through these gray eyes...

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Happier at Home...

This month I decided to take part in Bon's Book Club (I'm a few days behind), I've wanted to for a while and this month the book she was reading really appealed to me - 'Happier at Home' by Gretchen Rubin. 

I would highly recommend this book, and have done so to many friends already. It isn't about achieving happiness it's about simply being happier. It is predominantly a personal journey that Gretchen takes you on with the use of the home as a focus point.

I found this very useful for me as I have been struggling to feel properly at home where we live, being military accommodation it is very easy to feel a sense of 'just passing through' and a lack of permanency that I occasionally find exasperating and insecure. I would like to feel that I am bringing a child into as homely an environment as I can make it.

I had not read the Happiness Project so I didn't know what to expect but I loved her writing style. Gretchen sets her book out by having resolutions that she concentrates on achieving every month. I have found that I can apply alot of 'Happier at Home' to my own life and although I love the idea of having resolutions to achieve every month, I also like to achieve things instantly overnight... I'm not sure if that is helpful to me because I would lose inspiration otherwise or whether my impatience just leaks through in all areas of my life!

Personalising it to yourself is essential and I found it very refreshing that I could change things for myself at home or in my marriage without them having to be forced upon Tom to achieve as well. Gretchen also manages to deal with the pereceived selfishness of striving to be happier while not neccessarily making anyone else happier which I found helpful.

Gretchen also had some points about happiness that really struck a chord with me and I feel that having them highlighted had an instant impact on my happiness:

1. We buy into the idea that if we lived simpler we would be happier

And by simpler I mean skedaddling off to the country with no wifi connection and being entirely self sufficient. I've certainly had moments when this has appealed and an escape away from the 'real world' has seemed a good solution to being happy. However, Gretchen points out that by simplifying the lives we already have  (by reducing clutter, writing off projects that have been sat waiting to be begun or completed, reducing the never ending 'to-do' list and wanting what we actually already have) we can make ourselves happier.

Accepting this in the past few weeks has certainly helped me feel happier. I have an interior to-do list that is probably as long as my arm, it is all things I feel I should do or make or presents I should give... I set myself up with so many things that I simply can't achieve half of it. In fact, my way over the top to-do list makes me feel exhausted and my total lack of achievement makes me beat myself up not making for a happy Alice.

I'm all for having a more natural way of life, that is certainly something that I would like to one day have but now is not that moment. We do not have the garden set up to grow our own vegetables and I'm not going to embrace re-useable nappies with my first child when I really don't know what I am getting myself into! By attempting to naturalise my life now I am just creating extra stress and strain that is not going to make me happier at all. Simplifying my present life will certainly make me happier.

2. 'Be Gretchen' or for me 'Be Alice'

This is something I realised I had never really thought about but it is extremely important to my happiness - embracing what I do and don't like... concentrating on knowing and doing what makes me happy and reducing less of what doesn't make me happy seems obvious but, in my 25 years I have never really stopped to think about what makes me happy and what doesn't.

- I'm generally quite a messy person but I actually love organising and organisation. I like routine and knowing that in amongst work and play I have managed to achieve some thing in the way of housework.
- Reading makes me happy.
- Taking a moment to pamper myself makes me happy.
- Watching series and films makes me happy however, duvet days don't make Alice a happy bunny.. staying inside all day makes me feel sick...duvet mornings or afternoons might just about work.
- Being outside makes me happy. Gardening and sunbathing make me happy. Having a dog to walk twice a day makes me very happy
linked into this is:

3. Do what inspires you

There is no point pretending that I'm going to do something and actually achieve it if it doesn't inspire me. It's just going to be a drag on my energy and resources and never see fruition. If I'm honest I wish I had realised this all those years ago when I was choosing my college subjects, I might have done better. In the long term it hasn't actually affected my happiness.

Concentrating on things that do inspire me is part of 'Being Alice' but it will make me think twice about taking on a project or starting down a road if I am not certain that it inspires me enough to achieve it well and reach the end.

After reading this book I have set myself up with some resolutions which I hope to achieve in my own happiness project to make me happier and my house more homely. Have you read it, if so what areas did you find most helpful to you?



Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Why I shouldn't be left unattended in a hospital and other mishaps...


Since falling pregnant (why does that phrase exist? falling has very little to do with getting pregnant) I have spent more time than I could have imagined in the med centre and hospital, not only that, I have spent more time than I could have imagined using their facilities/toilet/loo - take your pick, it's all about the peeing in a pot.

It seems that this task causes me serious issues (don't worry I'm not about to launch into waaaaay too much information).

I'm not very comfortable in any medical setting, I know that this is a feeling shared by many but it seems to cause me to totally embarrass myself in my ridiculously nervous state.

