Friday, July 01, 2016

The end of an era...

Today is my last day at Beck Hill Motors (I think!).

When I started this job, I loved the people but hated the guilt of leaving my kids and taking on another responsibility. Now, 2.5 years later, I still love the people and the guilt is mostly gone--eclipsed by the irritation of having to juggle everything when there are clashes with the schedule. I have been so blessed in this job though. My bosses and co-workers are amazing. The customers are mostly very nice. And I will genuinely miss this place. And the paycheck!

Things are winding down on our lives here in England. Truth be told, we were hoping to be moving home this month. We obviously aren't there yet, but we're getting closer all the time. And I am really ok that we are still here. Although a lot of people don't believe me when I say it, I really do love England. And my job. And our ward at church. And my in-laws. Even my neighbor right now. She's lovely. Life is good, and the looming upheaval is, to put it mildly, completely terrifying!

It's been a good week, really. We started off with an anniversary dinner for my in-laws. They've been married for 40 years! Then it was the usual rounds of school runs, chiropractors appointments, Faith in God activities, ballet lessons, etc. Life has become a juggling act! Sometimes it feels like I haven't gotten anything done, even though I've been crazy busy. I'm guessing it's like that for all parents. Last week, we were at the school almost every day for one thing or another. Martin and I both felt a bit like students again.

The kids are doing really well. Dylan is currently on the bus for a school trip. He's spending two nights away at Robin Hood's Bay, and he was so excited this morning that he was practically bouncing! Edith is going for a sleepover at a friend's house. Then she has a birthday party to go to tomorrow afternoon. Saturday evening will be a total girls' night for us, as Martin is doing a shift at Winteringham Fields. Maybe I'll see if Noelle can join us with her daughter and we can make it a quadruple girls night out!

Martin's birthday is coming up on Monday. No fireworks for him. And, thanks to his chiropractor, NO GOLF! He's completely gutted. I am a bad wife, and haven't planned anything for him either. Maybe we'll do a belated birthday celebration. But we are kid free tonight, so we are going out for a moderately fancy dinner. Because I love him. Otherwise, I'd want a burger and Netflix. Sigh...I guess relationships are all about making sacrifices, like eating fancy food at a very nice restaurant. :)

In other date night news, we had the opportunity to watch some Shakespeare preformed last week. Henry V, my first time watching one of the histories. It was a student production at Franklin College in Grimsby, and it was VERY good. But it had been a long time since I'd seen or read any Shakespeare. It took a good twenty minutes to get back into the rhythm and flow of the language. Martin and I both commented on how we need to see more Shakespeare. Got to keep our cultural snobbery bona fides.

In addition to The Bard, we also got to watch Edith perform in "Cinderella and Rockerfella." She had two lines, and a lot of singing. I have to confess, I nodded off a bit during the performance. But that was mostly my fault. It was a school production, and all things considered was VERY good! And Edith was, of course, adorable. I did her makeup and curled her hair for the evening performance, and she looked so very beautiful. She loves getting all dolled up, and I love helping her (squirming aside). That girl is a stunner, and she has a lovely and sweet little singing voice. One of my favourite parts of Sunday is when I am playing prelude music for Sacrament meeting and she comes and sings at the piano. Melts my heart every time.

In other kid related news, Dylan had a bit of a breakthrough on Wednesday. It was our weekly "no tech" day, and he stopped on his way upstairs at bedtime and said, "I should really stop trying to sneak on to tech every Wednesday, because I only get in trouble. And I can just go on it the next day instead." I could practically see that lightbulb turning on over his head. And it was a beautiful moment!

So that's where we are--plodding along. Oh, and in the course of typing this blog post I have been asked to work next week as well. Guess it's not my last day of work after all. It's nice to be needed! :)

And a quick update--my petition for Martin's green card should be processed next week (or thereabouts). Exciting, huh?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Evening...

We went on a family bike ride the other night. It was really lovely, to get out in the fresh air and stretch our legs. We biked down Queens Avenue, across on Butts Road, down Pasture Road South, across the level crossing, and into Water's Edge. It had rained earlier that day, and the kids had fun splashing through all the puddles. We took in the view of the Humber Bridge, and tried to spot Hull landmarks across the estuary. The sun was blazing, the breeze was cool, and all of us were together.

Times like those, my whole world seems perfect. In reality, it's not. At all. But those rare moments of perfection are sweet, and make the daily grind seem much more bearable.

Life with very young children is physically demanding. Meeting their every need quite literally wears you out. My babies are growing up now, and they pretty much take care of themselves physically. I don't have to wipe bottoms or spoon feed any more. But parenting is still challenging. My greatest difficulty at the moment seems to be not getting irritated by the little darlings. Edith isn't so bad, but Dylan is going through a stag --what I hope is a stage and not just his personality-- that is hard to deal with. Basically, he is a loud, arrogant, annoying little, um, child. He still has moments of sweetness and he just wants a kiss and a cuddle at the end of the day, but he seriously drives me nuts most of the time. I totally love my son, but I sometimes struggle to like him.

