Three Beautiful Things

Some time ago there was a meme doing the rounds of the internets called “Three Beautiful Things” (3BT). It may still be there and I just hadn’t noticed, in some corner of the internet that I haven’t caught up with yet: it’s quite possible.

The basic idea behind it is that no matter how bad your day seems to have been that you can always try to find good (‘beautiful’) things that have come out of it. “The Power of Positive Thinking”, and all that. It’s a cliche, yes, but it works: as long as you’re not blinded to reality to the extent that you completely ignore your problems. The buggers have a habit of sneaking up on you when you’re not expecting it and biting your backside if you ignore them for too long, in my experience!

‘3BT’ is particularly good when you’ve had ‘one of those days’ where everything seems to  go wrong, or you have a setback of some kind on your otherwise Glorious Golden Path of Progress.

On days like that you sometimes find yourself scratching around to find some positivity! The “Three Beautiful Things” are still there though: you just have to look.  They may seem trivial, unimportant even, but they’re still there: and that’s what matters. They are still things in what seems like a bad day that can lighten the gloom. “Small is Beautiful”. When you find them you can realise that maybe your day hasn’t been so bad after all. ( I believe psychologists and life coach types call this sort of thing “reframing“). 

Without boring you with the details, my day today has been a bit like that – so here are my Three Beautiful Things.

    • I got my hair cut. I tend to let my locks – what’s left of them! – get straggly, and – as with many other things – put off getting them cut. Today I decided to get smartened up, and a lovely lady named Helen gave me a good smart cut, along with an equally smart beard trim. We had a good chat as well; chattiness is a skill most hairdressers have along with their cutting prowess. I look and feel much better.
    •  I treated myself to a big greasy bag of chips. With salt and vinegar: all the trimmings, a guilty pleasure!
    • I found a site for freelance writers which I think suits my skillset and experience, and which I think could prove very rewardng in days to come.
    • I updated one of my CVs with my recent experience to help with the possibility of finding some sort of ‘real job’  – as my well-meaning friends keep telling me  I should – in addition to my self-employed earnings.

Yes, I know: that’s four, not three.

Maybe my day really wasn’t so bad after all!

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Separated

“Separated”.

What a word. What a big word! A word loaded with meaning.

“removed or severed from association, service, etc., especially legally or formally”  Dictionary.com

“severed”, “removed”. Reminiscent of surgical amputation, or tooth extraction: it sounds painful!

And it is.

Not quite married, not quite single. Both, and neither.

“But I’m not really married!” isn’t the exactly the world’s best chat-up line is it? Damn, I even wrote a song about it!

But that’s not the worst part – not for me, anyway. I don’t think it would help anyone – me, my children or their mother – to drag any recriminations, whys and wherefores all over the internet, and I don’t intend to.

“Separated”. Not just from my wife, from what is now the ‘family home’, but also – and most importantly – from Jake and Ellie. That’s the worst part.

Jake and Ellie. Who I’ve described as “the best thing I’ve ever done with my life”.  In low moments “the only good thing I’ve ever done with my life”.

Jake.  The Jake who I held “skin on skin” when he was born and who promptly stopped crying, then relaxed enough to relieve himself all over my chest. “The happiest moment of my life” I called it at the time.    DSCF2769

Ellie, my “Tiny Dancer”. The countless hours I spent cuddling her and singing her to sleep night after night, not leaving until I was sure she was soundly asleep.

That first year I spent with them, along with their mother, as a full-time parent was at once the richest and one of most demanding of my life.

The (for the first year at least) twice-daily walks in the double buggy, in all weathers, to give them the naps they needed. The vomit, the nappies, the sleep deprivation, the tantrums. Their first steps! Their first words! I remember tweeting “Teaching my little boy to roll a ball. Happy.” And I meant it. All those precious moments I spent with them, helping them live, learn and grow: three years a stay-at-home Dad.

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They’re now 8. At school, doing well, making friends, making music, playing rugby, and much more: so grown up! I see them so little by comparison. 1 day on a weekend and 1 evening during the week. I feel like they have been and are growing up largely without me.

It’s painful.

I’d defined myself and my life around them. And now we’re “Separated”. I left my heart with them and it’s still there: Separated.

Confession Time

There are an increasing number of stay-at-home & hands-on Dads – more power to them! There are many Dads of twins. And of course older Dads. But there can’t be too many who are all 3. That was one of the reasons I started this blog; in the hope that whatever experiences I had might be of interest to others: Dads, Mums, or those just looking.

