A Change is as Good as a Rest

Isn’t that what they say?  I have to say that, as I sped down Route 101 to reach the beach at 10pm on dark and rainy Friday night, with two snoring Pepperlings in the back seat, I was starting to wonder….

Day 53. 

Friday was our fifth wedding anniversary.  And also the first time my husband has ever had flowers delivered to me:

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Maybe a leopard can’t ever change its spots.  Or maybe, those leopards just never had wives so committed to years and years of heavy hint-dropping.   Either way, I’m very grateful, and loving my beautiful non-supermarket blooms.  Of course, the bar has been set now, my dearest – now I know you can do it! 

Day 54.

After a disastrous night’s sleep, thanks to a couple of very over-excited little people, we awoke to some beautiful blue skies, the sound of waves crashing nearby, and the glorious feeling that we had absolutely no plans for the day other than to enjoy it.

And so, we did!

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I will expand on how beautiful Long Beach is once I’ve had a good night’s sleep, but suffice to say, we had a wonderful time.  There was really absolutely nothing I could fault, it was the best day-between-wedding-anniversary-and-Mothers-Day day we’ve ever spent, no contest! 

Day 55.

After such a beautiful day yesterday, I must admit, I was anxious about the drive home today, fully expecting a meltdown from one or both of the Pepperlings at some point over the 4 hour journey.

But then, apparently, I had forgotten that it’s Mothers Day.  I may not have got my breakfast in bed, a cute card or a fancy box of chocolate.  But, I did get a far better gift than any of that today:

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Without meaning to gush, I really couldn’t have asked for anything more from my two precious little pickles.  They did such a great job of just entertaining each other – blowing raspberries, giggling at incomprehensible jokes, singing Let It Go ad infinitum, and pretending to be terrified of a giant wind-up spider that came with the obligatory mid-way Happy Meal.  

What can I say on this Mothers Day, other than that I feel that I shouldn’t be the one celebrated today…I’m just so incredibly grateful to have been blessed with these two (point five) gorgeous little monkeys.  Their very existence is my reward for any of the mundanity or exhaustion that comes hand in hand with the “job” – far superior to any salary increase or six-figure bonus!

 Of course, for future reference, chocolates are never a bad idea, either. 

#100HappyDays

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The easy years

Day 52.

Much as I complain about my shitty phone, it does have a pretty cool feature, whereby it randomly scrolls through all your Facebook photos, and sets them as your screensaver.  It’s a good way to remind yourself to look at all those old photos, filed away in albums that you otherwise never remember to revisit.  It’s also very handy for Throwback Thursday! 

This evening, I glanced down at my phone, and noticed that this was the photo of the hour: 

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That there is the paw of an outraged Ragdoll, swiping at the not-very-innocent nose of Milo dog.  I love this picture – it never fails to make me laugh out loud….and it reminds me of the easy years.  When Monty was the only jealous sibling we had to worry about, and my biggest complaint was that Milo had kept me awake at night for 2 weeks, while he settled into this new home away from his mum.   Two weeks of sleep deprivation, listening to my furry baby crying in his crate downstairs.  Oh, the hardship!  Oh, the calamity!

Tomorrow, we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  5 years.  Has it only been five years?  Crikey!  Back when that photo was taken, I’m pretty sure we would never have believed that just in just a few short years, we’d have already been out of that lovely Brighton terrace for more than 30 months, we’d have 2.5 kids (gah!), another crazy cat and….we’d be living in a giant house in soggy Seattle, of all places!  

What a ride!  Five years, three pets, (almost) three children, and we’re now living in our third continent together.  God only knows what the next five years might bring, but please, please let it involve a little sleep…and a lot less “adventure”!?  Mrs. Pepper needs a wee rest.

So, today, with our anniversary tomorrow and Mother’s Day looming on Sunday, and no real plans for either event, I took action.  A very timely email popped into my inbox, informing me of the latest Groupon – cheap accommodation down in Long Beach, Washington – so I sent it to Mr. Pepper for his perusal (subtle, huh?!), and he surprised me by replying “Shall we go this weekend?”.