Somehow my sense of personal space and direction evaporates... I've found myself surrounded by four or five doors having no clue which direction to head in but knowing that the store cupboard isn't right and nor is the xray room. Usually my sense of direction is spot on so this completely confuses me.

The first of my mishaps occurred the second time I went to visit the midwife, I hadn't worked out the pee pot procedure that worked best for me at this point or that my nerves would render me quite so clumsy.

I thought I was doing really well until I turned round to get a paper towel and somehow managed to knock the full pot flying (thankfully all down the inside of the sink not over me) and ended up having to go to the midwife with the smallest sample ever.

And that's the only occasion so far that my pot has had to be sent away for further testing because it's shown up with a water infection... typical!!

The second mishap I've had I found myself pot in hand in the disabled loo of a hospital (I had been sent to the disabled I wasn't queue skipping) the pot filling was uneventful with so much extra space and I 'calmly' turned to flush the loo....

I pulled on the cord that seemed to be the obvious well positioned flush if you happened to be less able than me. Nothing happened, so I pulled again, harder. On this second pull I noticed that it lit up a  big red light in the ceiling. Maybe not the flush afterall so I looked for an alternative flush kind of button and found it in the usual place on the top of the cistern. 

While I was washing my hands it occurred to me that, that RED cord that I had pulled to begin with, the one that lit up the ceiling, just might be the panic alarm. I left the loo in a hurry, hoping that nobody would come banging on the door, or let themselves in.

I was greeted exiting the loo by a nurse informing me that I had indeed set off their alarm and she had come to check that I was ok... Mortified doesn't even begin to describe my feeling it was like ringing 999 and then realising that the police/ambulance had already arrived.

Since getting pregnant I have had a few other mishaps that seem to be entirely due to my change in size... I seem to be very conscious that I have changed size BUT I seem to think I have got smaller, I now find myself boxing both my ears as I get in and out of a car... Don't ask me how I manage that, I just do.

The other ridiculously embarrassing mishap I have had in the past few weeks is testing out the smells of some shower gel in the main aisle in Sainsburys and finding myself having squirted a load of blue gel up and around my nose! Luckily, I found this so funny that I wouldn't have been in the least bit bothered if the whole shop had erupted laughing at me but.... really?!

I seem to be going through a massive moment in my life of embarrassing myself (and Tom) in public places... Is this going around everyone or is it a side effect of pregnancy??!!



Monday, 21 September 2015

Happy Monday

So I seem to have had incessant computer issues over the past two weeks which has meant it's been a bit quiet on the blogging front the past couple of weeks... I'm attempting to deal with them still but basically I am winging this and hoping that it all works out! I've missed my Happy Fridays for the past two so I'm cheating a little and rolling two weeks into one list of 10 things that have made me happy and calling it a Happy Monday... It seems a good way to catch up on whats been happening with me anyway so here goes:

1. Supporting Wales in the Rugby for the first time and them winning(this was 2 weeks ago now not the World Cup games)... Ok it was a bit of a dodgy win but, a win is a win.

2. Christmas away with Tom's family is finally booked... it's been in the pipeline for ages but trying to get something that suits everyone for so many people is always so difficult.

3. The arrival and erection of the spare bed for the nursery... its so nearly done!

4. Serious online baby shopping means we nearly have everything ready!

5. Enjoying the last glimmers of summer after work at a pub by the river ... (not drinking an alcoholic beverage but it was still perfect)

6. Downton Abbey... Autumn/Winter are coming!

7. Lack of Wifi on Thursday evening meant that Tom and I played a board game which was a lot of fun! I think wifi needs to disappear more often.

8.This weekend we visited Cotswolds Birth Centre to see if that's where we would like to go to have the baby... I think it is and Tom is happy with it. I'm not a very hospital sort of person and I'd like the whole birth experience to be as good as possible... obviously this is one of those things that I have no control over whatsoever but it's still necessary to plan!

9. My reading this month has been pretty self help directed. On Friday I received 'Happier at Home' by Gretchen Rubin which is the book that Bon's Book Club is reading this month! It seemed to call out to me amongst all the change that is happening in my life at the moment. I will be reviewing it on 8th or 9th October so if you would like to join in and check it out for yourself there is still time. 

10. Today is our 2 year 'engagement anniversary'. It seems that once you're married the milestones prior to your wedding get dropped by the wayside which I think is sad. All of the moments are the stepping stones to where you are now, they seem worth celebrating, besides, only now is a certainty... I'm not being morbid, it just becomes reality after a year of missed celebrations because of deployment... so even though I only remembered while walking to work this morning we shall be celebrating tonight.



Wednesday, 9 September 2015

10 things I wish I had known about the first 3 months of pregnancy!

