The end of 46 Days

At the beginning of March I had a crazy idea. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I would try to do something every day. The idea for 46 Days came from there. Today is the 46th and last day.

I thought I’d have a look back through the last 45 days and see what’s happened:

0 people offended (that I’m aware of…)

1 holiday booked

1 disastrous week of night training

1 graduation attended

1 Margot Leadbetter moments

2 bouts of nostalgia

2 guinea pigs (Charlie and Lola) arrived

2 fish (Eddie and Bob) bought

3 fish (Maisy, Eddie and Bob) died

3 Easter bonnets made

4 3rd birthday parties attended

4 One Born Every Minute liveblogs

5 separate illnesses (2 for me, 2 for G, 1 for R)

6 twinny observations (I could have written hundreds of posts on this)

7 Friday photos

8 rants (I’m amazed there aren’t many more)

That’s a fairly average seven or so weeks in the HoT. Ok, so you don’t buy guinea pigs and kill off goldfish every day, but everything else was pretty normal…for us at least. It’s a nice little snapshot of our lives.

I only missed one night – when I was away for work – and I made up for it the next night with two long posts.  I have to say, as the weather improved dramatically in April I found it much harder to generate enough enthusiasm to sit down every night and write a blog post. Last night I ‘cheated’ and uploaded the Friday photos from my iphone whilst slumped on the sofa after another busy day. Thank Steve Jobs for the WordPress app!

I speculated at the beginning of all this that a period of sustained creativity might make me want to do some creative writing. It hasn’t, but only because I haven’t had time after writing 46 Days posts. There are a couple of ideas percolating in my brain but I can’t commit them to screen just yet.

Instead I’ve been exploiting my creative mind in different ways. I’m really into card-making at the moment. If there’s an event coming up I’ve probably made a card for it! My cards aren’t going to make me rich and they definitely look ‘home made’ but I hope people appreciate the effort. I attempted my first scrapbook – a graduation present for my Mum. I love getting creative with photos, bit of paper, a stack of embellishments and a ton of pritt stick. I have also made great progress with my latest cross-stitch and am already thinking about the next stitching project. I might do something really challenging this time…

As I get older I can no longer sit in front of the telly of an evening once the girls are in bed. I have to be doing other things, so that I feel my evenings aren’t wasted. That reminds me…I have very strict rules on my ‘me time’ activities. They are all done in the evening in the precious few hours I have when the girls are asleep and before I go to bed. During the day I’m either spending time with the girls or working.

I’m looking forward to having a few nights off (maybe even a week or two) from blogging – or the tyranny of the blank page (which only affected me twice in 46 days) and the feeling that I ‘have’ to write something. I might try something similar later in the year. November is my bogey-month so I might try 30 Days or something like that to ward off the SAD.

That’s all in the future. Now, I’m off to make a Mojito and await our take-away delivery.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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Versatile

Gosh. I’ve been given a little blogging award by the very lovely Just Ramblin’ http://justramblinpier.wordpress.com/:

Thank you so much! JRP has grown-up twin girls so I really need to pick her brains on all things twin-daughter related…

The award comes with a couple of conditions but I’m not terribly good at following rules so I’m just going to do a couple of them and hope that the blogging gods don’t strike me down.

1. Thank and link to the person who awarded you. Done! (see above)
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself.

Seven? Really?

1. I can fold my tongue in half, so that the tip is folded back over onto the back of the tongue and faces the back of my mouth. Apparently, only 1 in a million people can do this.

2. I make fabulous omelettes

3. I used to co-present a student radio show

4. My first gig was Fleetwood Mac at Wembley Stadium when I was 10

5. My first pet was a goldfish called Herbert. He died. They all die…

6. My go-to karaoke songs are ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell and ‘Enjoy the silence’ by Depeche Mode. I can’t sing.

7. I’d like to live by the sea one day and do pottery.

Will that do? 🙂

The One Born Every Minute live blogging experiment

I’m a teeny tiny bit obsessed with One Born Every Minute, which is currently on Channel 4 on Monday nights at 9pm. It provokes a range of reactions from me: anger, excitement, fear, laughter and sobbing like a total wuss. I laugh, I cry, I have flashbacks to pregnancy and the birth of R and G.

Tonight, for one night only I’m going to blog on an episode. Live, uninterrupted and only slightly lubricated by a glass of wine.

Join me here at 9pm as I write stuff IN CAPITAL LETTERS, rant and maybe even get a bit emotional. I’ll be updating this post whenever I think of something to write…

21.00 – Every minute…of every hour…of every day….