How this all began.

It was supposed to be about me, me as a Dad, an unusual Dad, and how the experience affected and changed my life. I intended this to be a chronicle of an unusual parenting situation from an unusual perspective: my perspective, a bloke’s perspective. That’s actually what gave this blog its strange name. 1-DSCF3705

Best laid plans, and all that eh?

It turned out that it wasn’t about me – it never was, really – it was always about them: Jake and Ellie, my wonderful – now 8-year-old – twins.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been too personal here over the years: not much writing about how I’ve been, how I feel, how all this has been affecting me, despite my blog’s stated aims.

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Another reason of course is that I am a bloke, and generally we blokes aren’t too good at that sort of thing: opening up about ‘feelings’, and ’emotions’ – or at least ones that don’t involve shouting at a bunch of other blokes as they run around after variously shaped balls.  In that way at least I’m what you could describe as a ‘typical bloke’.

And I haven’t posted much here, for a few years now; certainly nowhere near as much as I used to. In this blog’s heyday I was posting daily.  A lot of that of course is just due to the twins just growing up. They’re 8 and in school, and are very active in out of school groups and activities: I just don’t see them as much or spend as much time with them as I used to, so there’s just less to write about.

DSCF5334There’s another reason however that I don’t spend as much time with them as I used to, and as much as I’d like to. I’ve alluded to it here a few times but have never written explicitly about it. I’ve always meant to, but there never seemed to be a ‘right time’ for it. There probably never is. Also I’ve always tried to be positive here, and present my experience of parenthood as a positive one, which it largely has been, and this particular aspect hasn’t been positive. In fact it’s been bloody difficult.

“C’mon, spill it man: out with it then!”. Alright; OK then! That sergeant-major is still in my head it seems: more about that another time maybe…

OK, so (deep breath): we’re separated, my wife and I. Have been for over 4 years now,  since Christmas 2013, about a year & a half after we moved here to Wales, soon after the twins started school, just as we were all set to move into the new family home – which I’d selected mainly as it’s almost literally over the fence from their school.

I’m not going to lie: it’s been, and is, difficult. Any readers of this blog will probably know that the twins were, and in many ways still are, my life. They’re the only thing in my life that has ever given it any meaning, really.

The reasons behind it? I’m not sure I will or even should go into that here. And that’s partly because I’m not really sure. I do know that statistically there is a higher than average divorce rate amongst parents of twins: it can be very stressful! “Double the trouble, double the fun.”

As for the future: who knows? We’re still officially married, and we even actually talk sometimes: amicably, mostly. We should probably do more of that sort of thing.

So, anyway, that’s my News. It’s out of the way, it’s off my chest. It’s not before time that I ‘came clean’ here; I probably should have a long time ago.

I’ve gone on long enough already; I’ll write more another time.

Thank you for reading, if you’ve stuck with me this far. More later 🙂

 

 

 

BRING HOME THE BEST WALL PANEL

Written on behalf of CSI Wall Panels

For many people, home is not the place to live in; it’s a place where they feel energetic and want to refresh. There is nothing like being at home. We all have dreams to decorate our home extraordinary well: from the entrance to the bedroom, from the kitchen to the bathroom. We want every corner of our home to be perfect.

We think of everything. Right?!

Do we think of everything? The answer is NO.

We think of everything but the wall. What about the wall? What is there to think about it? You can’t move the walls; they are the boring, stationary and never-changing things. All you can do to is paint it, and just by adding a touch of colour, new wall colour, your room feels absolutely new and looks perfectly awesome.

But why only paint it? What if you have the option to change the texture of the wall as well? Moreover, along with that, you have various patterns to choose from. Yes! It’s an ‘old wives’ tale’ isn’t it? – the wall is only for painting. We bring you a perfect solution for that. Now a makeover starts and ends with the WALLS.

While renovating we actually focus what is between our walls; we bring different artefacts, showpiece, and home decor items to bring some beautiful changes. Why spend so much when you can bring astonish transformation with only one change?

Use WALL PANELS and give a dazzling look to your home, an innovative approach to change the look of home by adding a spice of texture and pattern to the wall. A wall panel is just a single piece of material. Wall panels come in a wide range of designs, shapes, sizes and colours, so picking the best one that suits your home is easy. The decorative wall panel will offer you all the inspiration needed to get your home the improvement you’re looking for; sensational change within no time and without much hassle.

