Friday, December 31, 2010

My gorgeous kids...

Dylan has been absolutely amazing this week.  Seriously, he has been helping me out around the house, obeying me when I ask him to do things, not throwing tantrums, it's like the past 6 months never happened.  I could really get used to this Dylan.

Of course, his good behavior has coincided almost exactly with the onset of Edith's "terrible twos."  She's been a little madame, though still good for a toddler her age.

We had a good day today--spent the morning with Martin and then drove to Ikea after lunch.  Both kids spent the whole drive there sleeping, and they were really good while we shopped.  We stopped mid-way for a snack, and Dylan helped me push the food trolley around, pay for snacks, and get to a table.  Perfect child, really.

We had a good night, too.  Edith slept on the drive home, but Dylan and I chatted and listened to music together.  I made dinner when we got home, and we all ate together.  Then Dylan helped me clear the table while I did dishes.  Then it was on to our walk to Tesco for a few essentials.

On the way there, Dylan and I talked about New Year's Eve and how most people would be going to parties tonight.  But I told him I wasn't going to go to a party, and Dylan showed amazing insight.  He said, "Is that because you're staying home to look after me and Edith?"

"Yes," I told him.

"That's because we're very important to you, isn't it?" he replied.

I nearly cried.  All it took was this simple little exchange for me to remember why I wanted to have children so badly in the first place.  And it reminded me why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, even though I'm not really suited to the job.

Dylan knows, at the tender age of 3 years old, that he and his sister are my top priority.  And I get to experience the wonder of these two little children, and I have the privilege of raising them and receiving their love and devotion in return.  Sure, it'll disappear during their teen-age years.  But it'll be back.  I know, because I now love my parents even more than I did as a child, because now I realize how much a parent sacrifices for a child. 

It's so much more than nights stuck in the house while everyone else is out having a good time.  It's  the way your life comes to a grinding halt while you, for probably the first time in your life, devote every bit of yourself to another human being.

It's hard work, but very rewarding.  Especially when those little monkeys let me know that they appreciate me.

That being said, I am looking forward to them being a bit older and more independent so I am not stuck at home on my own 5 nights a week!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the daily grind returns...

Now that Christmas is over, I have no excuse.  I am back on the regular housework rotation, and it's going to take some serious work to get the house back up to par.  I put some hard work in tonight on the kitchen and bathroom.  Oh, and the Christmas stuff is all packed away and the furniture in the front room moved ever so slightly.

It's always so nice to get the house back to normal after the holidays.  Although they're technically not over until after New Year's.   What a non-holiday in my world!

We're back to the English winter weather that I've come to know and love.  It's foggy and wet, just the way it should be.  And compared to the last month, it's downright warm.  I'm wearing a short sleeved t-shirt with no sweater over it right now.  Ahhhhh, above freezing weather is bliss.

Martin and I have been rocking out on Guitar Hero, and I think we're both pretty much hooked.  In fact, now that the chores are done I think I'll indulge in a little "Wii time."  I earned it by scrubbing the toilet and cleaning out the bin. Ugh.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Christmas re-cap...

Well, we made it through Christmas unscathed!

Actually,it was pretty successful.  The quiet books were finished on Christmas eve, with time to spare.  The wrapping was all done in advance.  The house looked lovely.


Martin's mum spent the night, and it was nice to have the company.  She wrapped her presents while I did all the prep for Christmas dinner.  Martin got home at about 11:45pm and we all turned in not too long after that.

Edith got us off to a not-so-great start at 4am, when she woke up and refused to go back to sleep in her crib. She ended up sleeping in the bed with me and Martin, cuddled up in his arms.  They looked adorable, but it didn't make for very restful sleep.

Dylan woke us all up at about 6:20am, his normal waking time.  He followed the trail of pennies (Santa has holes in the pockets of his Santa suit, don't you know) down to his presents, and was SO excited!

The presents were kind of hard.  We did the opening of pressies in three lots, stopping for breakfast and again for a little play with some of the new toys.  But the kids were just so overstimulated and out of routine that they both spent large portions of the day being whiny little toe-rags.  And Edith was tired and very needy.  Let's just put it this way; we were happy to see them go to bed.

