Tag Archives: real life

Autumnal Chicken Pox Adventure

Wahoo! It’s finally half term! 10 days with both my kiddies lies ahead, alas I’ve caught some sort of lurgy along with Taya, but, I have to make the most of both kids being home, so as long as Taya is up for it, and Logan doesn’t catch it also, we shall be having lots of fun! Hopefully! 

Talking of the lurgy links in with today’s #ThrowbackBlog going back to October 2014. Logan caught chickenpox at the end of September. He wasn’t happy, he was very itchy and wasn’t impressed of being housebound. As he started to scab over we decided we just had to get out, but obviously didn’t want to go anywhere that we could pass on the pox. So we visited both the beach and the woods, the fresh air did us all the world of good and it was nice for Logan to burn some energy off. Today’s photos are from our trip to the woods. I actually believe they may have been taken on Kibas birthday.

We’re really lucky in that we live in an area that has loads of natural landscapes to explore. We have heaths, woods, marshes, broads, beaches and many green spaces to explore. The particular woods we went to this day was just a short drive away, we literally parked on the side of the road and wandered in to the autumnal sunshine streaming down through the leafy canopy. 



Logan decided to take his (plastic) sword along, I can’t remember the particular reason, he could of been a pirate, a knight or maybe hunting Dragons or demons. He had a great time whatever he was doing. He mainly followed Kiba around, who I’m sure was looking for decent trees to climb. Logan mainly used his sword for the many, many brambles that covered the woodland floor. It made it slightly tough going, but to be honest we didn’t wander particularly far, and just let Logan have free reign to explore the area. 

After a while Logan found some charred wood, where it was obvious that someone had either tried to make a ‘campfire’ or were just burning something. Logan loved playing with the ash, and using his sword to cut in to the softer wood, breaking bits off. He was getting pretty filthy as you’d expect, but as he was enjoying himself we let him get on with it. We’re fairly relaxed with mess as it is, everything, including clothes can be cleaned. 



He’s still pretty darn gorgeous whether picking his nose or covered in spots! I’m glad we took the opportunity to get out and grab some fresh air, you sure do get cabin fever when you’re stuck in with a sick toddler. I encourage anyone who has a kid with the pox, if they’re feeling up for it, grab some outdoor time, away from the public, you’ll all feel much better for it. When Taya eventually has chickenpox then we’ll be taking the same approach, sometimes you just have to blow away the cobwebs and germs! 

P.s. The photos have an older watermark on them, it’s actually logans footprint from when he was a baby! 

Advertisements

Orcas: The First Encounter

I’m going to set the matter straight away before I go any further. This is NOT going to turn in to a debate of whether or not these beings should be in captivity. This is a memory, do not tarnish it. If you really feel the need to know my opinion, ask, in a nice manner, I may tell. I respect your opinion, but please do not go telling people what they should think. Research, experience, then make your own mind up. Thank you.

~~~

This week, my cousins are sunning it up in Tenerife the lucky devils, and yesterday they went to Loro Parque, and throughout the day on my request, I was sent photos and videos of the sealions, dolphins and Orcas. I couldn’t decide whether I was loving the updates, or just plain torturing myself as I wasn’t there but so dearly wanted to. Anyway, you probably all know that I love, love, love Orcas. Always have done, and I’m sure I always will. They are my favourite ever animals, for so many reasons. If you don’t know what I am talking about then please go and google. I’ve decided for todays throwback blog I am going to tell you all about the time my heart exploded as I saw Orcas in the flesh for the first time.

It was 2005. November to be exact. The Christmas before our parents had surprised us with the trip to Florida, we had a little envelope with photos of the places we’d be visiting, and of course I’m sure I was almost crying when I held the tiny piece with Sea World on it. It seemed like a lifetime to wait until the day we flew out. I’d never been long haul before, and am a nervous flier, but knowing what was waiting for me the other end helped so much. I remember it actually took me a few days to realise I wasn’t dreaming and that it was a reality. Everything is a bit fuzzy now, I can’t even remember how many days we spent at Sea World. I’d of happily spent the whole trip there. If you’ve never been to a theme park then you won’t quite understand the atmosphere of them. I was there for the animals, I don’t like roller coasters or most rides. I was there for the orcas. Shamu. I was giddy with excitement the first day we went. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d actually be seeing one.

At Sea World, you can either see the Orcas during a show, which was The Shamu Adventure at the time, in the underwater viewing area, or by doing Dine With Shamu. Naturally we did all of them.

Walking in to the stadium, it’s sheer immense size, you’re looking down on to the pool. We chose seats close but not too close. (Mum or Dad may remember how many rows back!) It was still in the “Splash Zone” but my parents did not believe we’d get wet so far away from the water. I did try to warn them but it fell on deaf ears. Then I heard the ‘pff’ of an orca surfacing. My head whipped round, and there just in front of us was this black and white creature, so smooth looking, gliding through the water. I’m sure I cried. It was everything and more to be in their presence. I’d studied this particular group of whales, and vaguely knew how to ID them, but that pretty much went out of my head with just a few facts stuck in my mind. I also only had a disposable camera at that stage in my life, but I took some photos, not very good mind. I can only find a few of them, but will share what I took, and shall update the post if I find the lost ones.

