Plans for the future (of this blog)

October is the last month where I get any maternity pay. After this month I still get to stay at home with my baby on maternity leave – but I no longer get any money. For that reason I’ve had to start looking over my various expenses, and I’ve realised that I’m paying for a total of 5 domains. Needless to say, I don’t use that many domains, so some will have to go.

I’ve decided to let this one go in favour of my very first domain; spellbound.nu – and so this blog will be migrated to that address. It’s paid up until May I believe, so the old posts and things will remain here until then.

I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused, but I really needed to get rid of some dead weight. It may not be a lot of money with the extra domains, but even little money is a lot when you’re earning 0.

Hopefully I’ll see you (my few, but appreciated) readers at Spellbound.nu in the future.

Free time (or lack thereof)

Suddenly even more time has passed. I swear I want to get back to blogging (and writing), but at the moment my time is severely limited. Not only have I been blessed with a baby that doesn’t particularly enjoy playing by herself (at all), she also doesn’t seem to think that sleep is anything she needs to be bothered with.

Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here. I love my girl to bits. But I do miss having some time to myself. Any time to myself. Right now having a shower is a luxury.

For a few weeks it was amazing. She went to bed at a reasonable time, and although she may wake up a handful of times throughout the evening, most nights she’d settle back down if I went in to her for a few minutes. Not so for the last month and a bit…

The current trend is that she will go to sleep as usual around 7-8 pm, but then she will only sleep for maybe half an hour before waking back up, and refusing to settle back down. For hours. She will most commonly fall asleep for the night between 10 and midnight. Leaving little to no time for me to do anything for myself. Being an introvert, this is rough.

My sleep-refusing monster.

She also used to sleep through from around midnight to 6, which was lovely. Now she’s quite unsettled and will sort of half-wake and cry several times every night. Fortunately those night time moments she’s usually quite easily settled, but it does leave my sleep quite interrupted.

You might think that I should take the opportunity during the days to sleep when she has a nap. And I’d agree with you. Except nap time is another one of those things that apparently she doesn’t feel that she needs. She will usually have a couple of naps every day. If I’m lucky one of them will last an hour. There’s only a tiny bit of jealousy and bitterness when people in my mummy-group talk about their babies napping for 2-3 hours during the day.

For example; today my daughter had three naps. They were 30 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes.

She’s teething, so I’m hoping that’s part of the reason it’s been so rough lately (though over a month now?), and that hopefully it will turn around soon. My hope is that I can get my evenings back again so that I can start blogging a bit more regularly. You may have to put up with me whining writing about mum-life though. Sorry!

Who wouldn’t forgive this face though? <3

I’m still here (sort of)

I realise that it’s been a long time since I wrote, and I don’t know how active I’ll be for the foreseeable future since The Struggling Baby arrived on March 2nd and is wanting a lot of attention. I’m basically a human buffet at the moment, and Struggling Baby doesn’t approve of lying on her own, so there’s very little time when I can actually do something.

Things have been pretty crazy in general. After the last time I wrote we went for an ultrasound, only to find out that the baby wasn’t growing properly. They were worried about her, and talked about bringing her out early. At the time I was at 32 weeks, and having a premature baby seemed scary. Fortunately, the specialist decided that we were safe to keep going, but we went in for weekly checks, and eventually every other day.

When we hit 37 weeks it was decided that she was better off outside of the womb, since she was growing much too slowly – and I was induced. The Struggling Baby was born at 37+1 on the 2nd March, weighing a whopping 2060 grams (4,5 lbs).

Tiny human in the hospital.

We had to stay in the hospital for the first week of her life due to her low birth weight, and the fact that she didn’t have a sucking reflex the first few days of her life. She was tube fed, while we practiced breastfeeding. It took us a week, but by the end of it she had gained enough weight and was eating well enough that we were allowed home.

She’s now nearing three months old, and she’s grown quite a bit. At last weigh in she was 4200 grams (9 lbs 4 oz), so she’s almost doubled her weight.