Christmas dinner was, by and large, a huge success.  The turkey was cooked to perfection, the mashed potatoes were fluffy and creamy, the carrots and swede were beautifully cooked and lightly smashed, the sprouts were still slightly crunchy (nothing worse than over-cooked brussells sprouts), the roast potatoes were nothing short of perfection, the stuffing was home-made and delicious, and the parsnips, well, I burned them.  But everything else was really good!  Even Christine seemed pleased, and that's saying something.  Even the Christmas pudding was deemed a triumph.

I guess cooking all those Thanksgiving dinners has been good practice for me.

The best gifts for the kids have been the sticky hands from Aunty Krystle and Uncle Blane and the dolly pushchair from Aunty Cathy.  They do like those quiet books, and they were quite effective at church on Sunday.  Martin's favorite gift was "Guitar Hero" for the Wii and mine is a toss up between my suede gloves and my new-to-me ipod.  

So yeah, it was a good Christmas.  Martin was off for 3 whole days, and he's off for 3 days again this weekend.  Awesome!  It's so wonderful to have him home.  One of my favorite things in the whole world is listening to him give the kids their bath while I wash the dinner dishes.  The kids seriously eat him up just like icecream.  Days off are amazing.  Something about having Martin home for baths makes me feel like everything is right with the world.

So here I am now, alone for the first time in 5 nights.  It was pretty weird putting the kids to bed and coming downstairs to an empty house.  I almost wanted to keep them up with me, because we were having such a good time.  Almost...

So that's the update.  It was a good Christmas.  Because of the current economic situation, the budgets were smaller and the gifts fewer, but more thoughtfully chosen as a result.  I liked it that way.  It felt more special to receive the gifts that were given, and less greedy and guilty.  More about friends and family.

I just wish I had been able to be with MY family.  Sure do miss you guys!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So many thoughts have been running through my mind, about my children, religion, life in general.  But my hands have been too busy doing other things to sit and type out all my thoughts.  The quiet books are nearly finished, and then I will have time to do other things.  I'm really looking forward to that.

Edith now has a mouth full of teeth, and she is such a joy to have around now that the teeth are in and she's feeling well.  It seems like ages ago that Dylan was at this developmental stage, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is!  Edith just runs around the house getting into things and discovering.  Last night I got out the crayons that my mom gave us ages ago, and she picked up a red one.  She did a little bit of drawing with it, saw the bright red color, and gave us the most beautiful, amazed look.  Oh, and we got an "ooooooooh!"  She is learning to speak, but doesn't say hardly any real words.  She just runs around babbling, but she thinks she's speaking English.  Her face is priceless when she babbles at you, because she looks so serious--she KNOWS that what she just said makes perfect sense.  I love it.

Dylan had his school Christmas party yesterday, and came home all happy and glowing.  Apparently, he loves parties.  He's told us so several times now.  He's excited for Christmas, and it's going to be a fun one this year.  Unfortunately, he's also 3 years old going on 13.  He's seriously like a stroppy teen-ager, and it's driving me (and Martin) crazy.  Last night I had to sit on him to hold him down while I cut his toenails.  He is very anti-personal grooming.  Hates haircuts, brushing his teeth, cutting his nails, cleaning out his ears, etc.  And he's going through a tantrum phase at the minute.  Charming, but still an adorable boy.

Martin has been putting in some extra hours at work.  Of course, with the run-up to Christmas they have been busy--except for the week it snowed.  Last week he worked 6 days.  But Saturday is Christmas, and that gives him an extra day off this week.  I'm sad that he's not working somewhere that closes over the holidays.  Last year he had about 10 days off, and that's just not going to happen this year.  But I'll take three days off, gladly.  He's working on Christmas eve, normal hours, so I will have to play Santa by myself.  That might be a bit lonely, but really no more so than a normal Friday night.  We'll miss him at Christmas Eve present time.