PicsArt_10-12-10.11.44Photo: Preshow, who was watching who?

The show was amazing, personally I think it was better than ‘Believe’ which it had changed to before my next trips in ’07 and ’09. I remember there being a kayak involved, and a lot of facts and waterworks. If you don’t know, waterworks are where the trainer performs in the water with the whales, a practice that now doesn’t exist due to health and safety.

PicsArt_10-12-10.10.05Photo: I used to remember what this was called, but it’s impressive to see nonetheless.

It got to the splashing part of the show, and the big guns came out. Tilikum. I’m sure many of you know of his name, he drew a lot of media attention before his death this year. My heart still aches that I won’t ever get to see him again. He was the king. 22.5 foot long, 12,500lb in weight. He was spectacular to see perform, pure muscle. So when he came, and you were suddenly faced with his flukes (tail) about to send a ton of water towards your way, you knew you had no escape. My parents faces. The look of realization, they were about to be drenched, I was right. I’ll never forget it, it was hilarious. Sadly, as I hid my camera I didn’t get any photos of him myself that year. Following years I did, although I did a lot of filming as well, but I shall share with you another time if you’re interested.
PicsArt_10-12-10.08.16Photo: Takara, Kohana and Skyla. Takara was pregnant with who turned out to be my favourite little (not so little now!) orca ever, Trua, who happened to be born the day before or after we flew home! Typical. (I can’t remember what day we flew home) It made meeting, and interacting with him, in 2007 even more special though.
PicsArt_10-12-10.06.29Photo: Kohana on the slide out. She is one of the orcas that my cousin is seeing in Tenerife!
PicsArt_10-12-10.20.57Photo: A few more of the snaps I got while I was there. They’re very special memories to me. I just wish I could go back with my DSLR now!

We also got treated to Dine With Shamu. I shall have to go and raid my Mums computer for some photos really, as you can see the pure joy and excitement in my face. I barely took my eyes of the whales. Basically you get delicious buffet food and then the trainers perform an up close little show. This does cost extra, but it is well worth it in my eyes! Or at least it used to be, don’t count me on that for now! It was definitely a cool experience, and the food was really yummy too! Afterwards, at the end the trainers come round and you can meet them, have your photos taken and have a chat.

From the same pool that they do Dine With Shamu in is where the underwater viewing is located. I would honestly love to sit in there all day. My cousin and I actually did spend a large proportion of one of our days in there in 2007. In 2005 however we didn’t see as many of the whales in their as we liked. Obviously they have freewill and have a choice of pools to go in. We did see Tilikum and Taima though. Taima was gorgeous. She was also pregnant at the time, and didn’t want to play at the glass, but to just watch her swim, for her to be gliding past just the other side of the glass was enough. When you are that close you can really respect them, they are huge, powerful. Again, I need to raid my mums computer for photos!

PicsArt_10-12-10.03.48Photo: Taima swimming past. Another whale I can’t believe is gone. She died giving birth, and I remember just after I gave birth to Logan I was thinking (and may have asked out loud) that I hoped Taima didn’t die in the pain that I just experienced.

So there you have it. It was probably all just a babble, I just love Orcas so much, particularly the ones who I have seen with my own two eyes. You just can’t describe their presence, or their true immense size and power to someone who hasn’t seen them. They’re so, so amazing. I’d love to see them in the wild. When I went whale watching in ’06 the trips before and after us saw them, but we weren’t so lucky! Maybe one day I will. I also hope to one day get back to Orlando, or at least see some in one of the closer locations.

Becoming Wolverine 

Hey! *waves* I’m here, I’ve not gone anywhere. I apologize for not posting in a while but we’ve had to deal with some very difficult family matters that have required my mind and body to be focused on keeping my family going. It’s not been easy, but we are strong and we shall cope. Hopefully I can put my mind in to blogging again and sharing with you all. 

So remember I wanted to do a throwback Thursday blog? Well it’s Thursday! It’s been a long day with Harvest Festival this morning then parents evening and baby-sitting tonight so shall be a short one, but I hope you like it all the same.

Mr Heberling had his birthday on the 3rd, so I wanted to focus on him, which he probably won’t like, mainly as these are older photos I’m now about to share, from 2012! Mr Heberling likes to have his photo taken at times though, and often dresses up, or cosplay if you want to call it that. One time he wanted to be Wolverine. Obviously we do like Wolverine as we named our son Logan, yes, that’s why he has his name. Mr Heberling also likes to challenge himself in to making his own props/things, and on this occasion he wanted to make himself some Wolverine claws. He looked up tutorials and my Dad helped, and to be honest they came out pretty amazing! They are measured to fit his hands perfectly and to this day are kept proudly. 