I’m loving being a mum, and I love my little one – but free time is not something I have an abundance of at the moment. Hopefully as we settle into more routines I might find some spare moments when I can write and do other things, but for now I’m just caring for this tiny human.

The Struggling Baby napping.

Whinging

Since I got pregnant my CFS (chronic fatigue) seems to have gone into over drive. I have absolutely no energy, and all I do is work and sleep. I’ve barely spent time by the PC since a couple of months into the pregnancy, and I’m getting nothing done in regards to anything. This includes house chores, writing and everything else in life.

I talked to the doctor about it who agreed that I’m exhausted, but there’s nothing they can do about it. He offered to write a recommendation to have me switch from working nights to days, but I honestly don’t think that would help. I’d have to work more days per week to make up the hours, and it’s quite physical during the day. The other option, as he said, was to stop working. Which, sure, great – except I can’t afford it.

Still, I only have another four weeks to go now until I go on maternity leave, so I just have to make it until then.

I also found out recently that I have gestational diabetes, so no enjoying all my little pregnancy cravings. So far, I seem to be able to manage it with diet alone though, and I hope that will continue. It’s not easy to eat regularly and exercise when all you want to do is sleep, so I do worry a lot about it.

Anyway, that was me having a bit of a whinge. I think we all need it now and then.

2017 – A Look Back

With a new year having started, let’s have a look at what I was up to last year.

In February I left my job as a Teaching Assistant in a special needs school to work nights as a Support Worker for a former student of mine. Not sure if it was the best choice in hindsight, but I needed a change and this gave me one.

In March I had a miscarriage, and it was about as devastating as you might think. A few weeks after I ended up in the hospital for three days due to complications (an infection) from the miscarriage, and I was quite unhappy for some time.

In April I went back to Sweden for a holiday, celebrating Easter with my family. It was a lovely trip as always, but they never seem quite long enough.

In May we adopted our cat since I seemed to be suffering from empty nest-syndrome and needed a baby in the house. He was such an adorable little ball of fluff. We love him to bits, but in all honesty he’s grown up to be a bit of a prick.

In June the boyfriend and I went on our first holiday together that wasn’t either going to his family in England or my family in Sweden. We went to Spain, and spent a lovely week alone in a house with a private pool. It was amazing. We were also visited by my sister and her partner and little girl, which was a lot of fun.

In July my dad visited with his wife and my baby brother (who was approaching 8 at the time). We visited Swanage and mainly just hung out together and had a good time. That concluded the family visits for the year though, and I’m hoping to get some new visits this year again.

In August I spent two weeks back home in Sweden with my family, which was great. The weather wasn’t as awesome as I might have hoped, but it was still warm enough to enjoy some summer evenings out.

In October we had our bedroom re-painted, and it turned out really well!

In November we finally passed the first 20 weeks of our second pregnancy and could breathe a little easier after what had happened earlier in the year. We announced it on Facebook and it was suddenly official! I also visited Sweden again for a week since I realised I soon wouldn’t be allowed to fly, and it might be a while before I can go again.

What was your 2017 like?

Instagram Roundup (Catch up)

This is pretty much a photo spam post since I’m catching up on all the Instagram photos that I haven’t had a roundup for in ages. Fortunately for all of us, I don’t post a huge amount to Instagram.

I went out for afternoon tea. Always yummy!

Mac enjoys the maternity pillow as much as I do (it’s under the covers).

Mac surveys his kingdom.

Our announcement photo.

Mac wants to be a hairdresser. I’m not quite as keen.

We went to dinner at our favourite restaurant.

Bailey had a hair cut.

One of the out take photos for our announcement. Notice the cat photo bombing?

In November/early December I went home to Sweden and was treated to a mini version of Swedish Christmas dinner.

Tried to make the living room look like it was Christmas ready.

I got all dressed up for the work Christmas do.

Bailey was showing off his new jumper for Christmas.

I dressed up as a Christmas pudding for Christmas. Because, well I kind of look like one right now.