I'm a little behind with this, I mean really behind - I only have 10 weeks and 1 day until due day! I  had a good few months off from blogging while I adjusted to the idea of my life changing and deciding what I wanted for this space. I had never really thought that I would be a 'mummy blogger' and while that was all I could think about I didn't want to fill this space with non stop baby because I might bore some people to death and also, I found it very hard to write when I had such big news that I couldn't tell anyone.
Before I share with you what I learned in my first trimester I will give you a whistle stop tour through the discovery that I was pregnant.
I am now kicking myself that I didn't record the day we found out... Clearly, I may not be much of a dates kind of mother. However, I think it was a Thursday and it was definitely in April... I had spent a few weeks struggling to get into clothes and had gone through a serious moment of depression... eventually I took this to Tom - I really was at the point where I thought I was either pregnant or my metabolism had died with turning 25 and I was going to have to go on a diet.

So, on this potential Thursday in April I presented myself to Tom at lunch time and literally said ' Do you think I look pregnant?' I probably followed that with an 'or am I being paranoid?' (knowing full well jeans and skirts weren't fitting.)

He agreed that I was looking a little on the big side and maybe it would be worth doing a test just to make sure. So when I got back from work we went and bought the 'stick of destiny'. 

When I  have had to do these before I have always waited for ages (and it's been negative). On this occasion before I replaced the cap it already had a little blue cross. This caused me quite a bit of panic, including requesting Tom fished the instructions out of the bin to check it didn't mean there was something wrong with it. 
Another 2 tests later (just to be certain) and now here we are: 29 + 6  down with  uncomfortable ribs and growing excitement mixed still with occasional panic.

10 things I wish I had known about the first 3 months of pregnancy:

Don't get me wrong... with 12 nieces and nephews I knew a fair amount about pregnancy but the first 3 months when nobody is letting on that they are pregnant, you end up hearing about it in short hand and the symptoms which have now become irrelevant are very relevant to first time mums at the time!

1. First and foremost, it really is THAT easy to get pregnant if all is well with both parties... I know they tell you in sex education that it can happen the first time etc, etc (it wasn't the first time but you know what I mean) and I also know (being one myself) that accidents really do happen...REALLY! I always thought that I would have decided to 'try' for my first baby and it would take a good few months.
Luckily, we were thinking of trying to start a family this year but we wanted to wait until after our massive holiday in June... Well, things change.

2. Measuring size in fruit and veg becomes entirely normal... This is just beyond weird... its not exactly science and its even less exact when no website or app seems to agree but still, it sounds good saying the baby is the size of a winter squash.

3. Just because the baby is the size of a lentil does not mean you feel any less manky and tired...

4. The tiredness.... OH MY... you think you are tired after doing two all nighters.... try growing a baby and a placenta! I always thought tiredness was something that came later on when you're huge and carting a watermelon about with you all the time. I was falling asleep e v e r y w h e r e.

5. Morning Sickness... It doesn't always happen and if it does it may not be very noticeable! The obvious symptom that I would have reacted to I had very little sign of (I occasionally felt car sick all day), and I feel massively guilty that I got off lightly but.... instead I had:

6. Depression... I don't know anyone else who has suffered from this during the first 3 months but I had 6 weeks where I could not see the point in anything, I was miserable as sin and nothing could make me happy hard as I tried. It lasted about 6 weeks, caused all sorts of grief and then disappeared as quickly as it had come. I still didn't even know I was pregnant by the time it had gone. So that was a very bizarre phase that I really wish I had known before could be a possible symptom. I guess it isn't surprising with all the hormones doing crazy things inside you.

7. Baby brain is instantaneous... The number of times I have lost my car keys or left the hot water on so that it runs off is innumerable and I genuinely feel like I might be a fire hazard!

8. Soft toothbrushes may make your life suddenly seem ok again... I have accidentally bought soft toothbrushes before and I hated them. I never really knew that pregnancy could have any effect on your teeth and gums but after a few days of pain and bleeding I embraced the softness!

9. Food aversions may be your favourite food or the food you eat most often... When I've heard about food aversions they have always been obscure or from the smell of them cooking but my food aversions was Chicken breast, Tom's favourite food and probably the meat staple in our household (or was). I struggled with how it looked, what it felt like, chopping it up, cooking it and then trying very hard to eat it. I don't think I will ever feel the same way about it again. Also I had an aversion to pizza... I am loath to admit to it! I loved pizza and now I can only eat it very occasionally!

10. Your instincts are probably right (most women I have spoken to knew instinctively that they were pregnant)

So there you have my top 10 discoveries of the first trimester! Did anything bizarre or unexpected happen to you? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments...


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