, but I like it), I feel more hopeful and… well, just hopeful. Let the countdown begin!

January: the bad and the ugly

Standard

The previous post was about the positives of January (“the good”), but I would be lying if I said that it was all pink flowers in January and it was an easy month. January in the northern hemisphere is never easy – unless you live in Florida.

Anyhoo, lots of really bad nights with my little angels, which made me really moody. The vitamin D doesn’t seem to be as effective as before and I still have bone/muscle pain all over.

I’ve been eating like a pig and all sorts of bad stuff: Nutella, chocolate, cheese, bread, pasta… I know that, in moderation, these are not bad, but these are all I have been eating. Needless to say that I’m putting on weight… again.

I also get very affected by others’ bad news. Some people close to me went through some tough moments in January and I can feel the heartburns from my worries for others’ problems.

I’m still struggling to find the right balance between home and work and I’m letting one interfere with the other. I have loads of plans and ideas but very little will power to get moving. Energy levels are at the minimum here.

The biggest fail of January, though, is my bedtime. I mean, the time I go to bed. Only twice before 11pm (once was 10:55pm, the other just after 10pm), but most of the time just after midnight. I wake up at 6:15am, with the girls waking me up in the middle of the night at least once (2am, 3.30am, 4.30, 5am). I keep telling myself that I should go to bed at 9 or 10pm maximum, but I find it absurdly hard. Today, for example, the girls went to bed at 8pm. I was getting mentally prepared to sleep at 10pm, but then decided to organise the dining room (the table is finally clutter-free!!), clean the kitchen, tidy up the toys, prepare Laura’s school back, have a shower – don’t forget the cream – and finish this post. If I’m lucky, I’ll sleep before 11pm.

I know what I need to do to change things – but I’m not always happy with the solution, or I’m too lazy to start, or I’m too confused with where to go.

So, welcome, February, I have a few plans for you.

Check me out: I’m a tidy dining table.IMG_2930
This weekend I spent a couple of hours changing the girls bedroom a bit. Guess what’s the theme? Yeah, Lerigo.IMG_2912
After trying three different set ups, we settle with bed near the radiator (far from the door), cheat of drawers against the wall, leaving a little gap for the book shelf (we don’t want to nail it to the wall, so it needs to be safe from falling, as Beatrice climbs on it). I still need to remove some old stickers, but my nails and finger tips were too sore from peeling off wall stickers.IMG_2915
I’m thinking about getting a storage bench I’ve seen at Ikea, that can also act as a little stage. They love performing for us. I also ordered some snowflakes stickers for this wall (the idea was to paint the top half blue, but it won’t happen anytime
soon). Also planning to frame this poster. The bottom half was going to be to hang their own art, but I need to teach Beatrice to be less of a destroyer.IMG_2924
The best thing about the new decor is that Laura now wants to keep her bed tidy and she makes the bed!IMG_2911

Training to be happy

Standard

Last month I went on a three day “master class” called Hyper Island. According to their website, it is an intensive learning experience that will challenge our way of thinking and perception on the influence and possibilities within digital media.

I’m very lucky that the company I work for invests in this type of training to their staff and I’m even luckier that I’ve been in the company long enough to have attended two Hyper Island master courses.

It is a very inspirational course and it does challenge our way of thinking, but most of all, it challenges our way of being. It encourages the “student” to want to change things – not only within work environment but also in their personal lives. It’s stating the obvious but big changes start from within.

I don’t remember this happening the first time around but I left the course a bit introspective and thinking what the hell I am doing with my life and where the hell I’m going with it.

Part of the “problem” was sorted by discovering that I am Vitamin D deficient (haha) but I am still digesting all the info and working on a “plan of action”. And by plan of action I mean trying to understand where I am and where I want to be.

The beat thing about this course, though, was to meet other members of our marketing team. I new we were a huge team but didn’t realise that we were 150 people! And such a bunch of great, funny, inspiring people.

Part of the course was to carry on a 21 day challenge, based on a Ted talk by Shawn Achor (search Shawn Achor “The happy secret to better work” if you want to know what I’m talking about). Every day, for 21 days, my little group of five has to send 3 things we are grateful for on that day + one random act of kindness. It’s been 15 days and most of us has been following the challenge. The idea is to help train our brain to be positive and be happy, which, in theory, will make us work better and be more productive.

Another exercise is journaling about a positive thing that happen on the day, which I might try here once the challenge is over. I must say that in the beginning I was struggling big time to fond positive things on my day, because I tend to think big and I was hoping to be able to share “I won the lottery today”, “my daughter got a medal at school”, “it’s 30C in Autumn now in the UK and I’m sunburned”. But the exercise made me see that these things are rare and I should look for the tiny beautiful positive things of my day, like my Beatrice, very poorly, still finding the energy to laugh, to sing and to tell stories. Feeling miserable, yet happy just to be around us and have fun with her family.