We offer you a wide variety of wall panel material and types: for instance decorative, wood veneer, textured, gypsum, felt, panels for the ceiling and many more. You can play with different colours too; from light-coloured wall panels to bold coloured ones. We offer decorative acoustic or 3D wall panels too – an impressive and even ravishing look for your living room or bedroom – which come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours and textures.

Colours help you to enhance your mood, so choosing the right colour for your living room or bedroom can improve your sleep pattern. Green and blue, for instance, are perfect bedroom colours, while white can have a stress-reducing effect. If you want to go for a completely white decorative wall you can choose different textures and patterns, which will add a stylish look to your bedroom. While white bedrooms depict a calm and peaceful ambience,  if you have smaller rooms where you cannot store so many decorative items for the wonderful atmosphere you want to create, you can balance it with our decorative wall panels. Select cleverly coloured, patterned and textured panels for the walls. If you add lighter colours like white or pastel tones it gives an impression of a bigger room, while bold colour gives the impression of optically reduced space. You can also add textures with 3D effect, and find the right light to give it a smashing atmosphere.

You can bring an extra dimension to a basic common wall. It feels good to be surrounded by beauty. doesn’t it? A simple change to your walls can bring warmth and add that reviving aura: the wall will speak thousands of words. There’s no need to add other showpieces when you can have these amazing, beautiful and decorative wall panels.

A wall panels gives a model-refashioning look. It comes with the perfect accent; you can give the decor a traditional or contemporary look using wall panels. Now make the walls pop and let them be the centre of attraction in your home like never before! After finishing with wall panels installed over them, they not only change the eye but attract attention. They are unbreakable and will never lose their shape: hence you can use them for wall decoration both  indoors or out, whatever you need. Change the entrance, and you will be surprised to see the outcome.

Alternatively, want a quick makeover of the bedroom to try different textures? Small changes can make a big difference; this is definitely true with our wall panels. A wall panel will add a beautiful touch to the decor. Wall panels will give your home a look you and your friends will be surprised to see. Incorporating felt wall panels, architectural wall panels or architectural wood veneer wall panel to white bedrooms will give a glaring look to your room. They give a complete insulation on your walls, with no spots, no rots in future and no wasted energy.

The wall panel is ideal for any exterior and interior applications. It needs virtually no maintenance. You can include it in offices, conference rooms, building receptions, homes, flats, reception areas, entryways and more. These wall panels are water-, impact-, and stain-resistant, and they come at a very affordable price. As well as being durable and timeless they are also stylish, instantly adding a dramatic that raises the room’s ambience and leaves a lasting impression. They are perfect for any room, including the garage, basement, study or utility room.

You have endless options to choose from and possibilities with which to decorate your home. Good interior decor now has an ally: you can balance the style of the furniture using wood veneer panels. You can style any room using vivid pastel, cool tones and texture. They are elegant, cordial and balanced, and can be suited to the taste of a home’s inhabitants. And using wall panels can help you not to go overboard with decorative items: balance and harmony is key while designing the room to support the look you seek.

Little Things Can Change a Life

I went to my local grocery shop yesterday. I had a little money in my pocket (for a change!) and I needed food to eat; it’s just something we all do when we need to.

As I entered the shop I saw a friend going in at the same time.

Now I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m going through a hard time at the moment, a lot of which is about my being very limited in how much I spent there, & my making a beeline for the bargains section. Among other things.

It’s summer here in Wales, allegedly. We’ve had some nice days, but this wasn’t one of them. It was raining heavily, cold and windy.

In short, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I greeted my friend when I caught up with her: “Hi Liz”; she replied in kind.

In my very British way, as I often do, I then said ironically, “Nice day isn’t it?”.

Because as far as I was concerned it wasn’t. But, you know, I was muddling on through anyway, as you do.

Her response? She turned around, with a big smile on her face, and said, “Yes, it is!”.

She seemed completely genuine.

It wasn’t! But to her it was. I was taken aback!

That changed my mindset.

Yes, the weather was terrible.Yes, this, that and the other. And I know my friend has problems of her own, as do we all. Yet it was still “a nice day”!

It was a nice day because she had decided it was. So it was!

Yes, I was broke. Yes, the weather was awful. Yes, this, that, the other, and everything else. But I could still decide it was “a nice day!”.

Yes, I have problems, at the moment it seems too many. But compared to most of the world’s people I’m lucky. I’m not starving. I have a roof over my head. I don’t live in fear of being bombed. I have friends. And I have my music.

