Blended family – A positive

There are many positives about being part of a blended family.  One of them being that the children happily have regular contact with their dad (whom they adore) – every other weekend off they go to spend a couple of days with daddy.  They get thoroughly spoilt in my opinion whilst with him, but I try not to question his parenting style (at least not directly to him, I might have a bit of a moan about it to others now and again), and he pretty much returns the favour.

Whilst I miss them terribly on the weekends they aren’t here, there are things I enjoy.  A clean and tidy house for one, and date night with hubby is another (without the need to search and beg for a babysitter).

Date night isn’t always some major event.  Sometimes it’s just staying in, a curry and some telly – but it’s just the two of us. Time for us to catch up, talk, laugh, talk some more.  It’s often time we use to talk about where we are heading, individually, as a couple and as a family.  It ensures that we are always working towards shared goals, on the same page so to speak.  It’s all too easy with busy lives especially given we live in different places to not chat over, discuss and share our thoughts, aspirations, concerns from the littlest insignificant things, to the whopping great bit stuff.  I love our date nights regardless of what we do.  Hubby is great for making all my stresses and strains drift away.  Life becomes more in balance again, after our chats I seem to be able to once again see the wood for the trees, clarity and calm returns to what is usually a bit of a highly strung life.

This week I fancied cocktails (or rather mocktails given the lack of alcohol content for me). Hubby is always happy to oblige, especially as if somewhere along the line it includes food, we enjoy a bit of spice now and again, so went to a Mexican where i knew had a pretty decent non alcoholic cocktail menu.

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In my Mocktail wanted a bit of sophistication, to indulge myself a little, I was thinking tall glass, umbrella, sparkler even and the obligatory cherry.  Hmm.. now what I got was a jam jar with a handle… granted it had the cherry.. but in a jam jar!

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Excuse me, but this is not my idea of a classy ladies drink, it felt more like I was holding a pint topped with a bit of fruit.  Isn’t part of the cocktail experience that of feeling a bit chic, a bit special.  I was sadly disappointed.  The drink itself tasted great so hubby simply couldn’t understand the problem, but gotta say, was a tad deflated.  It may well be the modern, urban, fashionable and trendy way to be serving up drinks now a days – clearly I am none of these, and quite happy not to be too.

The drinks and subsequent food served its purpose – a much enjoyed date night – a chance dress up a little, get the lippy on, hold hands like teenagers and put the world to rights.

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What do you do for date nights? 

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On the move

This year the Daly blended family are seeing some pretty major life changes.

Since marrying, we have lived rather unconventionally, insomuch that Ron lives in Todmorden, and I live with the children in Leeds.  These days, its rare couples don’t live together before they get married, and pretty much unheard of to live apart after they get married.  But for us, thats the situation we have lived with.

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Yes, its been hard, married yet still a single parent, having very limited time together, travelling back and forth constantly.  Its been tough and challenging to build a strong family unit.  Don’t get me wrong, there are positives to our living arrangements.  We have never had an argument – ok – so Ron never argues anyway and if I’m honest, I’ve had a fair few rows in my head with him! But in the main, because our time together is pretty brief, we do everything we can to make the most of it, so fall outs don’t happen as we don’t want to waste what time we have on them.

The plan has always been to live together at some point.  Its been the location thats been in question.  Ron having his business in Todmorden, and my business in Leeds led us to look for places mid-way between, but in all honesty we have been getting nowhere.  If I’m being really honest, I don’t think that we’ve tried very hard.

Mid-way was ok, but it still meant uprooting the girls from schools, friends, from everything they knew, for me it still meant leaving behind my support network (who I rely on very heavily) and moving to somewhere where I knew no-one.  Pretty daunting I can tell you after being here for 14years. So perhaps I’ve dragged my feet a little, put it down to needing to save more money, not being able to find the right size, location, price of house etc.

The kids
Time is marching on, Jessica turned 8 in January – how much longer did I want to leave it.  The older she gets, the harder it will be for her to settle, make new friends, integrate in to a new school quickly and seamlessly.  Natalie at 6yrs old, a bit less of a worry, especially given her outgoing, diva style personality anyway.  Jessica is more sensitive, more aware and I feel will be much more affected by the change.

Parenting
Its been getting harder, for all intents and purposes, despite being married, I am still a single parent.  I have to make all the day to day decisions, carry out all the everyday parenting tasks including juggling work and home life schedules, schooling, homework, activities, family time, discipline.  Yes, Ron is there at the end of the phone, and a couple of late evenings a week he is there for me to talk things thing through, gain his opinion and input, offer support. But the bottom line at the end of the day – the parenting is down to me – I’m the one thats here day in, day out 24/7.