Ralph! I loved Ralph. He was odd. I like odd.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER TEETH?! Aren’t they both about 10 years old? He seems quite grown-up actually.

I was 27 when I gave birth to R and G. I remember their optimism. We were  like that…once…

Birth plan schmirth plan. Gas and air and a water birth? She’ll be begging for an epidural, you mark my words. Cynical? Moi?

Dh thinks the bike thing is cool. I think it’s MENTAL.

Pause for an ad break. I’m a crabby old bat until they’re obviously in pain and actually giving birth. At that point I alternate between wincing and crying.

Oh, I love the chief midwife. She’s the dictionary definition of the perfect midwife. Cool, calm, reassuring and with a lovely soft accent.

Told you she’d have an epi. Bluebell? Jesus wept.

FIVE? FIVE?! Why? Why?

“You’ve gotta be a man to produce a girl” said to father of 4 (soon to be 5) boys. Is she aiming for the full house of birthing experiences?

Turning the baby round manually sounds awful, like pulling the cork out of a bottle of wine with a corkscrew. Is there an argument that back to back babies that can’t be turned should be a c-section regardless? Especially as, if it ends up being a GA, the birth partner can’t be in theatre.

Ad break. The birth choices for ‘normal’ babies overwhelm me a bit. Having transverse twins removed every element of choice and doubt for us, but at least we had control over when and how birth happened. I still wonder what my pain threshold would be like with a vaginal birth. Not wondering enough to actually find out, mind…

I hate it when the babies don’t cry when they’re born. I was born with the cord wrapped around my neck and I was blue and floppy. I start breathing again when they cry for the first time.

I was so high on pure adrenaline/fear that I don’t remember the epidural hurting that much. I was expecting it to be a lot worse than it was. I was so busy chatting to the anesthetists and the zillions of student doctors in theatre that I barely noticed it going in!

Yeah. If it doesn’t get any easier, there’s no need for me to have any more. Like dh with his broken pipes would let me anyway… I’ll content myself with R and G, fish and guinea pigs…

They always play the plinky plonky music when a baby is born. God, newborn babies are adorable.

They ALL have blue eyes at birth you MORON! They change gradually in the first few months. Jeez, you’d think after five children she’d know this stuff.

Ok, so you’re dirt poor and can’t afford food but you smoke? FFS! Oh God, I sound like a raging Tory rather than the Socialist I really am but really!

I love watching the Dads(to be). Their faces change when the baby is born. Tears, yes but something else. Pure love, I think.

Next week – triplets. There’s something in my eye. Might have to do this again…

46 days of Lent

Inspired by a slightly odd combination of Father Ted and my Library Assistant, I’m going to ‘do’ Lent this year. I’m not a religious sort but I quite like the idea of committing to something for a set period of time. Mostly, people give up something they love. My (Atheist) colleague gives up alcohol and a whole range of foodstuffs each year. He combines this with a bit more exercise and ends up being a. Thinner and b. Richer by Easter. In Father Ted, the priests give up cigarettes, alcohol and rollerblading for a bet with disastrous consequences.

However, I’m not great at giving things up. I make grand plans to give up alcohol or chocolate or cheese for a calendar month (not for Lent) and usually fail spectacularly in a couple of days. Denying myself something makes it so attractive that it’s the *only* thing I can think about. My (limited) talents lie in goal achievement. Set me a challenge and I’ll try my hardest to reach and exceed it.

Therefore, for the next 46 days I’m going to write a blog post a day. Why? The challenge of sustained creativity appeals to me. Although I’m not planning to write screeds of text each day I don’t want to just write a series of inanities. Well, no more than usual… I want to see how much I can extract from my brain in a set period of time. I have a number of ideas for posts in my head and I’m so busy at the moment that I rarely get enough time to sit at my laptop and fashion them into something meaningful. The 46 days challenge will allow me to carve out time to blog. I’m also hoping that, as a by-product, I get some inspiration for a spot of creative writing.

Each post in the challenge will be tagged 46 Days and I’ll also be Tweeting @houseoftwins with the #46days hashtag.

Wish me luck!

House of Twins – Q&A

So, for the benefit of any new readers and for any regulars that would like a refresher, here’s a House of Twins Q&A:

What is HoT?

I started blogging back in January 2008 on a Sunday afternoon when my five week old twin girls were sleeping between feeds and I felt like I was losing my mind. Initially it lived on a website called Babycentre, which I joined when I was pregnant. Then I moved it over to Blog.co.uk in April 2008 where it became House of Twins, or HoT for brevity.