Naturally we had our photoshoot, some inside and outside shots were taken, and he helped with editing them to his tastes. (Yup, our editing tastes can differ at times!) I really liked how they came out, the indoor ones particularly due to the lighting. Although one thing bugs me about them, see if you can spot it…


…Did you guess? Yes, it’s the wallpaper behind him! It was my Mums hallway, and realistically a flat backdrop would of been a lot better! Next, we headed out to the woods;

Even though it was only 5 years ago I think he looks rather young! He’d say the children have aged him, or me! I think they came out really well though, and we’ve since had a number of photoshoots including Spiderman which I’ll share with you another time. Logan also dressed up as Wolverine for a school event as well recently so I shall share a photo of him another time. For now that’s all. I hoped you enjoyed stepping back in time with me! 

The Beginnings of Team Heberling

Okay, so I was thinking of the goals I’d set myself almost a week ago (which aren’t going to plan at the moment… Oops) and was thinking of what to share for Throwback Thursday when it struck me, why don’t I share a post as well as a photo for it? I have loads of memories that I can share with you, stories behind photos etc. I hereby christen #TBTblog and hopefully you’ll get something new each week! So to start with, I think I’ll tell you all how Kiba and I met. (This is the point Mr Heberling will be raising an eyebrow and either thinking it’s all too mushy or gaaaay!)

As previously mentioned in my Hello post, Kiba isn’t actually called Kiba, that is just what we call him. His name is Maurice, and he is German. Most people ask how we got together, seeing as we are from different countries, and whereas it isn’t your conventional dating and romance story, it is ours, and I love it.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-21 at 18.21.52

Now, going back to my teen years. I was part of an online community which shared a love for Orcas, and we would edit footage to songs to make Videos to share on YouTube (Not always Orca footage, other animals, and films too!). It was fun, and I made many friends all over the world who liked to do the same. Sometimes I even miss video editing, and I will still often imagine how I would edit a video when I am listening to a song. (Both our individual and joint YouTube accounts still exist if you fancy checking them out, Mine and our joint one, bear in mind they’re quite old now!). Kiba also enjoyed this pastime, but I didn’t meet him directly that way. In fact he was actually dating a friend of mine from said community.

I’m not going to name her, just call her R, but she was good friends with my cousin and myself and we’d regularly chat on ICQ (German equivalent to MSN, remember the good old days?) and she soon started dating Kiba. One time they were together she said she was having some sort of argument and I’m not sure how but I ended up talking to Kiba on her account. I’m not going to lie, there was a genuine sort of spark between us. I liked talking to him. After a while (days, weeks maybe? I know it was May) I added him to my chat list. R wasn’t happy for some reason and she wanted me to try and talk with Kiba about it I think, mediate. I fell in love instead. I never meant to steal someones boyfriend, but I did. I lost a friend, and I am sorry about that, but I shall never, ever be sorry for falling in love.

So, we talked, and video chatted a lot. Kiba has always been amazing at English, lucky for me as my German was at zero at this point. He made me laugh, made me smile. I was studying for my A-Levels and he always gave me enough time and space to get on with my work, and was always supportive of making me get on. We’d talk until the early hours of the morning, I probably did get distracted from things going on around me as I spent so much time online, but he was important to me.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-21 at 18.21.59

In August 2009, Kiba made his first visit over to the UK to stay with us. It was quite nerve wracking waiting at the bus station for him to arrive. For all the times I’d sat and stared at his face, I had never seen him in person, but I had nothing to worry about. He was even better in the flesh, understandably he was shy, it was a big step, but I’m so glad he did. We continued chatting in to the early hours, just this time we were with each other, we could hold hands. We did take our relationship slow and steady, and he visited a few more times until I took the leap to visit him and his family in August of 2010. By this point we knew we wanted to be together forever, so it was just working out how to keep the long distance relationship going. Meeting his family was incredibly scary, but again, I had nothing to worry about. They may be a large family, a noisy family, but they are a truly lovely family.

I had planned on going to University in the September of 2010, but in reality I don’t think I was ever cut out for it. I am glad I never went in the end, as I realized that’t not what I wanted out of my life. However, at the time I decided to just defer for the year, and to go live out in Germany in the time being. That didn’t last long, as I fell pregnant in the October! I didn’t tell anyone until the December though, and ended up having my first scan on the 24th December, after plucking up the courage to tell my parents. I wanted to birth and raise our child in the UK, so Kiba agreed that’d we move back to my parents until we got our own place. We moved back permanently on the 11th Feb 2011, Logan was born June 2011, and we ended up not getting our own place until June 2013! While I was pregnant with Logan, Kiba proposed to me. We were lying in bed, and had talked about it many a times, but he looked at me, holding my hand and asked if I would marry him. No brainer really. He is my soul mate, and I love him dearly. I always will.

So, fast forward to 2017 and we are finally planning our wedding, and have two beautiful children. Did I ever think I’d fall in love online? No. Would I change anything? Heck no. Online love can happen. Long distance relationships can work. I can’t wait to finally be a Heberling.