Well, why the hell not, huh?  We have no plans at all.  We’ll only sit around looking at each other, saying “What shall we do today, then?”, and coming up with very little.  A night out at a fancy restaurant in Seattle, plus 3-4 hours of babysitter rates on top, can easily add up to pretty close to the cost of 2 nights down at the beach anyway, but I reckon this plan sounds a much more fun way to celebrate half a decade.  What’s a posh meal without wine anyway?  A wasted evening, that’s what!   So, with the weather forecast not looking too awful for the weekend…I did it.  I clicked on the “Buy Now” button, and away-hay-hay we go!!  Hurrah!

ImageThank goodness for Groupon…and my wonderful neighbour who volunteered to take care of our furry family members at such short notice.  This will probably be our last chance to get away anywhere before baby gets here, and who knows when our next escape will be once we’re a family of FIVE (gasp!), so I’m super excited!  Long sandy beaches, hot tubs, lap pools and (hopefully) warm sunshine….here we come!   Just so we’re all clear here, though, I still fully expect my breakfast in bed on Sunday morning – hmmm-kay?  #100HappyDays

 

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Fun with Flowers

Day 51.

Oh yeah, the sun had his hat on again today…and I suddenly noticed that our garden has erupted into a sea of stunning colours, seemingly overnight.  I guess all that rain was good for something!  As I stood basking in the warmth and playing frisbee with Evie, my eye was caught by all those gorgeous emerald greens, deepest fuchsias, delicate lilacs and the brightest of blue hues…so I thought I’d grab my new toy camera and have a bit of a play:

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There has been many a day lately when I have bemoaned the size of our yard, the amount of work involved to keep it looking “nice”, and our lack of time or ability to come even close to doing so.  But this afternoon, I must admit, I did start to wonder if I would miss it too much if we decided to up sticks and satisfy my itching feet.  At this time of year, the life of a country bumpkin really does come into its own!  

Oh, and on other news….after weeks of seemingly futile searching, we finally hired a lovely new nanny today.  Hurrah!  #100HappyDays

 

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Halfway

Day 50.

Wow, I’m halfway there.  #100HappyDays.

Oh, sorry, is that a cop-out? I can’t have my happy moment of the day be that I’m now halfway through this little exercise?

Fine.  Okay.  Wha’ eva.

So, it’s still raining.  Quelle surprise.  But, okay, I found a happy moment in there today that really made me laugh.  And yes, I’m sorry, it involves a Pepperling.  What can I say?  You’re reading a mommy blog – it’s not going to be all hard hitting headlines and local tourist info, I’m hoping you’ve figured that out by now.

Aaaaand, moving swiftly on.

Evie had her usual speech therapy session this afternoon.  Because her appointment times coincide with Henry’s nap time, usually the nanny puts Henry to bed before she leaves, and if he wakes up before they return, I just play with him for the 20 minutes or so until they do. The not-so-hidden benefit of working from home – my flexibility means that the kids’ schedules don’t need to be messed with too much….and I get bonus cuddles and dribbly smooches throughout the day.  Win-win!

Anyway, this afternoon, I had my lunch late, then went up to my office to carry on with boring old work stuff.  After a while, I realised I could hear faint music.  So strange, I was sure I hadn’t left the TV or radio on, but went to check anyway.  Nope.  Silence downstairs.  Back up I went, and hovered outside the Hank-monster’s door, listening…..to his giggles.   On opening the door, this is the face I was greeted with:

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Yep, that boy even wakes up chirpy.  If you could tap his joie de vivre, package it in little sugar-coated capsules and market it to the masses….I can’t even imagine how rich we’d be.  But let’s just say, Bill Gates‘s palms would be sweating right now, and we could stop worrying about funding the Pepperlings’ education!.

