Monday, December 28, 2020

After Christmas and before New Year's 2021

Santa and Mrs. Claus @beamish_museum 🎅


Tomorrow my baby with be one year old. It is insane and amazing. I’m excited, proud, and sad. This means that the magical year of being together is over. It means the tiny newborn who needed me with him constantly will soon have to go to nursery and not know where I am. I honestly don’t even know how I’m going to cope being away from him.

Luckily, my work has allowed me to return part time on a trial basis, so I have three days in the library office abs four days at home. Steve is working from home anyway, so he can work a staggered schedule while Jack is down the street playing and painting and making friends. (At least, this is what I tell myself.)

I did not finish a book this year. Most days I barely had time to take a shower or even find time to eat. I did some things that I consider progress because I found a niche for my book series and started working on it. However, I’m not even half way through the first draft of the first of four books. But that’s just how it is and at least I have focus and a goal which is a lot better than where I was before. In 2019 I was pregnant and too exhausted to do anything and I didn’t even know what I was going to write when I had this whole year off.

I didn’t finish reading a book either. I have loads of books that need reading and/or reviewing but that is way down on my list of priorities.

So what am I looking forward to in 2021? What can we look forward to, really? I can hope that lockdown eases up a bit, so Jack and I can go play together. I hope that Florida gets its act together so we can visit my parents.

I have planned on a mummy blog and a podcast for the future, so that’s something to focus on. Aside from my family, there’s nothing really meaningful or mentally distracting to get involved with in 2021.

Monday, December 14, 2020

An Update for December 2020

Obviously, I named him Buddy. #elfontheshelf #babysfirstchristmas It's 10 days until Christmas Eve. It will be Jack's first Christmas, followed by his first birthday. This week we have plans to see Santa, attend a Christmas "party," and listen to Christmas stories. I'm hoping all of it is as traditional as possible because right now, it feels weird celebrating the season when we've been at home all year anyway. But no matter, it will be fun because it will be Jack's first, so we'll enjoy that part. As of this week, I'm not longer on maternity leave but am on annual leave until February. It seems quite surreal as well because I've not been home for a year and I have a little boy moreso than a little baby. (Insert crying emoji.) I got to about 15K words for NaNoWriMo this year, so it wasn't a complete bust. I was going to cut my losses and make the book a novella since it's the first in a new series, but I've decided to aim for at least 45K or so. It's been really hard with mummying 24/7 but I think any writing I've done (and the planning for the series) is a win. The year has been productive as far as my personal writing hobby is concerned. I've also been toying with making a Mummy blog because the world doesn't have enough of them. Seriously, it makes sense when you're focusing on being a mother all day, your instinct is to write about your experiences. I'd started posting on Medium, but I think I'll go all in and make a site all of my own. For my bullet journal, I've watched so many great videos but by the time I sat down to work on a weekly spread, I was totally zapped of ideas. Today, I started working on this week's layout and decided to just make it how I wanted and not worry as much about perfection because it's my journal and no one else is going to see it (except my family). Other than that, it's just all Pick all the time over here. We're hanging in there as the rest of us are and just taking each day as it comes.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

An Update for November 2020

Flower by the river Halloween is over. It's time to get the Christmas lights up and prepare for Thanksgiving. In England, we're still in Lockdown 2.0 so there are limits on what Jack and I can do this month. Luckily, we're allowed to go back to one of his baby classes so we have that to look forward to each week. Plus, it's good for him to keep seeing other kids, I think. Mister Pick and I have already started getting ready for Christmas because, like many people this month, we figure why not celebrate early and enjoy the season after the crazy year we've had? I can't go to any Keeping in Touch days at work and I haven't ventured to even walk around the mostly-closed mall. I've just been taking walks with the family and keeping our heads above water. At least this lockdown was something we could prepare for and knew what to expect. I'm still trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo 2020 but today I discovered I lost a chapter from yesterday. It's not great literature, but it did make me feel like I'll never get anything accomplished. It's tough to steal moments to write, so it's that much tougher than it would be if I wasn't mummying 24/7. It's also tough to keep up the bullet journal but I did at least start a November spread today (even though I'm a couple weeks late). I've considered starting a blog just devoted to writing with tips and activities, prompts and writer interviews but, again, I don't know when I'll have the time to get that together. I at least got bookblogarama active again after being on hiatus for a long time. And with that said, I'll close this update because block editor in Wordpress has just deleted text from this entry. (I'm doing well with technology today!) It isn't a riveting post but I hope everyone is keeping well and getting their writing done. Happy November!