And me--well, I colored my hair black again.  It seemed to suit my mood.  I've been inexplicably sad lately.  I think it might have a lot to do with the weather.  At least, I hope it is.  Winter in England has always been tough for me.  A few days ago, sunrise was about 8:35am and sunset was 3:41pm.  And we haven't been getting a lot of sunlight even when the sun was technically up, you know?  I'm hoping it's just a touch of SAD and I can start being happier once the days get longer and the sun is out more.  Maybe I'll try a sun bed for a quick pick-me-up.  Anyway, the sadness has hit me before, and it will hit again.  I can function just fine with it, and it's not life-threatening.  I just need to suck it up and get on with things.

In happy news, my bathroom is now plastered and I have a new cupboard in there.  It looks great!  Now I just need Martin to finish some of his jobs in the kitchen so I can get that plastered and finished off as well.  The bathroom/kitchen remodel has taken a LOT longer than I wanted, but at least the bathroom is nearly there.  It's made a big difference with the space.  Seriously, the bathroom looks amazing.  And I had a great time plastering it.  The cupboard has really cleaned up some of the clutter!

Well, it's time to get breakfast made for my brood.  Ham and cheese omelettes with toast, I think.  Then leftover tuna casserole for lunch.  Dinner is still a mystery at this point.  I simply don't remember what we're having, because I planned the menus last week.  I'm sure it'll be tasty though. 

I remember when I only cooked one meal a day, if that!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mean people suck...

Of course, everybody is mean some of the time.  I'm no exception to the rule.  In fact, the reason I married Martin (or one of the reasons, at least) is because he is a much nicer person than I am.

Sometimes people get hurt because of things you say or do, and you don't even realize it.  Those times are the worst.  I treasure each and every one of my friends, and would never intentionally hurt any of them.  So, well in advance of the New Years rush, I just want to take this opportunity to issue a blanket apology.

My friends and family, I love you all very much.  I think of you all often.  But sometimes I think only of myself, my husband, and my children.  Sometimes I say or do hurtful things as a result.  I'm sorry about that.  A careless word here, a thoughtless action there--those are the things that can wound the most,

Please don't think that this is an open invitation to all of you to tell me what I've done wrong.  Obviously, if you need to get something off your chest and it's really important, feel free to do so.  But I've taken enough of a beating already tonight, so please be gentle with me.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Back on track...

After a week of being sick myself, a week of recovery from Dylan's surgery, and a week of a teething, chest infection Edith, we all seem to be healthy and happy again.

It's been a long week.  I've pretty much held Edith since noon on Monday (I was doing Christmas shopping on Monday morning), and it started to wear thin about Wednesday afternoon.  She was pretty miserable just this morning, but after a really good nap-she hasn't been sleeping very well-she perked up.

We've actually had a really nice afternoon and evening.  Edith and I picked Dylan up from school and we all drove to Scunthorpe to do some Christmas shopping for their daddy.  Dylan picked out the present, with some suggestions from me.  Then we went and got some dinner at Burger King.  Edith ate more than she's eaten in the last three days conmbined.  Then we drove home and they watched cartoons together while I got their bath ready.  The bath was fun, and story time was as well.  Now they are tucked up in bed and, for the first time in about 3 weeks, I am content.

Wow, it's amazing how the weight has lifted just from 4 hours with no crying.  Even Dylan was delighted, telling his dad during their bedtime phone call that "Edith's stopped crying!"

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Just breathed a big sigh of relief...

It's the end of what should have been a really good day.

Got a shower.
Got a haircut.
Did make-up (properly, not just mascara and chapstick in the car).
Took the kids to the Fun Forest.
Got a Christmas tree.
Decorated it--mostly.

Sounds nice, right?


Edith is sicky, cutting teeth, and whining.  She spent the entire time at the Fun Forest dozing off in my arms, and has spent a large portion of the day being breastfed since she is refusing to eat proper food.

Dylan is attention-seeking, annoying and high maintenance.  Seriously, pushing all his boundaries and disobeying the most simple of instructions.  Also, screaming at me and hitting me.  Awesome.

But the tree is up and twinkling.  And the kids are in bed.  Now, I am staring at an evening of making gifts for my pain in the bum kids who I don't even want to look at, let alone hand stitch for!