Six more days looking for grateful moments on my day. Bring them on.

Don’t let the sun go down on me

Standard

If I’m not a big fan of the cold and these darker days that we are going through, I have now an additional reason to dislike it.

It’s been a while since I’ve noticed that I had bad mood swings, was always tired, in pain, etc. I used to blame pregnancy, then hormones post-pregnancy, then going back to work and having bad nights of sleep, then I just blamed life – it was hard and just not worth it. So I went to the doctors as I thought it could be the post-natal depression again.

The doc looked at me and said: “hmmmmmmmmm, maybe. Not impossible. But your daughter is 18 months, so it’s not like it’s post-natal anymore”. She didn’t say that but this is what was implied.

Thankfully she is not the type of GP that will say “here, have a Paracetamol, send your kids to the grandparents, your husband to a business trip to Antarctica and go to
sleep”. It’s a good plan, don’t get me wrong, but hard to implement. Instead, the plan was: have a blood test, call the health visitor to get help with the girls’ sleep and then go back there to see whether there was a need to go back to medication, counselling, trip to Antarctica or Paracetamol.

Blood test done. Health visitor unreachable. GP appointment due. Blood test results: I’m vitamin D deficient. Not insufficient. Deficient. All the I had for the first 8 months of the year apparently wasn’t enough. All
the milk and cheese and occasional tuna and salmon are not enough.

GP (and leaflet) informed me that vitamin D deficiency can cause tiredness, muscle and bone pain and these combined can cause trouble with sleep and mood swings. She gave me the example of her own sun, who was feeling miserable and thinking that life was a struggle. Lots of vitamin D pills later, he is back to his normal self.

The best solution to this problem is to move to a sunny country. All year round. The easiest solution is to take 5 x 800IU of vitamin D for 10 weeks, check my blood again hoping to go to normal doses of Vitamin D (which apparently is 600IU – I’m having 4000IU) for the rest of my life, or until I retire in a nice sunny country.

Apparently NHS only started offering Vitamin D tests widely 5 years ago. So it was a new thing when I was first diagnosed with depression, which made me wonder if there wasn’t a problem with my Vitamin D levels back then. Back 9 years ago when I moved in to this country and felt miserable since.

Anyway, no point in wondering… no point in even blaming lack on vitamin D for all my problems. The purpose of the post is to start a campaign: let’s move to Australia, husband! I get they overdose on vitamin D there. haha

No, seriously, this post is for you, dear person who reads this blog, friend or anonymous, and feels miserable for no reason and have no clue where to start. Talk to the GP, ask for a blood test, especially if you live in countries where there’s little day light in autumn/winter. Apparently just 15 min (more if you have dark skin) of sun without sun lotion, three times a week, is enough. I thought I had enough but, hey, I was so very wrong.

Note to self: plan holidays one a month to very sunny places. Apparently is good for your health.

It’s just a phase, they say

Standard

This morning, Laura had a “fit”. Screaming at us, being aggressive (as in punching me), grinding her teeth, etc. It was out of the blue – apparently she woke up fine but her mood changed like the weather in the UK.

We think it was a bit of jealousy because Beatrice was in our bed. It doesn’t make sense to me because Beatrice is ALWAYS in our bed when Laura comes in the mornings.

This terrible twos are lasting a couple of years now, but if on one hand it is a pain to deal with it, on the other it seems slightly easier as she is now a child that can communicate her feelings (even when screaming her lungs out) and expresses herself almost clearly. And maybe because of that, I find it even more frustrating to deal with these crisis. “For god’s sake, I am trying to talk to you, to give you options, to calm you down, to play with you so why the heck can’t you just stop and understand?!?” That’s the feeling.

In the last two, three weeks I found myself trying to convince two friends not to have kids. Yes, you read it correctly. The two are 35+ and although their biological clocks are not ticking, they have that mentality of “shit, if I don’t have kids now, I might regret in the future”. So, they DON’T want to have kids now. They are only scared they might be too old when they decide to have kids and then be too late. I don’t know about you but I think this is just wrong. Kids are not a walk in the park – and I can tell you that before having them, I thought it was and now I can see that it is a walk in the park when it’s pouring down with rain, dark and cold and very chaotic; it’s like when I went to Reading festival to see Pearl Jam: I absolutely loved the show, but all the previous bands, the mud, the weirdos and the travel to and from were so painful… Honestly, if you get to 42 and you decide that you want to have a kid and you are ready to have a kid, adopt one! Being a parent is not about giving birth (some women don’t even like the experience). And you might get to 42 and realise that you are happy without kids. Parents will probably say that they can’t imagine their lives without their children, and it’s true that it’s such a life changing experience and all the love that you feel for those little creatures cannot be put into words, yadda yadda, but you can’t miss what you don’t have, eh? If you are happy without kids, why would you miss having them at all? One of these friends I was talking about, spent two weeks with a friend who has a kid and she is now having second thoughts about having her own… it was too noisy for her.