WhatsApp Image 2017-09-21 at 18.55.01

So much to do, so little time

I am still here! Promise. I’m slowly getting back in to the school routine, which also means getting back in to fitting play groups, cleaning, mealtimes etc around school drop offs and pick ups. Also, Taya seems to have given up her daytime nap unless we go in someone’s car, which suddenly means I have less time to myself, which, as most parents know is a valuable time to get on with jobs or hobbies. 

On top of everyday household jobs and playing I’m slowly trying to catch up on editing and sharing photos. It is a very long and slow job. A large majority of my “spare time” is used to edit photos. It feels like I’m slowly starting to make a little progress, but I’ll be very happy once I’m finally all caught up. 

I’m going to set myself a couple of goals, and hopefully they’ll help me to get back on track, feel free to nudge me if you feel I’m failing, sometimes I need a bit of a kick up the backside. So here goes: 

  1. Get back to doing daily German lessons. Before Germany I did a good few months of daily lessons, but once we were back I fell off the wagon. I admit to not doing one since despite adding it to my mental to do list. 
  2. More regular blog posts. I’d like to do a minimum of a post a week, but preferably at least twice. If you’ve got any ideas, suggest away, I’ll make a list of ideas so I can just choose one and hopefully never have that “what should I write?” moment.
  3. Take part in #Throwbackthursday. I did for a while, then once again failed to continue. I’m already taking part in Babipurs weekly Instagram Challenges so this is just another way of being more present on social media. 

I don’t want to set too many goals for now, as I think I’m more likely to fail if I do! So for now these will do. I think it’s enough and hopefully you shall see a lot more from me! 😁

On the subject of time, take a look at my photo clock! I got it for Christmas and only just sorted the photos out. Watch this space for it to finally get on a wall! 😜

A New Chapter (Poem)

The house is so much quieter
there’s a small person missing here
The toddlers searching round and round
hoping her brother will reappear.

The time has gone so very fast,
was it really 6 weeks break?
Their childhood is flying past,
so quick, it makes my heart ache.

He’s starting on another adventure,
he’ll learn so much and grow,
but that little hand this morning,
it squeezed tight, not wanting to let go.

I put a smile upon my face,
squeeze back, and give him a hug,
“you’ll be fine” I say,
while the words give my heartstrings a good tug.

He’ll be fine, I’ll be fine,
it just all takes time to adjust,
Every parent and child must take the leap
in the teachers hands we entrust.

These children of ours, our womb fruit,
who we’ve raised all these years.
They now have another guiding hand,
and the thought may bring on some tears

but remember, never forget,
that although time may fly,
they’ll be our babies forever,
sit back, take it all in, have a cry

make memories when you can,
snuggle up, play games, make art,
even if you do nothing special,
they’ll know you love them with all your heart.

To drive or not to drive?

NOTE: The featured image of the speedometer was taken while we were in Germany on the autobahn where, if you don’t know, they have no speed limit. It is honestly kind of terrifying, and Kiba wanted to briefly see how fast he could go, this speed was not maintained. At one point we were cruising along at 90 odd and suddenly a police car came shooting past, with a (presumably) civilian car keeping up with them, and they were gone within moments! Germans love their speed! Kiba loves driving, and has had many cars in his driving history, his latest is this beauty:

PicsArt_09-05-04.21.18

I don’t drive. I can’t drive. I have reached the age of 25 without stepping behind the wheel of a car once. Growing up I never daydreamed about owning my own car, never really imagined myself driving. As a teenager when everyone around me started to learn and ultimately pass their tests the urge to do the same never occurred. It wasn’t until after Logan was born and Kiba learnt to drive that I ever really started to consider it. But I was terrified of the idea. I still am pretty scared. I just can’t imagine myself in control of a large metal box on wheels. Up until recently the idea of it made me feel physically nauseous. I can now imagine it, but still don’t think I am anywhere near ready to ever attempt it. Yet there seems to be a lot of pressure out there to drive. I’m regularly asked if I am going to, if I’ve considered taking the leap as it would enrich my own and my kids lives. Of course I have considered it. I’m a worrier, I worry about it a lot. (Just ask Kiba)

I’ve come to realize that a lot of people seem to think you should drive if you’ve got kids, yet I know a lot of people who don’t. I have even seen people claim that you can’t be a ‘good’ parent as you can’t take them places etc. This is utter nonsense. Yes, I may not be able to get the kids places myself, but I have some darn good friends and family who help me out as much as they can. They say it takes a village to raise a child and in my case my ‘village’ sure does help a lot. Which is particularly good as I do live in a small rural village, where the bus routes aren’t the best, but I can honestly say I’ve never taken the bus here, or even a taxi. I could, and I probably should at times, but my anxiety has often got the better of me. So should I learn to drive? It’s something I have thought about a lot. Kiba and I have had many conversations about it. I asked in the Babipur Hangout a facebook group filled with lots of friendly parents who love Babipur on their opinions and who could drive. Of the 103 people who replied, 63 could drive, 40 could not. There were some interesting comments and I was quite surprised at the number of families were both parents were non-drivers. Some of the comments cemented my fear of the kids missing out, and that they might begrudge that in future, but ultimately it gave me some reassurance on my decision so far of not driving.  I think it comes down to being a very personal choice, but I’ve decided to write some Pros/Cons for each situation in case anyone was in the same conundrum as I am. I’ll be adding some side notes of my own though.