I love them, really.  But they'd better be good tomorrow, or else.

Just sayin'.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Dylan and I made cupcakes today.  They were brown sugar and vanilla with buttercream frosting, and they were delicious!

We made them to take to Mickey B.  Martin and I had a hospital appointment this morning in Hull--our second blood test for the von Willebrand's diagnosis.  Unfortunately, Martin left the interior light on in the car.  For two days.  The battery was totally flat.  It's a long story that involves much running around by Martin and much irritation from me.  But, to make a long story short, Mick let us borrow his car to drive to Hull for our appointment.  So I took him a plate full of freshly baked, still warm in the middle, cupcakes.  I hope he knows how much we appreciate him!

Edith's been pretty miserable today, and I realized why when I took a closer look at this photo.  She's currently cutting an entire mouth full of teeth.  Poor little lady! 

And here's my darling little boy--thrilled to be able to run and bend over again, and still freaking out about getting in the bath tub.  He's recovering well from his surgery on Monday, and is very nearly back to normal.  What a trooper!

It's stopped snowing, at last, but it is now freezing.  Slush on the roads is making things kind of nasty for motorists, but we have nowhere to go so are not really suffering.  The house is kind of cold, but it just inspires me to bake more.  I just hope we can get a Christmas tree on Monday, because I am so ready to decorate our house for Christmas!

My dad doesn't believe me...

Tuesday night...

Wednesday night...

And finally,

Friday morning!
Getting onto the Humber Bridge...

The view from the top (fog on the river)...

It really is a winter wonderland. 

Thursday, December 02, 2010

This is bizarre!

I know that I'm no expert, but I have spent 7 winters in England (including the one when I was first married) and I have NEVER seen weather like this!  Seriously, the last week has been much more like a Utah winter than an English one.  Only there is no snow removal.

London Gatwick and Edinburgh airports are closed.

There are no trains running.

There are no buses running (which makes Fleetgate a very quiet street, indeed).

The local supermarkets are completely out of bread and milk (though are currently doing fine on all other stock levels).

HGV's can't get into or out of Barton because of the ice on Ferriby Road.  It's the main road into and out of Barton, and it's a pretty steep hill.  I've been told the only way you can drive up it is if you have 4-wheel drive.

Dylan's school has been closed for the last two days, as have most schools in the country.

Martin closed the Stables last night because his chefs couldn't get in to work.

The Humber Bridge is closed.

Fleetgate hardware has sold all of it's snow shovels and sleds.  I'm pretty sure there isn't one to be found throughout the whole country, in fact.

And, best of all, IT'S STILL SNOWING! 

The met office are predicting another 10cm for our region today.  It's fine for us, because we have plenty of food in the house and Martin walks to work anyway.  Dylan wouldn't be in school because of his surgery, so that's no big loss.  But it's apparently next to impossible to get out of Barton.  I wouldn't know because I pretty much haven't left the house since early Tuesday morning, and I'm starting to go a little bit stir crazy.  I've never really missed the snow since we moved over here, and it's nothing but a nuisance in this country.

We're all tucked up snug and sound in our house, watching cartoons, having hot chocolate for breakfast, and waiting for the "Big Freeze" to be finished.  Me, I'm totally ready for the "Big Thaw."  But hey, maybe I can take this opportunity to repeat my Utah winter mantra...

"If it's snowing, it's not freezing."

Everybody say it with me now;

"If it's snowing, it's not freezing."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 inches isn't much...

To all my Utah friends and families, 10 inches of snow is a good storm, but not particularly newsworthy.  Plows will be out, salt will be spread, life will continue on as usual.

I was outside shoveling snow away from the front of my house (tricky when you live in a townhouse with no barrier garden, let me tell you.  Where do you put the snow once you've shoveled it?) when a woman walking by told me that the Met office were predicting 10 inches of snow for our region.  Let me just tell you, this IS a big deal when you live in England and there are NO SNOW PLOWS WHATSOEVER! 