Henry had woken up, I have no idea how long ago, switched on his music box and started dancing in his crib, still wearing his sleep sack.  When he saw me walk through the door, he didn’t reach for me, didn’t ask to escape his little prision, didn’t even beg for miiiiilllllkkk.  He simply said “Dance mummy.  Your turn!  Dance!”.   So, of course, I did.  My little man and I pirouetted and twirled away to tinny Mozart, with the occasional “peek-a-boo” thrown in for good measure.

It may be the greyest of grey days out there.  I might be totally floored by third trimester exhaustion, with deadlines coming out of my ears and the constant niggling fear in the back of my mind over what’s to come in just ten short weeks…but my son’s ability to find unbridled delight in every single moment?  That is infectious, and it is incredible. I’m a lucky lady, that’s for sure.  #100HappyDays.

His sister, on the other hand?  Well, she’s just a great big meanie!  This evening, as I changed into my workout clothes, ready for Fit4Baby class, my daughter glanced up at me at an inopportune moment.  Her eyes widened, a look of horror came across her pretty face, and she declared “Ewwwwwwwwww, mommy!!  Your boobies!  Ugh, it’s NOT NICE to see you naked!!”.

Thanks darling girl.  I love you too.

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Playing Catch Up

I’m playing catch up today.  Apparently, the best thing about #100HappyDays is that you can make up the rules as you go along.  That’s right, right?

Ahem.

Day 46

On Friday afternoon, all that glorious sunshine came to an end, the heavens opened and the temperature dropped 30 degrees.  Just like that.  Bah!!!  

And then this dude, my office-mate, seemed to sense my rapidly darkening mood, and climbed into my lap to offer up some of his unique Ragdoll therapy:

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Call me the Crazy Cat Lady, if you will, but as I sat there, stroking a fluffy white cat, while swiveling absent-mindedly in my black office chair, suddenly I felt like Blofeld.  Screw the rain, sod all the nanny woes, and bugger the third trimester exhaustion….I am unbreakable!  Or, at least, my beloved Monty thinks so, anyway.  Goodbye, Mr. Bond

 

Day 47

Well, this one is easy.  

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On soggy Saturday, I managed to steal two glorious hours all to myself to get this unruly mop sorted out at my favourite salon, in an effort to clutch at any kind of yummy mummy status.   I may well be deluding myself on that one, but there is something quite special about walking through the door when you get home, and having your Disney-obsessed little girl say “Wow, Mummy’s hair is all golden!”.  Not yellow.  Not lightened.  Not even bland ole blonde.  Golden!  From now on, I will mostly be answering to “Princess”, as I flick my lustrous locks your way.  Mmm-hmmmm….Princess Pepper, that’s me.

 

Day 48

I won’t lie, Sunday was another spectacularly gloomy day, BUT there were still several fabulously happy moments to be found in amongst all that rain.  

Not only did I manage to drag this big old belly of mine out onto the river trail at 8.30 in the morning, but Daisy and I managed to run 3.4 miles at a 10:25 average pace, whilst still managing to hold a conversation with my lovely running buddy the entire way.  Nearly 30 weeks pregnant, and in the pouring rain.  I don’t mean to be overly smug, but I think that right there deserved a doughnut.   And so…yes, okay, a 12 oz latte and accompanying maple ring was my oh-so-happy reward.  

It was then time to try to wear out the Pepperlings, so that Henry would burn off all those doughnuts enough energy to get a decent nap, and we could have a peaceful-ish afternoon.   Of course, no rainy Sunday afternoon walk would be complete without a pink Hello Kitty handbag:

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Particularly when that handbag is full of dirty grey rocks.  

And finally….we interviewed a potential nanny.  She seems nice, and Evie was bashfully smitten, judging by the way she kept scooting past as we all chatted, staring and grinning like a little lunatic, then declaring “I’m going to really miss you!!!” as our interviewee departed.  All that remains to be decided is whether we can bring ourselves to welcome someone into our home and our family who goes by the name of Britney.    😉

 

Day 49 

The following conversation with my daughter:

E: Mummy, I love you so so so much, I love you more than you love me!

M: Oh no, that’s not possible, Evie.  I love you more than it’s possible to love anyone, so you can’t love me more.  I love you more than jelly tots!