Back to the tantrums… sometimes I just don’t know what to do. The manual says not to shout, not to slap,
not to punish, not to bribe, not to threaten, not to put in naughty corners, to put in naughty corners, to walk away and let the child be, not
to walk away… The manual says to be calm, talk softly but firmly (don’t even know what the heck it means), smile and be understanding, sing and twirl like a fairy, sing Let it go… there is a lot of dos and don’ts that not always make sense – or they always make sense but they contradict each other;
does it make sense?

But most of the time, the key is to be consistent. Apparently. Life with a child should be a repetition, on and on and on and on, the same thing. Same waking up times, bath time, meal times, sleep times… kids like to know what’s coming next, what to expect. And maybe this is where we are failing. We do try to keep things consistent but life hasn’t been that easy these days. Being on maternity leave, traveling to Brazil for 6 weeks, going back to work, family around for 8 months, one goes another one comes, Laura’s friends leaving pre-school, no ballet for a while… I have to say that it has been hard to keep a routine, for them and for us, and I wonder if this is playing its part in the sporadic tantrums. If it is, hopefully things will get better from September, when school starts.

Or maybe it’s just a phase and we will have to deal with it until they are 18.

One week down, one more to go

Standard

Hello from Croatia, from the A1 motorway to be more precise. We left Brela behind and we are heading to Krk (or at least it’s where I think we are heading to). From south-ish to north-ish.

******

The week in Brela was interesting. Beautiful place, beautiful beaches, small, quiet. Steep stairs, pebble beaches, cold water, no waves, lots of water sports, islands nearby. We haven’t done much though and it wasn’t out of interest and will. After 2-3 days, my mother in law and Laura fell a bit ill (I think in Laura’s case , it was her bronquitis/asthma attacking) and her father being slightly paranoid, didn’t allow her to go in the water. Now how great it is to be in a beach place and cannot go in the sea? I guess we should be grateful (never understood the spelling, shouldn’t it be greatful? Apparently dictionary says no) for the couple of rainy days.

We went to Split, Trogir and walked on the promenade of Brela on the days “we” weren’t allowed to swim. Nice places but I have to confess that I am yet to get used to: being married, having kids, living with the father of the kids. Because the difference of opinion and interest and energy is so so so different that sometimes it seems like a punishment, not a holiday.

******

I admire those happy family that ignore the needs of their kids whose kids are so adapted to their parents pace and pose no obstacles to the trip. An example: we love road trips and we are a bit isolated in Brela so have to drive at least 1 hour to get to places. Beatrice hates car seat more than cat hates water. She screams, has a fit, every time she spends more than 10 minutes in her seat. How are you supposed to go on a road trip if the child doesn’t want to be in the car seat? I tell you how… by risking her life and holding her in your arms. Totally not cool, not safe and not allowed.

********

Our city tours can be summarised as:

* trips to restaurants
* stops for ice cream and coffee
* long searches for toilets
* play time in children’s parks
* quick photos (using the mobile because a camera is too hard to use with one hand only) of historic buildings, but just the façades. Never mind learning about the actual building, we can always look on wikipedia later; or just forget about it.

No wonder, the most popular attractions in our trips are the beach (when they don’t get ill) and lunch time.

*****

Croatian, the language, sounds so familiar. I barely understand a thing (although there are loads of latin words and other slavic (?) ones) but it doesn’t sound alien to my ears. In fact it almost sounds Romanian…

*****

Here are some photos of Brela (we were in Stomarica, but went to other beaches there).

Watching the Brazilian match; painful in every sense
20140712-114203-42123421.jpg

At the bottom of the stairs in Stomarica
20140712-114158-42118384.jpg

Our window view
20140712-114156-42116153.jpg

A boat selling fruits and veggies. Talk about delivery service…
20140712-114200-42120144.jpg

With the mountains in the background
20140712-114157-42117046.jpg

Best shoes eva. A must have in Croatia (and it costs about €8, but it will probably last the length of your holidays)
20140712-114200-42120970.jpg

If you have space in your luggage, pack it up with inflatables and tents. Not every beach has umbrellas and chairs to rent (only the ones towards the end of the promenade, bigger and busier, after the Punta Rata restaurant). Probably only Europeans traveling to Croatia by car can afford such luxury of bringing double inflatable mattress and tent and lots of kids inflatable toys, but it is worth a try if you are traveling by plane.20140712-114159-42119285.jpg

20140712-114157-42117393.jpg

20140712-114202-42122605.jpg

20140712-114155-42115256.jpg

20140712-114744-42464072.jpg

The map of Brela. 20140712-114751-42471413.jpg

20140712-114810-42490536.jpg

This nook is a changing booth and there are several along the beaches. And fresh water showers as well, but don’t bother bringing soap and shampoo; they are not allowed.20140712-114828-42508038.jpg

20140712-114827-42507188.jpg