Happy Anniversary!

Wow. 9 years together, 5 of them married.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been together a lot longer, other times it feels like it’s passed in the blink of an eye.

We had hoped to be away this weekend, celebrating our anniversary with a trip to London, just the 2 of us, but unfortunately (because I’m too soft) we couldn’t leave our youngest who still wakes for Mumma overnight.

Instead we had a family trip to the Coronation Street Tour yesterday and we are going out for dinner tonight.

I remember our first date like it was yesterday. I say date, basically Damian had asked me to go out with him but as I was on holiday with my best friend it was a night out – Damian, my friend, a random holidaymaker called Russ (who we never saw again!) and me! We never looked back from that day.

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When we got engaged and sat with the wedding planner at our chosen venue to pick a date for the year 2009 there was our anniversary on the perfect day to have our wedding. It was a Sunday and it was Bank Holiday the next day which made it perfect for all our family members who needed to travel up to Yorkshire from various counties down South. One less date for hubby to have to remember too hey?!

Our wedding day was the most perfect day. Hardly a cloud in the sky. Hot sunshine. Blue skies. Perfect.

I often look at our wedding photos and just smile. Smile because it was one of the happiest days of my life. Smile because I married my best friend. Smile because I knew that day how much he loves me. Smile because of it being another memory we created together.

Hope I’m writing about our golden anniversary one day and that I’m able to remember everything just as clearly as I do now.

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Shots, bar crawl, laughter and friendship

I’ve chosen this photo for this week’s What’s the Story? link up with PODcast

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March 25th 2005.
It was a Friday night.
It was taken in a bar in Albufeira, Portugal. Renos, to be precise.
In the photo is me and the man who is now my husband.
I remember this night like it was yesterday.

It was 2 months minus 1 day after this photo that we went on our first date and started our relationship.

This particular night had started out like all the others had that holiday, with Shelley and I drinking shots and vodka at BJs Canadian Bar with our new friends. Our new friends were the bar men!

Damian was sat at the bar drinking on his night off from the bar he worked at. When it came to the time Shelley and I were about to move on to do our bar crawl on The Strip he asked if he could join us.

What followed was hours of 3 people laughing, drinking shots, dancing, drinking vodkas and lots and lots of talk about anything and everything.

Although neither of us realised at the time, looking back it was that night that created the initial sparks of attraction between us.


When those two lines show

Exactly 2 years ago today I found out I was pregnant with Lauren.

I wasn’t a POAS (that’s pee on a stick for those that don’t know) addict like some fellow friends that had spent god knows how much on ovulation and pregnancy tests over the years. I took 2 tests with my first pregnancy, and 2 with my second.

I admit we were lucky. Both our babies were conceived within 4 months of starting to try. We are the lucky ones.

With our first pregnancy I’d stopped taking the pill about a month before our wedding. A honeymoon baby would have been the perfect scenario right?! We got married in the May. In the September I’d started to feel bit sick, my periods were all over the place so I couldn’t say if I was late or not, and we didn’t want to get our hopes up. But after a few weeks we decided to take a test, so it was a Saturday morning and the first thing I did when getting up was take the test.

I left the test on the bathroom windowsill and went and got back in to bed.

“How long do we have to leave it?” A few minutes I replied, but my husband was impatient and went to the bathroom

“Was there already one line on here?”
What do you mean?
“Well was there one line as an example and then another one matches it? There’s 2 lines”

I shot out of bed and into the bathroom snatching the test from him. Sure enough there were 2 lines. Shaking I handed my husband the instructions to show him what 2 lines meant – with tears of joy springing from my eyes I looked up to see the same in my husband’s eyes as he embraced me and we stood there in our little joy filled moment in the bathroom!!

We kept that pregnancy secret until after our 12 week scan. It was so loved having our little secret and knowing our baby was growing inside of me.

With Lauren we had been away for a week with my mum so although I’d felt like I was pregnant I couldn’t test while staying with her as no one even knew we were trying. We got home from our break on the Saturday and I went and bought a test that afternoon to do the next morning.

As soon as I woke up that next morning I did the test and left on windowsill while I went to make myself a cuppa and get Taylor some breakfast. Damian was still in bed. I’d convinced myself the test would be negative so I was completely shocked to go upstairs and find 2 lines on the test! I woke Damian up with the news we were going to be parents for a second time and this once again a celebratory hug happened.
I went out to Asda that afternoon and bought a Clearblue digital which confirmed the result the next morning.
This time we told no one until 10weeks. We had our 12 week scan but were put back 2 weeks so we told our family once we’d had the scan, and broke the news publicly after 12 weeks.

I know we were lucky. We were fortunate to conceive easily, have two easy pregnancies and deliver two healthy daughters.

I can’t even describe the feelings that go through your mind when those lines show:-
Euphoria, relief, happiness, love, nervousness, giddiness, apprehension, ……

It’s hard to believe it’s highly likely I’ll never have that feeling again.

Why I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day

I’ve never really recognised Valentine’s Day. Perhaps I’d have a different opinion on the matter had I been someone who was sent cards and gifts in my teenage years, but I think the first Valentine’s card I received was from my first boyfriend at the grand age of 20. (Can you hear the violins?)

The first Valentine’s Day that my husband and I were together was 2006, at which point we’d been together almost 9months, living together for 7 of those months. We didn’t mark that Valentine’s Day and have not celebrated it any other year since then.

We tell each other “I love you” every single day. We might not show each other our love every day in obvious lovey dovey ways, but we know. Every year we celebrate the anniversary of our first date, which is also our wedding anniversary. We also mark the anniversary of the day we moved in together.