To be able to drive;

PROS;
– To be able to do what you want, when you want. Not having to rely on others.
– Emergency situations. Self explanatory.
– Reliability. Unlike buses/trains etc that may get cancelled or delayed.
– Better job opportunities.

CONS;
– Expense. Cars or any other vehicle are expensive. The lessons and test to drive for starters. Then the actual vehicles, the insurance, the fuel and then the upkeep. It all adds up and can be quite costly.
– Parking. It can be a nightmare. Personally we can’t even park outside our house, it’s a short walk up the road, which is fine in the summer, but in Winter or if it’s peeing with rain, or if you’ve got lots to carry it is a bit of a nightmare.
– It’s a big responsibility. Cars are huge, potentially dangerous metal boxes, and when they mix with people in an accident the cars get the lighter deal. I’d be terrified of an accident, which would then mean I’m more of a danger as I am a nervous driver.
– Congestion. There are a lot of cars out there these days, which leads me to the next point
– Environmental Impact. We all know about this.

Not being able to drive:

PROS;
– It’s eco friendly. You’re not adding your own CO2 in to the atmosphere.
– Saving money by not having the cost of a car
– Less stressful. This is a personal one.

CONS;
– Having to rely on others for lifts for everything that can’t be reached by public transport.
– Moving car seats between cars, although if you only have one and go in others cars anyway you’d still probably be moving it about at some point.
– Public transport can be expensive
– Emergency situations (although if it truly is an emergency I would call 999, and any other I have a fabulous network who’d help me out)

All in all, I think that if I were to learn to drive I’d have to be so, so much more confident. Kiba has told me that I am not to learn until I have gotten over the fear of it, as a nervous driver can be a dangerous driver. I also think that if I do one day want to become a Doula then I am going to have to drive, as who would want to hire a doula that can’t get to you quickly? It’s a bit of an awkward situation though, to drive I need money, but to earn money I ultimately would need to drive. I shall have to cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now as a family we really can’t afford lessons and then a second car. I think for now I need to focus on my wedding (324 days from today!) as that in itself is a pricey and slightly stressful thing to think about. Afterwards I shall reassess our situation and how I feel and go from there. I know not being able to drive does not make me a bad parent. I know my kids have just as good as a life as kids with a mum who does drive. No one should feel forced in their decision, or guilty of their choice. I shall strive to be the best person I can, no matter what my circumstances.

I just want to take a quick moment to thank those, and they’ll know who they are, that have helped the kids and I get about the past few years. I really, really appreciate you guys. Thank you.

PS. I just found this photo, the closest to driving I have been, unless Mario Kart counts!

PicsArt_09-05-04.23.10

The sleep thieves and I

Long time no see huh? I really do apologise and hope this post may explain, mainly to myself, why I’ve been utterly crap at doing anything the past couple weeks, and it also serves a huge, huge apology to everyone who has physically been with my grumpy arse, I’ve been in a foul and odd mood and I’m sorry if you got caught in it. I love you guys really. 

So, sleep thieves? I’m sure you all are aware of at least one in your life for some reason or another. I have 2 regulars, 3 if the kids each count as their own. The other is my Fibromyalgia, sometimes it causes insomnia, sometimes I’m just too damn uncomfortable to sleep, other times it’s the cause of medication. These past 2 weeks have been awful for sleep, and as you all know this has a great effect on yourself, and everyone around you. 

I’ve never understood “sleeping through” and the utterly ridiculous notion of expecting babies to sleep all night. It is not natural. They wake due to a biological design to prevent SIDS. Their stomachs are little and need filling up little and often, overfed babies “sleep through” due to their little bodies having to basically shut down so their stomach can catch up on digestion, it is not a sign of a good baby. It is normal for them to wake. I don’t know about you, but I still wake at least once a night, to pee, to drink or just because. So I’ve never expected the kids to sleep through, which they never have. I can count on both hands the number of times Logan has and a similar amount for Taya, although she did have a period of long sleep before the dreaded 4 month leap. These days Logan (6) goes to bed in his own room, and whenever he wakes, which can be anytime from 10pm through to 6am, he comes in to our bed for the remainder of the night. Taya (2) breastfeeds to sleep in the evening on the sofa with me. She’ll either stay in my arms or on a beanbag until we go up to bed. We co-sleep, we have her cotbed sidecarred to ours. There she’ll either sleep or sleep-feed all night. She’ll generally wake between 2 and 8 times. It can be tiring but it is so, so much easier co-sleeping, just roll over and pop a boob out, no need to fully wake up even. However the past couple weeks Taya has upped her waking to 10+ a night. It was so draining. I was exhausted, I was touched out, I didn’t want her touching me. But I kept reminding myself it is just a phase, it will pass. And it has, she’s slowly going longer again! I don’t see either of my kids ever sleeping through, but maybe they’ll get there one day, and if not it isn’t the end of the world. They’re only little for such a small amount of time, I’d rather cherish them, I’ll be able to sleep well in years to come. 