Friday, October 30, 2020

An Update on Halloween's Eve

Green window It's been a slow couple of weeks. Jack got sick last Sunday. It was a cold coupled with throwing up, so I spent a few nights holding him a lot and trying to get him some rest. Luckily, he's feeling better now but I'm still worse for wear. I have a runny nose, cough, and sinus headache. I did have a fever. I also had a loss of smell. But all of this is from the stuffy nose and the cold. I didn't feel it necessary to get a test. I've had many colds in my life, and this is one of them. What troubles me is that with all the social distancing and super hygienic conditions that these places supposedly have these days, Jack still got sick. If we can catch a cold, we can catch Covid. I've wanted to keep taking him to classes just to get him used to other kids because, unfortunately, I'll have to go back to work next year and he'll have to go to nursery. I worry about this constantly, and I want to make that transition as easy as possible for him. (I'll be a wreck. There's no way around that one.) Despite this illness in the house, I've been able to write a bit in snippets, which keeps me sane and makes me feel productive in some respects. I've posted to Medium (the last article was on the subject of said baby illness) and worked on my book. I don't know why I say "book" when I have about four I dip in and out of. I love beginnings of stories, then slog through the rest. What I'm doing is something along the lines of YA romance, and I've found Jami Gold's Romance Beat Sheet. This has helped me plot a little better than I usually do because I have always been a pantser and I end up not knowing how to steer the story back to where I wanted it to go. Does anyone else have this problem? I'm so impatient and I really want to crank out a decent 1st draft, then edit it without having to totally rewrite the story. This is why I'm amazed that people can churn out a book a month. Today is Mandalorian Season 2 day, Halloween's Eve, and the day before I do another Keeping in Touch Day at the library. We've not been able to find pumpkins anywhere nearby, so this may be the most subdued Halloween we've ever had. But it's 2020, so what else can we expect? If anyone else is taking part in NaNoWriMo next month, good luck to you!

Monday, October 5, 2020

An update for October 2020

It’s been a good day. 🎂  #ThisIs44
I'll start off with my important public announcement:  don’t get gel manicures unless you want to pay to get one every month. My nails are completely ruined from that polish chipping and ripping a layer of nail off.
Jack is 9 months now and I’ve started Keeping in Touch days at work. There’s not a load of IT going on and no one-to-one sessions for me to do with customers so I’m just a gal in the library.
(I’m learning what I can and cannot touch in there too.)
These days my life is based on keeping Jack entertained, bottles, naps, and so many nappy changes. I try to keep up with my reading and have opted for lighthearted, fun YA rom-coms by indie authors. Of course, I still have Midnight Sun to get back to.
I finally bought an Archer and Olive B6 dotted journal, so the new bullet journal is taking shape very slowly. Steve told me to stop worrying about how wonky everything looks and just do it for myself. Sound advice. I am not a good artist and my spreads are simple but I enjoy it, and now with a journal with thicker paper, I can try watercolor pens. I’ve always envied the people who could go to art supply stores and buy things they would use. Now I can be one of those people.
I’m wondering about getting an Instax camera for Christmas. I’ve looked at them loads of times, but never bought one. Since we tend to go to National Trust places (or, at least we used to) and walks, I thought it would be a good idea to use for mini pictures in my bullet journal. I guess that makes it sort of a scrapbook of sorts as well. I like that idea.
My birthday was good, despite the lack of Florida trips or restaurants or anything other than hanging out at home with takeaways, presents, and my family. But, honestly, that’s what made it a great day.
Writing has been. I have things in motion more than I had in a lot of recent months, so I’m glad of that. I still only have little snippets of time when Jack is napping or Steve’s looking after him, so I don’t get a lot done. Also, as always, I’ve rethought my approach for the current WIP so I can either start from the beginning or keep on with my new ideas.
And with spooky season on its way, get out there, grab your pumpkins, and do your best to enjoy October.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