I remember being taught that Valentine’s Day was a time for singletons to send their love interest a sign to say “I’m interested” – not for the world to spend unnecessary amounts of money on the inflated prices of cards, flowers, chocolates…. Why spend an evening in a packed restaurant when you could go any other time and enjoy a better service at better prices?

Of course, if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your long term love then that’s great, that’s your choice. I personally don’t think you should need what is now a typically over commercialised date to show someone you care. Do it whenever you want to, not when someone tells you you should

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When will I be able to let go?

In May our eldest daughter will be 4. Our youngest daughter is 13months old. Every single piece of clothing, blanket, shoe, toy, book …….. Everything they’ve ever had still is in our house.
I just can’t bear to let it all go.

When we had our first we stored everything as there was absolutely no doubt we’d be trying for a second child; so as things were outgrown they were stored in the loft.

Having a second daughter it’s obviously been a blessing as we’ve not had to and won’t have to in future buy a great deal. And it’s been lovely to see Lauren in clothes Taylor wore. But once again, as Lauren grows out of things they’ve gone back in the loft.

We only ever wanted two children between us but now we have two, I don’t feel like we are “done”. I’d have another baby in a heartbeat. But there’s so much to consider. Our car wouldn’t fit a third car seat in, as the girls and bubba grew we’d need a bigger house, the cost of living will increase, holidays would cost more, it’d put back further my returning to employment, we are getting older, it was tough and can still be tough having 2 never mind 3…………

I think if all those things were easily solved my husband would agree with my desire for a third, but as he is the sole wage earner in our house he is taking the practical, sensible view which is currently no third baby for us.

But I can’t part with anything. I can’t try to sell anything that the girls are outgrowing. We are rapidly running out of storage space and there’s probably other families that could make great use of our things if we sold them on, but I just can’t do it.

Will I ever be able to let the things go?
I suppose the answer won’t appear until there’s a final decision that number 3 definitely won’t happen.

The Proposal

After a conversation with some friends about how we were all proposed to it got me reminiscing.

My husband and I had been together for just under 17 months when we flew off to Kenya for a 2 week holiday together. Sun, sea and safari.

During our stay we went on one of the standard trips with First Choice to Mombasa. As seems obligatory on all these foreign tours we got taken into a large jewellery store to see Tanzanite. The cabinets were full of gorgeous, sparkly items and I walked round admiring everything, but Damian seemed to keep going back to one particular cabinet. The assistant asked him what he’d like to see and he asked about a specific ring. The ring was white gold with a large tsavorite garnet and 8 small diamonds in the design. Soon it was on my finger and my eyes couldn’t look away, that was until the assistant who’s English wasn’t that good, typed a figure into the calculator to show us the price. The ring was soon off my finger, the dream of diamonds on my hand broken into millions of shards in my mind.

But Damian picked the ring up and started to barter with the assistant, soon agreeing on a price much less than the original figure shown to us but still too much in my mind for a piece of costume jewellery and I said as much.

“But it’s not just any old ring is it? I’ve been looking for a ring for you to propose at Christmas and this is the only thing I’ve found that I want for you”

I think at this point my eyes were as wide as saucers and my jaw on the floor. Before I could say much more my finger was measured, money exchanged hands and the ring was taken to the workshop to be altered to my size.

By this point everyone had left the store and was on the coach ready to go to our next stop off on the day trip. The rep was hopping from foot to foot asking how much longer we would be.

10 minutes later we sheepishly took our seats on the coach under the glare of all our fellow day trippers. The ring box was securely put in the bag across my shoulder, but I couldn’t help but check every few minutes to make sure it was still there.

This photo was taken about 5 minutes after leaving the jewellery store. The ring safely tucked into the camera bag!

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A few hours later we were back at our hotel and the ring placed and locked in our bedroom safe.

We laid on the bed watching tv as had become our evening routine whilst there and I could tell something was on his mind. I told him just because he’d found the ring didn’t mean he had to propose now. He should wait until the moment is right for him.

“But I want to”

Amongst many happy tears I was told how much I was loved by him and then one of the most amazing questions was posed “Will you marry me?”

Of course I said yes immediately and the ring was then placed upon my finger where it has been nearly every day since 20th September 2006. The week it was sent away so my wedding ring could be made to match was the longest week ever!

I love my engagement ring as it not only reminds me of how much my husband loves me, but reminds me of an amazing holiday that I’ll never forget.

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I don’t need to pretend

I am happy. We are happy. Nobody’s life is perfect, we all have room for improvement, but ultimately we, I, am happy.

I’ll admit I don’t share the niggles life brings us on social media and that I’m more than eager to share all the good parts in my life, but this does not mean I’m pretending to be happy.

There are things that I’d like to happen, things that could be better, things that could be changed but this does not mean I’m not happy.

My husband and I have been together for almost 9 years. During those 9 years I can probably count on one hand the amount of times we have “argued”. We rarely fall out. We make each other laugh. We could not be without each other. We can’t imagine life not together. We have no regrets. We don’t need to pretend, we do have a happy marriage.

Together we have 2 daughters. 2 beautiful, healthy, clever, intuitive, crazy little girls. Growing up it was my dream to have a daughter. I’d convinced myself that because I wanted a girl I would have boys so when our first daughter was born I was over the moon. My longed for baby girl. I won’t lie, my second baby I did hope that we’d have a boy, but I wouldn’t change having 2 girls for the world. Our girls have the sister I’d always wanted. A best friend for life. I don’t pretend to be happy with our 2 girls, I’m over the moon with our TWO amazing children.

There is someone missing from our life, someone very important, someone loved by us very much, but our sadness on this aspect in our life does not mean we are pretending to be happy overall.

I don’t need to pretend to be happy. I AM happy.