Old photo of our sleep setup. Taken at a ridiculously early time after Taya had a poonami. I still only get about the same amount of space.  

My second sleep thief, the one that causes the poor quality sleep is Fibromyalgia. I’ll go in to that in more detail another time, but just so you know now, I ache and hurt, a lot. I can cry from the painful aching at times, and getting comfortable at night is a never-ending struggle. 2 weeks ago I started to reduce my medication in preparation for changing to another, hopefully more helpful one. Whereas the actual aching and pain didn’t increase much (it hadn’t been working too well obviously!) the side effects, or withdrawal symptoms were horrendous. Despite the junior Dr telling me to just stop, I knew you had to reduce it slowly, although I could only do so 300mg at a time as she wouldn’t give me any lower, so I felt the effects. I’ve had a constant headache, I’ve felt sick, tired, grumpy, and I’m pretty sure I was a nightmare to live with. At night I was suddenly struck with more insomnia, I’d lie awake for hours, my anxiety would kick in and I’d worry myself to sleep. I’d wake up so sore from being in one spot for too long. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it, it was a horrible couple of weeks. I’m glad I’m finally off those tablets, and hoping that these new ones have a better effect. I can only hope. I still feel tired most of the time, a mix of my thieves all together and the general day to day aches take their toll, but I try and never let it slow me down. Sometimes I just have to, but mostly I smile and get on with it. 

So, here’s to some good nights ahead. I hope you all get some good sleep, even if you don’t get a full nights, make the most of the time you do get! Here’s some more photos of sleepy Taya, as I never tire of photos of her asleep 😍

Aren’t holidays supposed to be relaxing?

I don’t think we really did any relaxing, in our sleep perhaps, but most of the our holiday was packed with family visits and trips. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to do really, and next time we know for definite that we will do 2 weeks rather than just the 1. It flew past so quick, and after not seeing most of Kiba’s family for 3 whole years, 1 week really didn’t seem enough time. Despite all the visits I suppose you could say we did have some downtime, mainly while we were waiting for certain things, like people, transport for others etc. but compared to the complete full on craziness that is visiting family/kids/pets I don’t think it counts as relaxing. Even at the outdoor pool I don’t think I truly relaxed, who does with small kids and water?! However, despite all this I can definitively say that you do not need to relax to have a good time*. So, I’m going to give you all an overview of what we did in our week away, to give you a bit of perspective of our holiday and why we never got to relax, and how I managed to take 2,214 photos.

Day 1, travel day, 282 photos. Drive, ferry, drive. Read this post if you’d like more detail.

Day 2, 78 photos. The kids needed time to settle in to their new environment, so we took it pretty easy in the morning. We spent time with Kibas Dad and half sister. We met all their animals, dogs, cats, ponies, goats, geese, chickens and rabbits. Obviously Taya thought they were the best thing ever. In the early afternoon we went and said Hello to Kibas Mum, (and her husband, 3 of Kibas sister, 1 of his brother, and 1 of his nieces!) where I didn’t take any photos as it was all very over-whelming. I spent a majority of the time asking the kids to put a crying Taya down as she did not want to be picked up by people she didn’t particularly know. Again we met their animals, a large number of dogs, cats (including 13 tiny kittens!) and rabbits. Again, Taya thought this was the best thing ever. Logan not so much, he isn’t the biggest fan of dogs, but he surprised me by how he jumped right into playing with the kids. The language barrier really didn’t bother him. He did later tell me that he enjoyed himself as they treated him like a King, he didn’t even have to take his own shoes off! We then headed off back to Kibas Dads for a BBQ, and a short stroll up the road.

Day 3, 317 photos. We had a late morning after spending some time with Kibas Dad, but then headed off to Kibas brothers. From his we walked the 20-30 minutes in to the city. We had a good look around, and got some postcards, and then ice creams, as it was a lovely hot day! We then walked back to near his brothers to grab a kebab and play in one of the local parks. I’m surprised but Logan walked the whole entire time, he did moan, but he still had loads of energy left. Early afternoon we headed off to Kibas Aunts, to see her, his uncle and his two cousins. Taya was again ecstatic that they had kittens (She is a breeder!) and we had cake in the garden. We then walked to the local school to use their play area, football and basketball facilities. Logan definitely got rid of all remaining energy there! He was pretty exhausted that night understandably.

Day 4, 263 photos. It was a bit more of a dreary morning, but we decided to head up to Burg Plesse, or Plesse Castle, as despite always looking at it as we drove past, we’d never visited. Taya quite rightly kept calling it ‘Tangled’ as it has one tall tower, and is pretty impressive as well as being pretty old,  and the views were absolutely stunning! I wish we’d have visited it sooner, and we’ll definitely go again. There is a restaurant inside now, so you can only really explore the outside, but that was cool enough on it’s own. It soon started raining and we left to go back to Kibas mums for the afternoon, with lots of playing outside with the kids and dogs.