2018? Wait… What?

I can’t quite believe that it’s 2018 already. Last year went so fast, a lot of things happened, and now it’s suddenly a new year. With even bigger changes happening.

Christmas was spent here in the UK this year. The boyfriend and I have an agreement that we spend every other year here and every other year in Sweden with my family. It was quiet, but nice. On Christmas Eve we visited the boyfriend’s grandmother with a lot of the extended family, then had a nice Swedish-inspired Christmas dinner at home. On Christmas Day we went over to his parents’ house where we spent the day with them, his sister and her husband.

New Year’s I was working, so not much happening there.

I got some lovely Christmas gifts, which I just simply have to show off. I got other nice things as well, but I don’t want to photo spam you too much.

I got some amazing books.

Coasters in the shape of cats!

The boyfriend got me a Kindle!

An owl snow globe! Is it just me, or does it look a bit like Hedwig?

Who doesn’t need a Hogwarts sign with hooks?

Holiday Q&A

This is a holiday themed Q&A hosted by The Blended Blog, but I came across it on Novel Ink. Feel free to join in and answer the questions!

1. Real or fake tree? My preference is always for a real tree, but since moving to the UK, I’ve had to make do with a fake one. I’m hoping to go back to a real tree in the future when we’ve gotten rid of our carpets and have wooden or plastic flooring.

2. Favourite Christmas cookie? Gingerbread cookies!

3. Home on Christmas morning or travel? We celebrate in Sweden every other year, and in the UK every other year, so it varies. But we generally don’t travel on Christmas when we go to Sweden but arrive a day or two before.

4. Clear or Coloured lights? I’m a traditionalist, I have clear lights on everything indoors at least. And a warm light, I can’t stand the icy, cold ones!

5. Send Christmas cards? Sometimes. I try to always send one to my grandma, but as for everyone else it varies from year to year.

6. Favourite Christmas present received? I’ve had so many wonderful gifts throughout the years, that I honestly don’t think I could pick a specific one.

7. Favourite Christmas present given? I love trying to find special gifts, I can’t show any of this year’s gifts yet – so here are a few from a couple of years ago link.

8. Stockings or No stockings? In Sweden stockings isn’t really part of the tradition, but since moving to the UK I’ve started with stockings. This year we have four hanging in the living room, one for me, one for my partner and then one each for the dog and cat!

9. Christmas PJs? No, I wear my normal ones. I did however buy a knitted dress this year that looks like a Christmas pudding. Because I look like a pudding this year, get it?

10. Favourite Christmas carol? I don’t listen much to carols, probably prefer just regular Christmas songs.

11. Favourite holiday tradition? Going home to Sweden for Christmas and celebrating with my family!

12. Early shopper or last minute? Definitely not early. I finished my shopping a few days before Christmas, does that mean last minute or somewhere in between?

13. Favourite Christmas movie or show? I love Christmas movies! Elf, Bad Santa and Die Hard (it is a Christmas movie, I’ll fight you over it!).

14. Favourite holiday beverage? This Swedish drink called must. It’s somewhere between root beer and coke. It’s impossible to explain.

15. Cookies and milk for Santa? I’ve never done this. In Sweden the tradition is to put out some porridge for Santa, but I’m not sure I ever did that either. Sorry Santa!

Holiday Reading

I got myself a whole slew of Christmas novels and novellas that I figured I’d read and review for the holidays. That hasn’t worked out so well, I’m only halfway through my second one, so at this rate I’ll still be reading Christmas stories in April!

Still, I wanted to ask – does anyone have any recommendations for good holiday romances? Do you like holiday romances?

I did read a few last year, so I will give my notes on those (and the one I finished this year) for now.

Unwrapping Her Perfect Match by Kat Latham

This holiday romance starts with Gwen who’s at a charity auction to bid on her sister’s boyfriend (on her sister’s behalf), but after a conversation with another handsome rugby player ends up bidding on him instead. At 6’1”, Gwen has always felt like a giant, but “Little” John Sheldon makes her feel all woman.