Man, did I just commit that sentiment to public record? Let me explain...

Dylan is gorgeous. Seriously, a really good looking kid. He is incredibly bright--like genius level in school. He has a great vocabulary and is wonderfully sensitive. He is passionate about his hobbies. But what this means irl is that he constantly yammers on about football and whatever computer/playstation game he is currently interested in. Minecraft is the worst! He can speak to you like an adult, so you forget he is only eight years old. And emotionally, a very young eight years old. He cries and sulks (though not as much as he did up until about six weeks ago) at the drop of a hat. He is sneaky, constantly trying to play me and Martin against each other. He thinks he knows everything, and constantly butts in with his unsolicited advice or opinions. He tries to take over every single social situation. Oh, and did I mention that he has no concept of personal space or an inside voice?

Makes me wonder what I was like as a child. Though I suspect my nose was buried in a book too often for me to be pushy and loud.

It's probably only a matter of time before Edith starts to annoy me as well. In fact, she already does. Just not as much.

But at night, when I am tucking him in to bed, and he gives me a sleepy smile and a kiss, I remember how much I love him. How he was my miracle baby, and the sweetest little toddler around. How he was my sanity and my constant companion after Edith was born. How I would do absolutely anything for him. And the slate is wiped clean. I love him perfectly again. At least until morning, when he sneaks downstairs to go on Minecraft, poops with the bathroom door open, hangs all over everybody, bosses everyone around, screams the walls down while talking to people who are sitting right next to him, and speaks to me (or Martin) like we are stupid.

Ah, the circle of love with an eight year old boy

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A new job opportunity???

I've been at Beck Hill Motors for over two years now, and I love working here. Getting myself ready for work while getting the kids ready for school and juggling their school activities and childcare, not so much. But once I am here, it's such a great place to work. That being said, life marches on. The girl who works Saturdays, Laura, is finishing her degree this year, and has a full time job waiting for her. So Elaine (my delightful boss) needs someone to work Thursday through Saturday. I can't do that. Plus, I can't work during school holidays. So I will be finishing up here in June. Good bye, Beck Hill Motors :(

BUT...

Martin went to see a chiropractor on Tuesday (it's only taken me ten years to convince him to go) for his bad back, which is now turning into his bad neck, back and shoulders. While he was there, they mentioned that their massage therapist was leaving. Martin said, "Hey, my wife is a massage therapist. You should hire her." Then I came in as I was waiting in the car park with his lunch and wanted to see how long he would be, yada yada yada, long story short...I've got a job interview with them on Monday. I don't know any details yet, but it could be good. I am imagining all the free chiropractic care I can get. Mmmmm...

I'll keep you all posted.

Edith's shingles rash is nearly gone. She hasn't been too miserable with it. The scabs are starting to fall off now, and they are driving her a little bit crazy. But she checks her back every day and is pleased to see the improvement.

In Dylan news, he continues to be simultaneously brilliant and incapable of carrying out any common-sense task! But I do love that boy.

Do I have anything exciting to write about? Well, I bought an epilator for my hairy gorilla arms. And I had my roots touched up. That's pretty much it. Wow, I have a very dull life!

(last week's post, written but not published) Poor baby...

Edith had what looked like a few mosquito bites on her back last week. But over the weekend they bloomed into a nasty looking rash, so I took her to see the doctor on Monday. Turns out, she has shingles! And, sadly, it was too late for anti-virals to be effective. She's just had to tough it out. But she IS one tough cookie, and she's doing fine. She hasn't even missed any school, since the contagious stage was over and the rash is completely covered by her clothes. She's just been a bit whiny, but it's hard to say whether that's because of the virus or her personality. She's been a bit of a little madame lately.

Good week so far. Pattern shopping with the lovely Alice Whall (she's asked me to make her temple dress. Aww!), and a services swap with my friend Natasha. I gave her a massage, and she gave me a pedicure. Then yesterday was all about housework, with a 1.5 hour break for yoga. My front room and bathroom are gleaming. For now, anyway. I DO live with a bunch of nominally domesticated pigs, Lord love them. Anyway, yoga was amazing. And very tough on the ankles, as we did a lot of wide legged stances and balance poses. Yoga is my bliss!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Is lust still a sin...

...if you are lusting after your own husband?

Martin was playing basketball last night. Found a local team a few weeks ago, and he's been practicing with them on the odd Friday night when he hasn't been at work. They had a match in Grimsby last night, and we all rode in so that we could watch him play.

I am used to my husband being the skinny one on the field or court. But last night, as he ran around like a headless chicken playing very aggressive and handsy basketball, I realized that he's not any more. This joinery job of his has filled him out in a way that I find very appealing. He looks like a man now, instead of a boy. And I couldn't take my eyes off him.

I've noticed it before now, the extra muscle. But last night he was wearing a sleeveless b-ball jersey and was with a room full of other physically fit men. And he looked GOOD!

(Found this partially finished post and thought I'd throw it up here just for fun!)

Total slacker...