Today is a good day! I’m gonna make it that way.

My Sunday Photo 24/7/16: Meet The Band!

Introducing…The Jallie Band!

Featuring: Jake on metal gazoo, and Ellie on mouth organ! And Daddy banging rhythmically on whatever is to hand. (Sounds of wild applause and cheering)

They were pretty good too!

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OneDad3Girls

5 Tips for Raising Money-Smart Kids

A guest post by Karl Wittgenstein

If parents ask who you want to see your child in the future – rich or poor – the majority, of course, respond that they want to see their son-daughter affluent and career perspective. But you need to understand: a financial genius does not wake up by itself in the child – it is important to lay the foundation in early childhood.

So, today we will talk about proper financial education of children.

Tip 1. It would be the best option to instill a financial culture in children by your personal example, experienced parents note. A talk or deliberately simulated situations have much less influence than the behavior of parents and others. If the child is taught to save money with words, but he sees the parents who splash them out, it is unlikely that the child will listen to the words. In this case, actions will be much more influential. Therefore, it is desirable for the parents to understand whom they want to bring up: an altruist, ready to share the “last shirt”, or an economical person. Then you can develop a strategy for training such a person.

It’s better not to speak about the money, but it is necessary to teach the value of things in the first years of child’s life. We need to educate the careful attitude to things, even toys, and explain: this thing is expensive, it is necessary to treat it gently and carefully and put them in place because if the thing breaks, parents will not be able to buy the same. Parents should understand that they do not need to react like “It’s okay” when something is broken deliberately or because the child is too unmindful. This lays the improper attitude toward money in the future and one day your child will not only splash out the whole month-budget but impudently ask you “write my essay”.

Tip 2. With the three or four years old child it is already possible to explain what money is. It is necessary to show the child coins and banknotes and explain the difference between them, for example,you can explain why the banknote is more valuable than coins (although there is only a piece of paper alone, and there may be lots of coins). When your child is five or six years old, according to the psychologist, it is advisable to explain to children where the money comes from. In this case, there will be an occasion to talk about the professions, it is important to explain to the child that the money does not appear from anywhere. Explain that you earn them by working hard. Then if it is possible, show what you do all the day round when you are at work. This approach triggers respect for parents.

Tip 3. Play role games

The Proper attitude towards money is better formed in the form of a game, according to the parents: the nature of finance is complicated, so it is desirable to make the whole process both entertaining, informative, and understandable. You can imagine that you are in the hospital, at a hairdresser, in the shop, train or even play the traditional” Monopoly “- imitate real situations where you can use the money. These games are useful because they can be played with the whole family, and you will be able to monitor the behavior and emotions of the child and if.. your child has committed financial errors you can suggest how to fix them”.You can make fake money by yourself or with a child: cut paper and paint – it is, in particular, develops fine motor skills.

Tip 4.Cash. How much and how often should we give our children pocket money – a topic for another conversation. According to parents, allocating small amounts of money should be when a child has learned to read and write. It is important to establish clear rules of financial relationships within the family. Pocket money for children — is a salary for them, so appoint this salary once a week , because they still do not know how to plan the expenses and all the monthly budget can be immediately spent on candies and other things. In fact, the child.. can be given the freedom of choice in the purchases, but it is desirable to restrict purchases of unhealthy sodas and chips. It is useful to give a piece of paper with a table on it, where it is necessary to fill in the column “balance at beginning of the period”, column “income” (ie money that can be made by cleaning house or helping grandparents etc), column “expenses” (where the child writes down all your expenses for a week + in total) and the column “ending balance”. As long as parents do not get this report from the child, a new piece of pocket money is not issued.

As for the size of the amounts for pocket costs, psychologists recommend allocating money for specific purposes – transportation, lunch in the dining room or on the cinema, for example. “But if the child says he needs more money, ask him to sign the budget and justify why he needs the increased amount.

Tip 5. Family saving

Many parents do not like to go with the kids to the store because the smallest one will need to buy all the sweets and toys there. Experts advise not to be afraid to reply “no”, but always explain the reason for the refusal.

If your income does not allow to buy an expensive toy, then talk about it directly. It is better to say that the entire income is spent not solely on toys but on utilities, food, and travel. But you can postpone the purchase, for example, each month put aside 1/3 the cost of the toy and you will be able to buy it, but it is important to keep the promise if you do not want to lose the trust of a child.