I did like the chemistry between the two main characters in this book. Gwen has some baggage from something that happened to her in her youth, and it threatens to derail any relationship she’s ever had as an adult. John is quite understanding about the situation, and tries his best to help. Which doesn’t always work. I liked that when he acted like an ass, whether intentional or not, he did usually realise and would try to fix his behaviour.

There were a few things in the novella I liked less, but I can’t go into it without possible spoilers. Still good enough to read once, and you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one.

MILF on the Shelf by Nico Rosso

This is an erotic novella so it contains explicit language, in case that’s not your thing. It’s about a middle aged woman who takes the chance to feel something again with a younger man. I wouldn’t say it’s a love story per se, but more about finding a way back to yourself.

I liked that it has a Chinese-American heroine and an African-American hero. It’s also refreshing to read about an older woman/younger man rather than the other way around. I’d say it’s definitely worth the read as long as you don’t mind explicit language.

Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

This was a sweet romance where Harley, still recovering from the loss of her husband and children, takes a temporary job over the holidays at a ranch to get away from all of the memories for Christmas. The owner of the ranch, Brock, is a gruff widower, and is out of the house most of the time – which suits her perfectly. Things change when Brock’s twins unexpectedly arrive home from school, something Harley didn’t sign up for.

When she realises that the twins have never celebrated Christmas, she makes it her mission to make sure that they do. To Brock’s initial dismay. (I personally got a bit of a von Trapp feeling early on, but it plays out quite well.)

The book is sweet, and it deals with the personal loss of both main characters quite well. However, I was very thrown when the book turned very Christian towards the end. I hadn’t realised that this was a spiritual romance, and it seemed to come out of nowhere, since there had been no real references of it up until that point. That did sort of ruin the book for me a bit, mainly because I didn’t expect it.

Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Ski Pro Brenna has been in love with ex-skiing champion Tyler for years, so she knows all about unrequited love. When an overbooked skii resort forces them to share a chalet for the holidays, they are both forced to look at their relationship in a new light.

I quite enjoyed this book, there’s a fair amount of unresolved sexual tension (though any actual sex scenes take place behind closed doors), and both main characters seemed realistic and interesting. Tyler is a single dad, which is quite new to him (the daughter has lived with her mom up until recently), and the feelings involved in having to now take care of his daughter seemed real.

This was possibly one of my favourite Christmas romances so far.

I read a few others, but they can’t have been very good, because I have little to no memory of them.

The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation by Erica Ridley

No memory of this whatsoever. I’m sorry.

The Twelve Nights of Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Little to no memory of this. The one thing I can remember is that the couple’s meet-cute is the hero finding the heroine naked on his hotel bed. (As I remember, she lost her job and worked in a hotel – so a friend/colleague told her to stay the night in the suite – then her clothes got wet and she had hung them up to try, only to fall asleep on the bed.)

A Christmas Kiss by Jess Michaels

I remember it being a Regency, and that it felt too short. It suffered from what a lot of novellas do – the lack of time for proper character growth. Everything felt just a little bit too rushed.

Personal Update

So, it’s been pretty quiet around here lately – that’s because I’m spending hardly any time at the computer these days (and I’m too old to write anything longer than a text message on my phone), due to feeling exhausted (and uncomfortable) most of the time.

There’s a reason for that.

If everything goes well, there will be a Struggling Baby joining us in March 2018.

I’m happy, but also terrified.

It’s frustrating in a way though, because pregnancy seems to have exacerbated my chronic fatigue, and I’ve spent most of it being more or less passed out on the couch when not at work (and only barely staying awake at work). Which means that, again, nothing is being written or edited. I need to try to pick myself up for the last trimester and do as much as possible, because who knows what kind of time and energy I have once the baby arrives (methinks – very little).

Anyway, it’s good news. And lots of writers are parents, so hopefully I’ll figure out a new routine eventually where I can fit both baby and writing.

Struggling Baby, ETA March 2018.