It's not that I've had nothing to write about, because I have! Just been lazy, I guess. Winter was long and overwhelming for me, and even with the help of antidepressants I found it very difficult just to do the bare minimum to keep the household ticking over. But the sun is shining, birds are singing, I (accidentally) came off the happy pills, and things are going well.

First things first, our time frame has shifted but we ARE still moving back to the U.S.(see above statement on my crappy winter). We'll keep everyone posted. Don't hold your breath, because, well, bureaucracy, but it is still happening FOR SURE! If we hadn't sold our house, I would be tempted to stay here forever. But he did, and so we aren't.

Dylan and Edith are basically the same, just a little older. Still doing great in school, still driving me crazy at home. The biggest changes are that Dylan is basically toothless and Edith is getting a little bit bratty. Time will march on!

Martin is still loving being a joiner. He is on short term contracts, but has yet to go more than three days without a job. He is in demand, and it is fantastic! Currently, he is working on a school refurbishment in Scunthorpe. He comes home filthy dirty, but he comes home at 4:30pm. And stays for the rest of the night! The novelty still hasn't worn off. I'm still thrilled to have my husband at home with me almost every single night. And he loves it, because he can go do sporty things and I don't freak out about him deserting me on his one night off. Everybody wins. He does still pick up the occasional shift at Winteringham Fields, as well. He still loves doing that, and a few times a month is nice for all of us.

I'm going to try to end this shameful blogging dry spell. Promise!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Did we leave it too late?

I was thinking in the shower today, as I am wont to do do, and I realized that moving to Utah could be a bigger wrench for Dylan than I'd initially thought it would be.

He is football mad now, in a way that he never was before. And he has all of his neighbourhood friends that he plays out with. He's established himself in school as one of the "brainy" ones. He is comfortable with his life as it is. And we are going to take him to the U.S., where Premiership football might as well not exist. His love of Match Attax cards will go unfulfilled and he will know loads about a sporting league that, for all intents and purposes, most people in Utah don't even know exists. He will have to make new friends, and learn new things to talk about and new ways of playing. Oh wow--what am I about to do to my son? Is he going to be ok?

We wanted to leave here 6 years ago. When he was three, a move wouldn't have been a big deal at all. But now, well, it's a very big deal. And though he is excited about it, it's little wonder that he is also anxious. He is constantly asking little "When we move to America" questions. Poor kid!

Does moving back to Utah make me the most selfish beast of a parent in the world?

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A shift...

I have spent years being the most important person in the lives of my children. They love their dad, don't get me wrong. But he worked a lot, and I was on the front lines as the full time mother and housewife. They came to me for food, drinks, clothes, shoes, cuddles, you name it. And now I can feel that need changing. They are becoming more and more independent, and I am becoming a peripheral figure in their lives. Especially Dylan's, now that he is a very grown-up eight year old.

I never thought it would bother me. Truth be told, in many ways it doesn't. I love that they can do most things for themselves now. It's incredibly freeing! But it does make me slightly sad that I will never be the focal point in their little lives again. From here on out it will be friends, then girlfriends and boyfriends, then spouses, and then children (hopefully in that order!).

Life is kind of like the weather in England--if you don't like it, just wait five minutes.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A religious experience on the 350 Humber Fastcat bus to Hull

So I have done some things in my life that I am deeply ashamed of. That's not news to anybody who knows me well, but I just thought I'd throw it out there. Most of them were as a direct result of my rape at age 17, a fact which I realized during my therapy sessions to treat my PTSD (did you know I was officially diagnosed with it?).

I heard about this book, "The Body Keeps The Score," by Bessel van der Kolk, and it sounded right up my alley, so I asked my local library to get it in for me. They happily obliged for a reservation fee of £.75. It came in late last week, and it turns out that it is maybe the best £.75 I have ever spent.

This is a "smart book." No skimming allowed, because it is so densely packed with information that you have to read and comprehend every single word. But it is so profoundly interesting that you wouldn't want to skip anything, even if you could. It is all about the effects of trauma on the body, and it is fascinating.

I have spent the last week discovering why I did all of the things I did after my assault. Everything was basically a direct result of neurological functions. A way for my brain to process everything that had happened and get past it. And as I sat on the bus, reading this book, I had a moment of revelation. I realized that my actions in the face of the first rape, and in the years after it, were more than just mistakes. They were ways for my body and mind to try to heal themselves. And I knew, with every fiber of my being, that God does not judge me for the things I did then. In fact, God is proud of me for finding a way to get better, in the face of some pretty horrific things that had been done to me. I wasn't able to go to anyone else for help at that time, so I had to try and help myself. And, in a weird way, my actions seem to have been guided by God even though they were not necessarily "good." Because as I look at those early years, I realize that so many things I did are very nearly textbook examples of how to treat PTSD. And that could NOT be a happy accident. The odds are too high against it.

I needed therapy. It was the last step to help me in my recovery. But I was functioning before that. In a nearly normal way. And after the things that happened, I should not have been. I have no reason to be ashamed. I should be proud of myself, just like God is.

I sat and cried on that bus. Because for the first time in years, I felt truly clean.