Day 5, 381 photos. In the morning we had a bit of a wait for Kibas Dads transport to arrive, but then we moved our cases to his Mums house for the remainder of the stay. After a quick play outside we decided to go to one of the many outdoor pools in the area. We took one of Kibas sisters with us and had a great time. I honestly have no idea why I have never been to one before, and can only hope that we can go back soon! Kiba and his sister loved jumping off the diving boards so I got some photos of them, albeit from a good distance away. Mr Skinny Logan was having a blast (although I forgot his goggles, bad Mummy) but he got cold very, very quickly. He needs some fat on him bless him! May invest in a wetsuit/drysuit to help him enjoy water play longer, as he loves it! So I ended up on the blanket on the hill, feeding Taya who soon fell asleep, with a wrapped up cold Logan next to me, watching the rain clouds roll in. Later we headed back to our new “home” for more outside play, where all 3 of Logan & Tayas cousins joined us, along with Kibas Sister and BIL, it got very noisy then, but was also a lot of fun.

Day 6, 325 photos. In the morning we let Taya have a play in the kitten room. I never said no to this, they were so, so cute! Later on we went in search of another castle, the castle ruins at Hardenberg. It was pretty impressive from the road, and it did take us a while to find out where to park, we ended up asking for directions. Obviously this wasn’t the most visited castle ever as the path around it was a bit difficult to navigate and was up on a cliff! I was very glad that Taya stayed in her Connecta! After a walk round, looking at the ruins and watching the lizards running we soon concluded that you couldn’t actually get in to the castle, unless on a tour, or for the registry office. Which was a shame, but we had a good wander nonetheless. Afterwards we went and picked up Kibas brother and headed off to his sisters (the one with the kids cousins, am I confusing you yet with siblings?!) for a BBQ. The kids had the most fantastic time playing with each other, they have a huge garden, where Taya fell in love with the trampoline (but only when she was the sole occupier!) and the food was delicious, with yummy ice cream afterwards! It was a thoroughly lovely evening, and probably the most relaxed I ever got.

Day 7, 97 photos. We visited Kibas Dad in the morning for a bit. I think we may have then been to ToyRUs possibly, I am not sure, I haven’t got the best memory and am admittedly using the photos to work out what we did when! We went back to base for a bit, before heading off to Kibas Aunts for a big family get together & meal. A very yummy meal at that. We also met Kibas grandfather, his Opa, who I have to say is a bit of a character! He’s one of these very typical older generation, with a bit of craziness mixed in, and the ever intense being that I feel I’m particularly sensitive too due to anxiety. Plus you know, the language barrier and the fact that Kiba used every opportunity to not spend with him, even if it left me with him! However, he did give us some money. We also headed back to the local school for more football, before finding a new play area which was lovely, and Taya had a good old swing while the big kids played basketball.

Day 8, 310 photos. Mainly a day of goodbyes and mixed emotions. Firstly was Kibas Dad. I think this was the toughest one, with him being terminally ill it was never going to be easy. Then it was back to his Mums for more playing in the garden, and the final sister had turned up too. We took a trip to their local playing field for football with Kibas siblings, Logan took an impressive tumble on the way and ended up with a mighty cut to the knee, which did bleed a lot. If you’ve seen us in person since we’ve been home I’m sure you know all about this. He’s worn shorts to show it off and is often accompanied with some oohs and aahs. It didn’t stop him joining in with the football though! After a good runaround we headed back, where the cousins and co turned up for a play and then their Goodbyes. I made a faux pas by spoiling a surprise, Kiba told me they’d be hopefully visiting us at Christmas. What he didn’t say was that it was a surprise. So I mentioned it to the eldest child. Oops. I feel terrible that I ruined her surprise, but I was genuinely excited too! (It was so Kibas fault!) Despite the people living in the house saying they’d be getting up in the morning with us to say goodbye there was still a lot of pre-bedtime tears too, and last minute gift giving.

Day 9, 161 photos. Drive, ferry, drive. Again, if you want to read about it in more detail then read this post.

So, a grand total of 2,214 photos later, and 9 days, we are home, and I think just about recovered from our adventures. I can’t wait for our next grand adventure as a family!

* I should really point out that growing up, we have never been a sit by the pool kind of family. We go somewhere new to explore and visit places. So maybe I don’t know what it’s like to truly relax?

The long road home.

So, we’re home! To be precise we got home at 22:40 on Sunday night, and since then it’s been a tiring blur of washing, tidying, shopping and play group this morning. Figured I’d give you a run down of our journey home today, and then shall do a rough overview of our holiday in another post. So, Sunday…

We’d set our alarms for 4am, with the aim of leaving the house by 5. The ferry wasn’t due to leave till 2pm, with boarding from 12:30, but with a 5 hour drive ahead of us we wanted to give ourselves an extra 2 hours for stops or traffic, and in the end it was a good decision. The family we were currently staying with, Kibas mum, her husband, 3 of Kibas sisters and one of his brothers, had all decided to get up to say goodbye so we attempted an earlyish night, which probably did not end up as early as we’d have hoped. 

