Running for the first time in over six months. The extra cushion still attached to my stomach wobbled, my milk-swollen breasts leapt around painfully, and my legs yelled "What the hell are you doing to us, you crazy woman?" to me as I notched up the slowest mile and a half of my life, but I did it. I've not yet made running a regular part of my weekly routine, but I've done the hardest part which is starting again.
Eating more pulled pork burgers at Pure Markt. I don't know what we're going to do when winter comes and these markets stop.
Soaking up the sun and blue skies on long walks with my boy in his pram. He's becoming increasingly reluctant to sleep in his pram or even stay in it for long periods of time. While this is a little frustrating - honestly, he's a rubbish newborn baby when it comes to dozing off at any given opportunity - it does mean I get to pick him up, bundle him in his blanket and have cuddles on benches in parks or along canals just to remind him I'm here and I'm not going anywhere.
Sitting Baby Bird in his bouncy chair next to his dad who was in the gaming racing chair he'd long had stored away. In quiet contentment you watched him race around virtual race tracks, looking up at him rather than the screen. It was a glimpse of the future and it was both frightening and wonderful.
Having some wonderful friends to stay which "forced" us to eat brunch out twice in as many days. They also taught us how to make home-made humus, which is obviously a life-changer (so quick, so easy!).
Hearing a good friend of mine say "Wow, Frankie, you're so relaxed as a mum!". It then transpired she expected me to be some sort of authoritarian, highly-strung dictator of a mother which if I wasn't so exhausted from the continuing nights of broken sleep, I would spend some time and energy wondering why.
Meeting up with kind-hearted blogging friends who were in town. Thank you Nina for making Baby Bird do the cutest and weirdest faces. Thank you Victoria and Steve for not even wrinkling your noses once at the smelliest, messiest poo BB has yet produced.
Finally updating some of my short stories on Amazon as free, and seeing them land in hands of new readers as a result.
Taking afternoon naps with Baby Bird crawled up on me. Little did I know that he wouldn't be so ball-like just a few weeks later. I'm so glad I made the most of those naps where he was still so small.
Publishing another short story and sharing it with my newsletter readers. It's Just A Smile was one of the most personal stories I've ever written and it was very therapeutic getting out of me and on the digital page. Although it does feel more challenging than ever to finish stories and get them ready in time, sending out my stories to readers has become a real highlight of each month. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next year but I know that once the Twelve challenge is over, I'll still write and publish stories for you guys in one way or another.
Joining a lovely Mother & Baby Yoga group which has not only woken up some very dormant muscles but also serves as a weekly reminder that I'm not alone, and that all babies are different, but all babies are work.
Discovering a beautiful music shop very close to where we live. And then spending an afternoon in one I've long wanted to get lost in.
Watching the leaves on Amsterdam's trees change colour and fall to the ground. I was not looking forward to autumn - more layers to tackle when changing our little man - but so far it's been so very beautiful.
Bumping into my neighbour at our local market and as we walked and talked she offered me some parenting advice: "All I have to say is that nothing ever stays quite the same, everything is a phase, so enjoy the good things about each change as much as you can." I nodded and realised I'd already learned this and I silently vowed to treasure all the good things that happen before they move on. "Oh," she then added. "And everything gets significantly easier when they turn four.". "Four months?" I asked. "No," she said with serious eyes but a kind smile. "Four years."
Not feeling as afraid or as uncertain or as emotionally vulnerable as I did last month, which I guess is just as well. Four years? Bring it on!
What made you happy last month? Please let me know in the comments.
Frances M. Thompson
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