Salt is spread on the main roads, but small towns (like ours) and villages don't get much salt on their tiny roads.  Plus, it doesn't move the slush.  Which freezes, and becomes the most treacherous ice you've ever seen.  And when it is a proper cold snap, that slush/ice can stick around for weeks.

Trucks can't get to grocery stores, people can't get to work, schools close, etc. 

It is really coming down tonight, and I am feeling very grateful for my breadmaker and the fact that I had enough foresight to purchase some UHT milk and tins of beans and tomatoes when I did my grocery shopping this morning!

In other news, Dylan is being a real trooper.  He woke up badly this morning, because we had let his pain medication lapse.  He was sound asleep and we didn't want to wake him!  Let me tell you, we'll be waking him up to take it tonight!  He lounged around with no trousers or pants on for most of the morning, and he was in hog heaven because we let him watch cartoons nearly all day long.  But he is perking right up and his "region" looks good.  We were carrying him to the toilet all morning because he was struggling to walk, but by afternoon he was walking there himself.  He even walked up the stairs by himself to go to bed.  And he has developed a cute little hunch for when he coughs.  I recognize it--I had the same hunch after my c-sections!

Anyway, he's getting better all the time.  Edith is loving it, because he doesn't have the energy to be mean to her.  They are playing really well together.  But I am looking forward to his complete recovery.  With Martin back at work today, it was a pretty tricky night.  I'm glad the procedure is done and we won't have to worry about it any more.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Home, sweet home...

Well, it's done.  Dylan's no longer got excess fluid around is testicles.  Surgery was started at 3:30pm today, took about an hour and 20 minutes, and he is doing just fine.  We were at the hospital a LOT longer than we anticipated.  And when we finally got done, Dylan wolfed down two slices of bread, a yoghurt, a cup of squash, and a McDonalds happy meal with chicken mcnuggets and a strawberry milkshake.  He hadn't had anything to eat all day, and that kid was STARVING!

I'm feeling very into the NHS today.  The staff at the hospital were brilliant.  It took a long time, but the surgical team seemed very competent and the nurses were absolutely wonderful. 

Dylan's incision is only about an inch long, and they used dissolvable stitches so we won't have to be seen at the hospital again unless he develops any worrying symptoms.  Even then, we can just take him to a closer hospital.  But the surgeon said that the procedure went very well--just as planned.

Now both of my babies are tucked up in bed and I am watching "Diamonds are Forever."  It feels good to be home.  Our hospital adventure started at 10:20am and ended when we got home at 8:40pm.  Long day!

Friday, November 26, 2010


I wasn't sure if I was going to "do" Thanksgiving this year.  I felt a little bit like Martin's family only showed up to humor me (which is very nice of them, I know) and it's a lot of effort to go to when it doesn't mean anything.  Plus, his dad and sister still aren't speaking to each other and I didn't want to deal with all that drama.

I had decided to cook a chicken instead of a turkey with all the trimmings and just have Amy over for our usual Thursday night dinner.  Then, we got two American missionaries in our ward and I wanted to invite them for a taste of home.  Then Noelle found out I was going to cook Thanksgiving dinner and offered her tin of pureed pumpkin in exchange for an invite for herself and her fiance Richard.  Then Martin agreed to come home for a few hours to eat with us all.

So I went from not bothered to cooking for 7 adults and my two kiddies.

Last night, as I sat around my crowded dining room table, surrounded by friends and family, I felt very blessed.  I am glad Thanksgiving turned out the way it did, because I have so much to be thankful for!  Mostly, for these guys:
But, if you are reading this blog you are probably on the list of people I am thankful for as well.  I have such wonderful friends and family.

Hopefully we will be spending next Thanksgiving in Utah.  Hopefully I won't have to make the whole meal by myself ever again!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

our current project...

I didn't get a completely "before" photo, but this is as good as it gets.

Martin, hanging out in the bathroom closet.  Now now, no gay jokes, please!

Recovering from using a sledgehammer.  See, totally manly!

Here we are at the point when we wonder if it was worth it!

I had a terrible cold, so spent most of the time doing clean-up.  And my favorite DIY job, sitting and watching Martin work.