E: Well, I love you MORE than more than jelly tots.

M:  OK, well then, I love you more than *chocolate*!!  (thinking I’m onto a sure winner here!)

E: No, I love YOU more than you love chocolate.

M: Hmm…..well, I love YOU more than donuts, Miss Genevieve!

E:  Well, I love…..oh, I love donuts!!

Fair play, Evie.  Fair play.

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Sunshine and bluebells

Day 45.

Well, hell YEAH, I’m still going on (and on) about all this sunshine.  But then, so is the rest of Seattle (as we wilt away in total disbelief – what is this bright, round thing in the sky?  What does this mean?), so I’m definitely not the only weather-obsessed loser in town!

But look!  It’s all just so much prettier, basking in the glow of that magnificent orb:

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Today was the hottest May 1st in Seattle in 16 years, and it definitely felt it, as temperatures climbed up to 85F.  I’m starting to wonder what being 9 months pregnant in July is going to feel like….my bet is on “sweaty”.   But in the meantime, we are all making the most of this glorious blip, and everyone is suddenly tanned and smiling.  Personally, I am loving seeing chubby little Pepper legs come out of hiding – there is nothing more adorable than a 2 year old in shorts, or seeing your tomboy daughter suddenly embrace all the pretty, flowery dresses in her wardrobe!  The kids both went swimming at the lake this morning, and this afternoon I was lucky enough to get to take them to the park after work for an hour or so, to meet up with friends and play in the volleyball court (aka “giant sandpit”).

Everything seems so much better when you’re not getting rained on, doesn’t it?   So, of course, I am burying my head in the sand, refusing to acknowledge the gloomy weather forecast, and assuming that this is it – summer is quite clearly here, and long may she stay!!  #100HappyDays

 

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A Very Happy Birthday

Day 44. 

Well, I suppose I shouldn’t be at all surprised that Little Mr Sunshine managed to get a full day of wall to wall glorious sunshine on his birthday.  It was warm and sunny on the day he was born, it was a beautiful day for his 1st birthday party last year, and it turns out that his second anniversary of birth was no exception.  Eighty-six degrees today.  30 Centigrade.  Blue skies abounding for my blue-eyed boy!

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Henry had a great day today.  He woke up as happy as always, received a big birthday cuddle from his sister, and then came downstairs to a breakfast of milk and banana bread, and a table full of gifts, just for him.  Well, as long as he would let Evie unwrap them all and open his cards, of course. 

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Oh, and allow her to play doctor on him with his own new Doctor Kit, obviously:

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I think this day was as much about Evie as it was about her little brother, but that was absolutely fine by Henry.  She was very attentive to him, and kept informing him that “You can do whatever you like today, Henry.  It’s your birthday.  You can do WHATEVER you like!!!”.   She showed a keen interest in all his new toys, enjoyed scooter races around the kitchen, thrilled as she was that he now has one just like hers (only blue, obviously), and she even declined to take part in lunch bunch at pre-school, because she wanted to have a birthday lunch with her brother.   In fact, when our nanny went to collect Evie from school, apparently Miss Bossyboots was stopping everyone she saw and saying “Did you say happy birthday to my brother?  It’s his birthday.  Say happy birthday to Henry!!!”.   

To all of Henry’s future girlfriends…..I’m sorry.   For whatever hoops she has made you jump through, tests she has made you pass, or evil eyes she may have thrown your way.  I’m sorry.  She just loves him “too much”, in her own words. 

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But my little guy had a great day, complete with three separate park visits, story time at the library, lunch al fresco in the garden, ice cream treats from the nanny and Pinkabella cupcakes for tea….not to mention all the kisses and cuddles from his favourite Aussie chick, Miss Ely:

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Thank you for all the birthday well wishes for my handsome Henry, for all the gifts and cards that came his way, and for all the love over the past two years, which has undoubtedly contributed to my own sanity, and to my son’s oh-so-happy demeanor.   We are a lucky old lot, that’s for sure!  #100HappyDays

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