I was rudely awoken at around 2am by a breeze coming from the previously closed window above my head. As I awoke I realised Kiba was standing there and as I asked what was up he replied with the short answer “I need to pee.” Ah. At his Mums to go to the loo at night meant going downstairs and getting through a room full of dogs that didn’t particularly like our night wandering, as we’d previously found out with many growls and barking, so I could see his predicament. I heard him attempt to get down only to retreat with the growls following him. After a bit more muttering and pacing he decided to pee out of the window, much to my amusement. It still makes me want to giggle thinking about it. 

4am came, and the final preparations were sorted. The goodbyes were hard and came with a lot of tears from Kibas mum and sisters, the hugs were long, no one wanting to let go. But 5am soon turned up and we set off, not long before the sun began to rise. I’ll admit that this time on the 5hr leg of our journey my tiredness got the better of me and I drifted in and out of sleep in between admiring the views, hoping it wouldn’t be too long before we were back. We took two stops along the way, first so Kiba could pee, and I could give Taya some milk, and the second as Taya was crying as she wanted to breastfeed again, and was getting quite upset. Luckily we’d allowed for extra time. 

We got close to the Hook of Holland before Kiba needed the toilet again, and we decided to get some food, so used my Google maps to find the closest McDonald’s. Now, if you haven’t driven over in Holland let me tell you now, the roads can be quite confusing! On a roundabout in most places you can go round and exit, in your lane, but if really need be you can change when safe to do so. In Holland you have one chance at choosing the right lane, as they are all separate, so we did go wrong a couple of times admittedly. Eventually we got to McDonald’s for around 11am, so we decided on an early lunch and quick play in their play area for the kids. By 12 we decided to head to the ferry. 

After checking in we surprisingly were allowed on straight away, no waiting about whatsoever. We were right near the front and this time remembered to take a photo of deck and coloured stairs so we wouldn’t forget. The only bad thing of boarding early meant we had a fair wait until setting sail, although even that was slightly early. We settled on the sun deck at first, after Taya had walked in to a post on the way there, (she has a tendency to not look where she is going) and Logan was thrilled that there was a ball available to play in the basketball/football cage. Taya was thrilled that she could open and shut the door of said cage. Taya then fell off the bench getting down off my lap, so wasn’t in the happiest of moods. We set sail and she wanted to breastfeed, so I ended up missing one of times I think is most exciting to watch overboard, leaving the port. It soon got quite windy and chilly, so we decided to venture inside and made our way to the playroom. I’m pretty sure Kiba had a good nap on the floor in there, Logan either played on his DS or watched the Curious George cartoons that they had on. Taya happily played. I chatted briefly on messenger and played with Taya. We stayed a good while before going for another wander, only to head back shortly for the children’s entertainment. 

This time it was an older gentleman called Adrian. He did a mix of magic, Punch & Judy (and the Dutch equivalent) and balloon modelling. He was a very interesting character who spoke his mind, knew his facts, and was very engaging with his audience. Logan once again managed to get picked, and came away with a pretty awesome balloon t-rex hat! Taya slept through the whole thing, she only fell asleep as she was hiding from Adrian, so it was worth going to see for both kids! 

We spent the rest of the trip in a space next to the stairs, as there were yet again no inside seats available. The kids thought this was great though as they could crawl under the stairs! They had fun chasing each other, looking through their books/magazines and playing with the playdoh grab bag I had bought them, and I also finally got Logan to write his postcards, better late than never! As we started to come in to port I took the kids for a walk on the sundeck, and let Logan have a quick kick about before heading to the play area, while waiting near the top of our stairs. Soon we were allowed down and we packed up in the car. It took forever to get off the ferry, for being nearly the first on we were left nearly till last to get off. And that’s where we began our wait. 45 minutes. It took 45 minutes to get through UK border control. Taya was miserable for most of it, and Logan fell asleep in that time! We were within the last 10 vehicles to leave the port. It was slightly ridiculous. 

Finally we were on the final stretch, less than 2 hours till home. We did stop off to grab a baguette and drink for Kiba and I. The kids had eaten all our snacks On-board the ferry, and we weren’t going to pay €5 for a sandwich! So we’d waited, and even though they weren’t the best, it was food and it was good. It gave us the final energy boost for the drive, before then I’d been struggling to stay awake again, but now I could keep Kiba company in the drive in to recognisable known territory. The light quickly faded, and we arrived home in the dark, just as we had left it. We got everything inside and it really didn’t take long before we all collapsed in to bed, deep sleeps all round.

Two days later and I still feel tired, and unorganised, but we’re slowly getting there, hopefully regular posts will also be back to normal soon. If you’ve got this far in yet another long post then thank you. 

A quick snap, I took a lot of photos, shall share some another time, so keep an eye out!