Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I love Halloween and all things Autumnal. Last weekend my wee country town had their annual Autumnfest, with pumpkin carving, scarecrow competition, toddler dance, bouncy castle, fireworks and more. And tonight me and the Mollster went 'Trick or Treating', I'm glad to say we were treated very well and I've been 'helping' Molly with the terrible task of candy-eating. Molly was a rag-doll this year, I got the idea from here (which incidentally is where I got last years costume ideas too. See? I'm just a follower). It was a super easy costume to make, all the clothes are Molly's own and the wig took about 20 minutes to make and cost me a £1.50 ball of wool.

Finch sat this year out, it would have been a nightmare dragging him from door to door, he is a feisty little thing at the moment and he'd probably have been yelling and wrestling me to get into everybody's home! I'm learning to pick my battles and not out-do myself just because I want the perfect little family picture (when the reality would have been all tears and stress).

eating some of her treats

Hope you all have had a lovely halloween. x

Sunday, 30 October 2011


A while ago, on facebook, I asked for suggestions for a Molly and Finch hybrid name. The one that has stuck most was suggested by the wonderful Claire from tee and toast. Claire came up with the eversoperfect FiMo.

FiMo are the best of friends, conspirators in all sorts of mischief and most happiest around each other. This was them this morning, as many mornings, they trailed all their toys onto the landing whilst I pulled my head under the covers and tried to top up on sleep (I am not a morning person).

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Ode to the 'Likers'

This is for the followers, the 'likers', the subscribers, the commentators, the prayers. For all of you who sit there in the glow of another computer screen (many of you thousands of miles away) and time and time again listen, laugh, cry, rage and celebrate with me.

Thank you.

I have felt warmed by your 'likes', spurred on by your comments, consoled by your stories and most of all, just knowing you are there listening, draws me out of isolation and into community.

I'm an external person, I have no doubt that it wears many thin to hear yet another status about potty training, sleep deprivation or Molly-isms. But I am so grateful to those of you who've stuck it out with me, celebrating the small daily triumphs and sent appropriate emoticons when the disasters keep rolling in.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

One Photo an Hour 8-10-11

I've been wanting to do a 'photo an hour' thing for a while now and Saturday's plans were shaping up for some good photo opportunities. So here is a day in the life of The Family Steen.

good morning mummy * time to get dressed * most important meal of the day
ready to go * picnic at the harbour * the boat to portaferry *
play park fun * caffeine fix * marine biology
exhausted toddlers * home for a snuggle * cartoons and blankies
visiting friends * chilli and mojito's * feet up and red wine
grown up blankies & tv * time to get home to our own beds * mandatory fb check
night night

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I don't recall a single care, just greenery and humid air

Returned from a weekend on the coast. Cobwebs have been blown from my mind and dare I say I seized some....light...hearted moments. Hope you all are well and find some time today to take a big deep breath and look at the beauty around you.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Everything about this makes me smile

A little snapshot from dinner time this evening.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Weekends and Vacations

Sometimes parenting alone feels so restrictive. On weekends most of all. We tend to stay housebound on Saturdays so to avoid all the nuclear families that infest the streets we happily roam during the week (how dare they). Vacations feel completely out of reach. The reality is: yes we can go out on Saturdays, yes we could go on a holiday, but those are the times when I most miss the company of another adult. And the conversation of another adult, because there is only so many times you say 'is it yummy in your tummy?' with out a bit of 'what's the current situation in Libya?'

Every once in a while I like to push myself to do something out of my comfort zone. Just to show myself that I can do it. About a month or so ago the three of us had a camping excursion. Both the kids have been camping with me separately but this was the first time the three of us tented it together. Albeit it was in a friends back yard but it was pouring down with rain outside, so it was a true authentic Irish camping experience. Finch went down to sleep at his usual bedtime whilst the rest of us watched a movie and ate popcorn. It was a great success (including the 9:30 lie in!) and it left me feeling a little bit empowered.

What other practical things do you single mums find restrictive?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Free weekends

I have the privilege of having an amazing support base around me. Friends and family galore who will be there in a heartbeat if we needed them. Once a month I get a child free weekend. This is a great sanity keeper and I try to cram as much fun as possible into these weekends. The last funfest began with thai food and The Civil Wars in Dublin and was promptly followed by my first ever Electric Picnic, an arts festival just outside Dublin. Musical highlights were definitely Arcade Fire and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros.
After all the fun I needed a wee rest. But....
... I woke up to this instead.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Going Backwards...

Source: via Alli on Pinterest

Molly was on the naughty spot for forty minutes today. Forty minutes of screaming, yelling, kicking and wailing. When it gets past two minutes the point of the punishment becomes irrelevant and the time out is more about putting a healthy distance between two very angry people. I walked away from her wriggling, raging body and went downstairs, deliberately taking deep breaths with every step. I sat down on the couch picked up my journal and wrote five little words:

I hate being a mum.

Right in that moment I could barely have meant it more. Reaching that kind of brutal realisation was a culmination of many factors, toilet training being a large one, but the greatest contributer has nothing directly to do with Molly or Finch. It is this darn grim mood I've been wearing, or that's been wearing me. I feel I have been walking around heavy hearted for over two months now. It's different than I've felt before. It isn't an eventful sadness, just a deep one. I am continually racking my brain to figure out why, why now? I've been continuing along the same path for 21 months now things have been progressively been getting better, easier and more hopeful. I've felt capable and at times I even felt victorious. But now I feel right back at square one. I was standing alone in my kitchen the other day, sipping green tea and feeling bleak when I found myself sighing and saying aloud 'it's like he left me yesterday'. And that's how I feel most days (at the moment). I'm not sure wether it's the looming divorce, which of course I want, there is no turning back now and severing as many ties as possible is needed and wanted. But it's like my head is stuck in the past and each thought and memory ultimately concludes with the same resounding chorus 'how did it all go so wrong? how could he? how did I get here?'

It's a round the clock pity party I'm holding in my head. I do know that. But I feel I must enter it in order to get through it. I've taken up my journal again and am scribbling down my morbid thoughts in a hope to cleanse myself of them. Cleanse myself so that I do not let my ugly attitude leak and infest my parenting. When I happened upon the above image on a late night pin-party I nodded my head, I am 'going backwards to recover that which was left behind in the rush'.

This is the first night that Molly and Finch are sharing the same bedroom. It's something I'm going to try out for a while. Before I started writing this I snuck upstairs and peaked in on them. I tucked them in and made sure their favourite blankies were close at hand if they woke up scared, I kissed their little heads and I whispered five little words:

I love being a mum.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bad Attitude

Molly: Can I have a cuddle mummy?

She leans in and butts me in the mouth giving me a bloody lip


Molly: Can I kiss it better?

It's been a long day of one child related 'disaster' after another,

I start to loose it.

"NO Molly, no, no you can't kiss it better, it's really sore!"

Molly: Can you say sorry Mummy?

"And just what do I have to say sorry for Molly?"

Molly:'re angry.


And then she gets her cuddle.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Lebowskifest 2011

Some great friends were visiting from Canada. So it seemed like the perfect excuse for another little Lebowskifest. Twas a brilliant evening with brilliant people. There were White Russian's a plenty and we all snuggled together by a firepit, watched the movie projected onto a farmhouse and shouted 'It really ties the room together!' at any given moment. You can find a previous little Lebowskifest featured here.

A couple of White Russians and a Baby Jesus.
The Dudes

Woman with Bowling Ball.