An update for May 2020

Afternoon walk in the sunshine ☀️

I'm trying out my new keyboard. It's red with typewriter type keys. I never thought about getting one of these before until I saw a post where a girl had a pink, compact one for her iPad. (I need one of those too.)

It’s been so long since I’ve used the computer, and right now, Steve is watching Jack while I get ready for Steve’s birthday tomorrow. (I found his cards! Hooray!)

We’re still under lockdown here, unlike the US apparently who have restaurants open and like is “back to normal.” I still haven’t been to the shops since March, I’m guessing, so the only thing we’ve done is take walks. Sometimes I’ll take a ride in the car with Jack, just for a change of scenery, but that’s it.

To be honest, I don’t know what else I could be doing with the baby other than taking classes or going to the zoo, visiting the library, or other little activities just to pass the time. I worried a lot about “wasting” my maternity leave under lockdown, but I’ve accepted that there’s nothing I can do about it, and Jack’s happy with us, so it’s fine.

Jack has been sleeping better at night (touch wood), so I started journaling and bullet journaling again. I’ve also looked into working on my current WIP (at least I chose one) to keep up with and can tie into JuNoWriMo.

Anyone else doing that? Or has lockdown just been one big writing fest for everyone else? I’m so out of the loop and full of baby life that nothing else really is important.

I’ve messed around on the phone during Jack’s naptimes and want to work more on my author page and my imprint for when I do get my books back to publishing form. (I’ve been saying this for years, haven’t I?) I have only eight more months to be at home so maybe I can get something done but, again, I can’t really worry about that. There is just hardly any time with Jack’s schedule.

The funny thing is, I really thought I would have time to write this year. Yeah, not going to happen. Oh well!

I hope you all are writing and keeping safe. Here’s to a good June!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

An update for April 2020

Today was a beautiful day.  ☀️

I am writing this post on my phone while I sit in bed. Jack has been fed and is sleeping in my lap on his Boppy. The weather isn’t as cold as it had been recently and the sun is peaking through the clouds. It’s a nice day and I plan on taking a walk with him before the sun sets.

But that’s all I can do with him outside of these walls.

I can’t say I’m completely feeling the effect of this pandemic or the lockdown because I’ve been out of the loop for so long.

Once I had Jack, I was in a fog of exhaustion and feeding. I finally started taking him to baby classes when he was 10 weeks old. That was late compared to the other babies there. We were both shy about it and I tried a few classes until we found what we really enjoyed. Jack started to look at other babies with curiosity and would coo at his playgroup instructors. (He was also the star of the show at my first Weight Watchers meeting since becoming pregnant.)

Then it was all taken from us again.

Steve started working from home as well so he’s in a semi paternity leave again. He gives Jack bottles during conference calls and luckily our house is big enough that he can work without us (me, the baby, the cats, and the dog) getting in his way.

It’s such a relief to have him home though. Not only because I don’t have to worry about him getting sick, but because I have company in the daytime.

Mothers will tell people without children how hard it is. It’s all true and then some. While I do have feelings of isolation that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to do with lockdown. I was alone after Steve went to work and imagined a red X marking off the first day of my prison sentence. How was I going to go anywhere with this baby? Did I have the energy? Why is the pram and car seat so fiddly? Is it even worth going outside in the first place if we’re only out for an hour?

