The Gallery – Autumn

The Gallery is the brainchild of Sticky Fingers.  Every week she gives a prompt, an idea, a notion and we have to go out and take a photograph using that prompt. Or just use a photo you already have.  I then have to  post it on my blog and write about it.

The weeks Gallery is Autumn.

girl boy garden autumn leaves rake

I’m a huge gardener.  My parents are/were huge gardeners and although I don’t really remember actually gardening with them as a child I do remember being in the garden watching them spend hours keeping our garden looking perfect and the enjoyment they had out of it.

We are very lucky in that we have a big garden and the kids and I spend many many hours out there having fun.  Mr P’s jobs are mainly fixing the fences and putting the leaves into the wheelie bin.  My job however spans from mowing the lawn, weeding, planting, cutting back and basically making sure it looks gorgeous and even though I do say so myself I do a pretty good job.

I have a very complex diary that I’ve written myself after a lot of research and am continually updating it that literally tells me by the week what I should be doing with the garden i.e. planting bulbs, cutting back the roses, feeding the grass, replanting etc etc.  This is with a huge amount of advice and help from my mother and father in law who are both enormously knowledgable.  I also have an amazing friend who is a gardener and she helps me put the garden to bed in the Autumn and wakes it up in the Spring.  I’ve only known her for a few years but she and her partner Steve just rock – if you live in South London please please look Helen and Steve up at http://www.gardenia-gardens.com/

I love the time I spend out there with the kids.  They each have small spades and rakes and share a fab wheelbarrow (bought by Grandpa) and can honestly spend hours moving soil from one place to another or help me with the watering (when there’s not a ban!).

So it’s been a joy this week putting up my Autumn photo for The Gallery.  It basically sums up not only Autumn with us clearing up the leaves but basically the whole year as we spend so much time out there enjoying it.

Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to hearing what the next Gallery theme will be.

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In-Laws or Out-Laws?

I think this is a very emotive subject for most relationships.  Very very real for any couple but I’m going to talk about it from a woman’s perspective.

Mother-In-Laws-Present out laws

When you start dating someone the last thing on your mind I suppose is “Will I get on with his family”, and even as you get more serious and therefore spend more time with his family, it’s only in short bursts so therefore all very amicable!

So at what point do you think we start thinking about the family that we’ll be “adopting”.  When do we think “can I live the rest of my life with them being part of my family”?

Since getting married 6 years ago and now being a parent I have spent many many many hours with  friends discussing their in-laws (or in some cases out-laws) and I have to say in more cases than not it’s a negative conversation.

Starting with marriage, the mother-in-law can get too involved with wedding plans and makes decisions that the bride doesn’t want.  Then onto children where there can always be a view on what to do and how to do it.

Then, another real issue, does the husband stick up for his wife in front of his parents or take what he feels is the easy ride and lets it go only to have it in the back from his wife when behind closed doors?

I will always remember the first time I met Mr P’s parents.  I was feeling absolutely awful, I had a really really bad cold but I had to go to theirs to stay for the weekend.  We arrived mid evening on the Friday night and had supper straight away.  I kept on having to excuse myself to leave the room to blow my nose or sneeze and found it really really difficult to make conversation.  Anyway, after supper I went upstairs on the pre tense of going to the loo but in fact I locked myself into the bathroom to phone my Mummy to have a cry about how awful I was feeling.  When I opened the door to go back downstairs my darling mother-in-law was standing there with her arms open and just gave me the most wonderful cuddle, she then took me to my bedroom and put me to bed.  She came back up with a hot toddy and kept on coming to check on me throughout the evening.  I will never forget this to this day.

I won’t say it’s always been absolutely perfect.  We had the discussions after we got engaged as to numbers and which family and friends they could invite.  I had to take a deep breath a few times and let my husband sort out the situation.  But none of these issues were major just a bit annoying at the time.

I would love to be able to sit here now and say that I’ve also had some difficulty with her since I’ve had kids but unfortunately I can’t as very sadly she died 3 weeks before my eldest was born having struggled with cancer for the previous 18 months.  She would have made the most phenomenal Granny and there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not sad about what she’s missing out on.

However, I am now left with an amazing father-in-law (he was always great but I think maybe a bit more amazing now).  If she was alive I’m not sure he would have stepped up to the mark with the Grandkids as much as he has.  But here is a man who never changed his own children’s nappies let alone looked after them on his own and who is now on his own with no help.  However he regularly has our two for the weekend to allow us to go to weddings etc.  He’s never ever tried to advise me on how to parent, he’s just been there to congratulate me on the job i’m doing with them and to be there to support me when I need help with the kids or a glass of wine to be poured etc.

So when I sit with my friends who are quite often talking about annoying things their in-laws have done I just have to sit back and offer sympathy but thank my lucky stars for being blessed with mine.

Are you lucky enough to have in-laws or do you have to put up with the out-laws?  And if out-laws do you find yourself fighting with your partner as they’re not sticking up for you like you would expect?

To cluck or not to cluck

So I received an SOS call late Friday afternoon as my darling friend had gone into labour and I needed to look after her two children until her backup could arrive.  Luckily for me my Mummy is currently living with us so she was able to hold the fort for me while I rushed over to H’s house to help her out.

Excitingly after a serious fraught few hours she had a beautiful baby boy very early on Saturday morning and came home Sunday to an amazing reception from her elder 2 children.

So…. I’ve just dropped mine off at school and nursery and headed over to have a snuggle with Baby W and a big congratulations cuddle with H.

Now, I have 2 beautiful children who I love with my whole heart but I’m in an almost enviable position that I have always known before, during and after that I only wanted 2 children (and have been very lucky to have these 2 children).  My decision is also backed up with the fact that due to my never-ending insomnia having a 3rd I don’t think would be possible coping wise.

I have a lot of friends who just don’t know.  They think they don’t want to go through the pregnancy and sleepless nights again but also don’t think their family is complete yet.  It must be so so difficult not knowing 100% whether to keep going or to stop, sit back and enjoy.

So to cluck or not to cluck.  I had a lovely snuggle with Baby W but passed him back to H with a content smile from both of us – we are both completely happy with our lot.