Relationship
The constant separation is tough.  Yes, we are in a pretty good routine of which evenings Ron comes across to Leeds, what time he has available to spend with us on a weekend.  But time is so limited, and its always there, its always at the back of my mind, he’ll be gone shortly, or the knowing that he won’t be getting here till 10pm, and then be away at 7am in the morning.  With an hour or so journey each way, this has to be factored in to any plans.  As accepting of the situation we have both been, its hard not to let a bit of resentment creep in here and there.

At the back end of last year we said we would look to be in a home together by Christmas of this year.  That we would aim to have my house on the market beginning/middle of May.  Well, the end of May arrived, and the house was no where near ready for marketing, in all reality we had made no headway towards living together at all.  Talk was all we’d done, definitely no action!

I’m a bit of an all or nothing sort of gal, if I decide to do something, then it gets done.  At the beginning of June, I took stock a bit, if something didn’t change soon, we were never going to end up in the same house, before we knew it, another year would pass, and we’d be starting to get to a position where I wouldn’t want to move the girls school as Jessica would be coming close to high school.

I set myself a month deadline, to have the house ready and on the market by the end of June.  So with a lot of hard work, one room at a time was treated to a facelift.  Gardens sorted, hanging baskets hung, pots populated with plants, decking re-stained, fences painted.  Ron – with his ever cautious eye on spending resisted on pretty much everything – did we really need to paint that, buy that, replace this, stain that.. but I’m like a dog with a bone, if I want it done, it will get done regardless.  The result.. a house that was ready to market by the end of June.  And even Ron, yes Ron finally relented and agreed that the house and gardens looked great, and it was worth the hard work and money (excuse me whilst I faint!)

A couple of valuations later, we had a price point in mind of what to market it at.  We took the step of going with an online estate agent rather than the traditional high street ones.  The saving was huge on fee’s and given that pretty much everyone is online these days, why pay the extra for a high street presence that really isn’t that necessary nowadays.  I have to say, that it was one slick, smooth operation.

Within a couple of days of contacting them the For Sale board was up,

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a day later the photographer was there taking photos (and boy, what an amazing job he did of them!), and a day later we had the brochure and description in my inbox ready to approve.

house collage

Saturday 4th July – it went live online.  I was a bit giddy, a bit nervous.  It all started to feel that bit more real, that bit more scary.

By Sunday, we had 5 viewings lined up for Monday evening, and by Monday evening we had 2 offers on the table.

Tuesday saw us accept an offer, the status change online to property Under Offer and the For Sale board change to SOLD.  I honestly can’t believe that the house sold in 2 days, I was expecting months.

Its become truly real, the Dalys are now on the move with all the ups, downs, traumas that it will no doubt bring along the way.  All I can say is Bring it On, its about damn time!

The Dalys – The Start of Our Daly Life Blog

Welcome to Our Daly Life – a blog about a ‘blended’ family known as the Daly’s  that will hopefully have input from all of us at some point or another.  All of us being:

Charlotte – Mum, Business Owner, Wife and general stress head,

Ron – Stepdad, Business Owner, Husband and one whom never gets stressed

Jessica, daughter no 1, 8yrs old going on 18!

Natalie, daughter no 2, 6yrs old and lives life to the full!

We are an unconventional family to say the least.  I was previously married for 14yrs and had two lovely children.  4 1/2 years ago I became a singleton again, and quite happily plodded along through life with my two lovely children.

I met Ron – thanks to a bit of online dating, and we married a year after we met in February 2014.  However, here is where we get even more unconventional, for whilst we are married – currently, we don’t actually live together, in fact, we don’t even live in the same county, never mind town or house!  This is more for practical purposes as his business is over in Todmorden and mine is here in lovely Leeds.  So for the past 18 months of blissful marriage we have lived apart.

Odd, strange, peculiar I know.. but it works.. for now at least..

But we are set to start a new journey in our life together – we are heading towards ditching the unconventional, for the more conventional and are looking to actually live under the same roof in the not too distant future.

Our lives are about to take a dramatic change, and in our Blog I hope to document and record for posterity the new chapter we are about to begin.

I don’t pretend to be a great writer, witty, or original, but I am honest (brutally sometimes!), and I have set it my mission to get all the family involved in our blog.  So expect not only my own personal musings, but also comments from a Step Dad, learning the ropes, from an 8yr old whose world revolves around something different every day depending on how the mood takes her, and the odd sentence or two from a 6yr old who is cheeky, delightful and has some of the greatest one liners.

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