My last blog entry, back when we’d all had Covid and had a little hiatus of at-home peace, was called Slowing Down – and this one could very easily be Speeding Back Up, as – despite falling in love with the gentle pace of life we had for a few weeks there and doing my best, at first at least, to keep things a little less busy – before I knew it, we were back to as much of a whirl as ever.
Sometimes, with my care home job, extra bank shifts in the NHS, my volunteer work with the playgroup, college, the kids – changing and growing and spreading their little wings, the pets, including the pony, who’s on an in-at-nights routine now for winter….. sometimes all of it can be a bit of a juggling act and there have been times in the past few months that I’ve found myself stressed and struggling to balance it all.
But, while it was wonderful to have the pressure off for a bit and just enjoy time at home with the family, I’ve found my perspective shift on all the busyness in the past couple of weeks and I’ve been very grateful for it. My focus is very much on the time with family as the most important thing, and I truly love the days when we’ve nothing to do but put a cosy film on or head out together for a day’s exploring, but within all the busyness there have been so many amazing experiences.
Both girls are reaching new stages all the time – our oldest is thriving in nursery now – just a few months away from school and suddenly seeming ready for it being around the corner, gaining confidence in herself and all her activities every day; and youngest still keeping me busy with all the toddlers groups we go along to together, loving the routine of different things every day, but also having just started one morning a week being dropped off at playgroup, settling in beautifully. Being part of their little worlds at this stage is amazing – and all of it I feel just so all-in with – the music group both of them have always gone along to, youngest still going every Monday morning, is somewhere I feel so happy to have a little community of parents and children and to know all the songs and atmosphere of so well – same with our village Toddlers and our regular soft play cafe with friends. My Littles thrive on the routine but I do too. Recently I got involved in helping with a little weekly library in my Big Little’s nursery and I’ve loved it, being in her environment, getting to know kids and staff and get an insight into her days. (Plus it is a joy to see the kids’ joy at borrowing books!)
With working with playgroup too, Littlest Little’s transition has been so easy, as she’s been used to popping in and out with me, and I love knowing the staff well who are looking after her as she moves away from us a couple of hours a week for the first time – a big thing for a lockdown baby!! We seem to be moving fast away from this little toddler / pre-school era and I really want to take the time to enjoy it all while it lasts.
In working and studying at the moment, there are a lot of plates spinning, but I have found some ways to settle it down a little in the last little while – I’m really glad to be working relief / bank and being able to reduce down or increase hours where needed, and, at the moment, with so much going on, I’m sticking to a routine of 2 days a week in the care home, and been taking just (pretty occasional at the moment!) ad hoc extra shifts at the hospital with the NHS over and above. I don’t feel able to settle into a regular pattern there at the moment, but the shifts I’ve been doing – sometimes in our local hospital in rehab wards, sometimes in the bigger hospital in the labour wards and maternity department, have been amazing. I’ve learned so much, and it’s amazing experience I’m glad to build on slowly. Being in maternity is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was in with my first and I love having a chance to work there on and off. All of it ties in so well to college too, where we’ve just begun our SVQ along with our weekly classes, and so are doing lots of reflecting on work. And, in fact, all of the playgroup work ties in too as I’m getting such an insight into early years care and especially all the care standards side of it, so between the three there’s such a lot to inform all our interesting conversations in college, and it’s great to have so much to draw on and really lets me make the most of the time studying.
But keeping all this to a limit has meant that there has been some time again for those totally relaxed times with family, at home, with the animals, or out adventuring. In the past couple of months we’ve managed a couple of lovely trips I meant to find time to post about – one up to Pitlochry to the Enchanted Forest, a traditional highlight of our year – this year the first since 2019 and therefore first for our Littlest Little – we all just loved it, and had an amazing time. It was as beautiful as ever – very simple, very stripped back, and such a peaceful and magical night.
A couple of weeks later, we were back up in the same area (our original trip would have been combined but had to rearrange both when we weren’t well so ended up two jaunts, one just for the evening and a second overnight!). We spent a night in Aberfeldy, and a couple of days exploring Aberfeldy, Pitlochry and surrounding countryside, and had a wonderful time. Things had been busy for all of us, with all the kids’ activities and and our works – my husband a couple of months into a very busy new job too – and it was so lovely to take what was really just a 24 hour break, but felt to us like a week away, in the midst of it all.
As we come to the end of November, we’re all looking forward to December, to Christmas and all the family celebrating (a 5th birthday coming up, not that I can quite believe it!), and I’m so enjoying it all. The pets are doing well – more of a post on them when I can! Today both girls are home as it’s a strike day at the schools, so we are off to do our horse chores shortly and enjoy some unscheduled time with the big nursery girl home.
Hope you are all well. ❤