At first I slept sitting up with him and worried about it constantly since you’re not supposed to do that. Then I tried the GroSnug and had him swaddled. Low and behold, he slept in his cot for five hours so I could sleep lying down in the bed. Eventually I decided I didn’t want Jack to sit at home like a bump on a log all day. Also, supposedly those classes were for moms not to go insane from lack of adult human companionship.

I went to a few classes, enjoyed them, and realised how out of shape my body still is because I can’t crawl in the floor with my bad knees. But I felt better. I had a schedule of things to do with Jack, some days to visit the library with him for Bounce and Rhyme and even afternoon tea with the librarians.

Then the pandemic happened. Even before the lockdown I decided not to go to the library to visit anyone. I stopped going to the classes that were cancelled days later anyway. Steve started working from home earlier than most and we just went back to being together in the house.

I took Jack to the park before the one hour of exercise and don’t drive to a destination was enforced. Now all I can do is take him around the block or to the river walk.

The weeks have been tough. I am on duty 24/7, trying to be Wonder Woman and finally broke down and told Steve I needed help with the baby because I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Jack’s gone through what I presume is a growth spurt because he’s been eating every two hours and won’t sleep from 12-5AM like he had been.

I’ve gone back to sleeping and holding him. I don’t know if I should still be using the GroSnug or not.

I’m so full of worry about him when it comes to sleep safety that I think he’ll have to be 43 before I stop worrying. Maybe. I won’t count on it.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

An update for February 2020

Saltwell Towers

Jack has arrived!

Our boy was born on the 29th of December and I’ve been in a whirlwind of baby ever since.

Right now, I’m holding him with one hand and trying to type with the other. Motherhood will make you learn to improvise all sorts of things, I’ve noticed. (Eating with one hand. Sleeping with your hand in a cot. Having your husband hold the baby while you go to anywhere other than the bed because, otherwise, the baby cries when you set him down. Etc.)

Aside from trying to keep the baby’s weight up, which is ironic since my whole pregnancy was devoted to worrying about what a big baby he was, I have been trying to get out and about and stay active. This photo was taken during our first walk at the park.

Now, since I am pretty much stuck to the house and can’t really do much more than watch TV while I feed the boy, I have plans on how to keep myself sane during my maternity leave.

First: exercise. The easiest thing to do now, aside from sitting in bed all day, is to walk with the baby in the pram. I try to find places to take him during the week while Mister P. is at work, so that the day differentiates to the night.

Second: writing. Now, this is tricky because I can only type one handed at the moment (Jack hates the baby bouncer I have in the computer room, otherwise, I’d let him sit in there for a few minutes and give myself typing time.) So, its going to have to be me taking the laptop to a café and letting him sit in the pram.

I’ve decided to start with the basics, such as the blog (ta dah!) and maybe start some Medium stories. I was planning on writing something in draft form for Wattpad but I’ve also discovered Substack and Scribophile. (Has anyone used either?)

Third: bullet journal. This may not seem important on one’s list of to-dos but I dearly miss it. I’ve tried to grab snippets of time when I can use both hands for a quick weekly spread, or a list of TV shows to watch (because that’s pretty much all I do these days). But without the zen-like ability to quietly sit at my desk while I find the perfect washi tape, or look at tutorials on YouTube for making great Valentine’s Day doodles, it’s just not as fulfilling as it could be. Still, I’m grateful for whatever time I can use for organization and preparedness.

Fourth: reading. Well, this one does have options that I’m pleased about. I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I don’t have to go digging around for my Kindle or the book at the side of my bed. The trouble is, I’m only going to read a page at a time before I either get distracted by the baby or I start to nod off. Still, plenty of time to read for a few minutes when I’m said somewhere with the pram.

And those are my main objectives for the next bunch of months. Nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary. I suppose they’re resolutions of sorts but all of them take the back seat when it comes to being a mother and focusing my attention on Baby Jack.

But with that said, I hope everyone had a fab Christmas and a Happy New Year!