Why write yet another boring blog about babies?

There are about twenty zillion parenting blogs out there. Many of them are shite. I’m sorry, but they are. Most are started in the first flush of pregnancy in that ‘I’m the first person to have a BAYBEE ever. Aren’t I AMAAAAZING?’ phase that only first-time expectant parents go through and list amazing achievements like ‘My baby is SMILING and it is only EIGHT weeks old. I have birthed a GENIUS’! Actually, some of my posts are a bit like that but I try to rein it in, promise. I always aimed to offer a slightly different take on things.

I actually wanted to be honest about parenting. Specifically, the difficulties associated with parenting twins. Many blogs fall into the trap of presenting a rose-tinted view of having babies and I wanted to tell people the truth. Yes, some bits are brilliant but there are also phases where everything is just horrible. I love my girls, my goodness I love them to bits but there have been many, many occasions in the last two years and eight months when I have fantasised about walking out of my house and running off to Peru. Through writing HoT I found out that this was absolutely normal.

I talk about the stuff that other people are afraid to tell you, like the horrors of pregnancy, the reality of giving birth, how debilitating sleepless nights really are, the agonies of: weaning, controlled crying, routines, potty traning; and the really nasty stuff like anxiety and depression and baby poo. I also wanted to put a vaguely humorous slant on all this stuff so as not to put off anyone that might be thinking of having babies!

I try to balance this out with cool stuff though,  like being told that your twins are non-identical and finding out when they are thirteen months old that they are actually genetically identical and feeling like a fool; becoming a (minor) local celebrity; the joys of witnessing the interactions of twins; gloating over their achievements; watching them grow up into little people and think that maybe, just maybe, I might not be quite as bad at this parenting lark as I often (and by often I mean every single day) think I am.

How do I find the time to write HoT?

Simple answer: I don’t. It used to be easier when the girls napped during the day but now I just about manage to dash on and write a post in the evening after putting the girls to bed, spending some time with DH (Darling Husband) in case you’re wondering, working (oh yeah, I work full time as well), having a (limited) social life and keeping up with current affairs like X Factor and Supersizers…

This is actually good news for you. Subscribing to and reading HoT is not going to take up hours of your time. I usually manage to write a dozen posts a month (sometimes less, sometimes more) so it’s a fairly limited investment.

Is there anything you don’t talk about?

1. I won’t refer to anyone by their full name – occasionally R and G will be referred to by their proper names – but all of the adults, and the children that don’t belong to me are referred to by first initial only
2. I won’t whinge about dh. I have never been a ‘Sex and the City’ type woman that sits with her ‘girlfriends’ and discusses intimate details of relationships and I’ve carried that practice over to my blog. My relationship with dh is private and I choose to keep it that way.
3. I won’t slag off people I know in ‘real life’ – if you’re looking for soap-style whingeing about family and friends, you won’t find it here. There have been MANY occasions when I have had a bad day, wanted to write a spleen-venting blog about someone and had to physically restrain myself from typing out something nasty and pressing ‘submit’. From time to time a real life person tells me they have been mortally offended by something I have written that they felt was directed at them. I can honestly tell them it wasn’t.
4. I won’t tell you what I had for breakfast. Honestly, who cares?

Aren’t your children going to hate you when they are old enough to read this?

Probably. They’ll hate me anyway so I may as well give them good reason…

Welcome to HoT 2.0!

If you’ve been following the antics of House of Twins on Blog.co.uk since January 2008, welcome back! Those shoes are gorgeous and is that a new haircut? Thanks for following us over here. I’m not planning to change too much so make yourselves comfy, grab a drink and a handful of crisps and I’ll be back with you in a minute.

If you’ve inadvertently stumbled across this blog on your voyage across t’internet then I shall wave hello <HELLO!> and welcome you to HoT as well – you’re looking lovely. Have you been on holiday? Hopefully you’ll come back as well from time to time…

So, HoT 1.0 lived on another blog hosting site and over the last year or so, as I’ve become increasingly blog-savvy, I have become a bit fed-up with closed nature of that site. WordPress meets my needs so much better and so I’ve decided to make a new home over here.

My old blog host was SO stupid that I coldn’t actually transfer my old posts over here in any normal way. They have been grouped into PDF files and are here if you’re bored enough to read them (warning: they are small novels so I’d advise reading them – extremely – selectively):

House of Twins – Jan-Aug 2010

House of twins 1.0 – 2009

House of Twins 1.0 – 2008

So, that’s where we were and here is where we are now. Got that? Good. I’ll be asking questions later…