Here's the new view of the kitchen from the piano.  Looks massive, doesn't it?

And the tidy version.
We now have a wall there, and it's looking better all the time.  The trickiest bits are the floor (raising the level) and the ceiling (has to be re-done where the closet was).  It's going to be so nice to have the extra space in the kitchen.  It already looks a lot bigger and I'm thrilled to be gaining some kitchen storage space!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Parent-Teacher conference...

It was Dylan's mid-term parent-teacher conference on Monday, and it was, wait for it, ALL POSITIVE!

His teachers, Miss Wilcockson and Mrs. Morris, said that he is adjusting beautifully, his vocabulary is amazing, he is starting to join in with the group more, and that his manners are very nice.  Then Miss Wilcockson asked me if I had changed anything at home to bring on this change.  His behavior problems have basically disappeared, and they are all amazed at the difference in the last three weeks.

So I told her that we had started a "nice" jar for Dylan, and that he got a button in his jar every time he did something "nice," like doing things the first time he was told, doing things before we had to ask him, using nice manners, playing well with his sister, etc.  I told her that we were trying to pay more attention to him when he did good things and make a big deal of his good behavior.

That, and we've been beating him.

All jokes aside (come on, I would never beat my kids!  Not unless they really deserved it.), Dylan is doing better.  And instead of telling me I needed help, this time they asked for my techniques.  I knew we could do this without any outside help!

Dylan will be missing some school in the coming weeks.  He's got his surgery on Monday and I'm planning on keeping him home for a few days after that so he can rest and heal.  Then, on the 7th of December they are going on a special school trip to Normanby Hall.  Santa will be there, and they will be taking their letter to him.  They will also be riding the miniature steam trains. 

Man, I am so excited for Christmas this year.  Having children is bringing out the Christmas kid in me.  I remember how magical this time of year used to be for me when I was a kid, and I want it to be like that for Dylan and Edith.  We've made a paper chain so Dylan knows how many days it is until Christmas.  After Thanksgiving is over, we will start to decorate the house for Christmas. 

Of course, we're trying to teach the kids the religious meaning of Christmas, and not just about Santa.  Bless Edith's little heart.  She recognizes pictures of Jesus, but gets really confused when we look at nativity scenes.  I tell her it's the baby Jesus, and she points to the baby and says "baby," then points to either Joseph or one of the shepherds and says "Jesus." 

I think it's because of the beards.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hello, dry clothes...

Our dryer broke a few weeks ago.  The drum was shearing away from the motoer or something like that.  Martin took a look at it and he's pretty good at figuring out how stuff works and what's gone wrong.  I've been draping all our clean clothes over radiators, hanging them on the one drying rack we've got, and clipping them on the sock dryers I got from IKEA.  Not fun.

My husband decided to get some stuff done this week, and he found a used dryer for not too much in the classifieds.  He drove to Grimsby (with Dylan) to pay for it and pick it up this morning, and I dried a load of whites in it this evening.  I'm so used to setting the dryer for maximum time and coming upstairs to find my clothes still wet.  Well, I put it on for an hour and took the kids for a walk.  I came home to bone dry clothes.  WOW!

(How sad is it that this is likely to be the high point of my week?)

We also had the plumber 'round yesterday, and our pipes in the bathroom closet have been moved.  We're going to see if the kids can have a sleepover at their nanna's house on Sunday and spend Monday with her so we can do our renovations.  That's pretty exciting, as well.

I have taken a night off from quiet books.  Instead, I went through my closet and paired up some layers that go together.  You'd think I could figure out what to wear when I got dressed, but I kind of need to feel creative to layer well and I never feel very creative first thing in the morning.  But now I have no excuses and am going to finish stitching up the chess board for Dylan's book.  Ugh.  I will be glad to see the end of this project.  It was fun for the first two months!

Friday, November 12, 2010

As of tonight...

These are the bits for Dylan's quiet book that are finished.

And here is Edith's stuff.

Looks like I've been busy, doesn't it?  Well, I have been sewing my little fingers off.  Just a few more pages to go.  Three for each child, to be more precise.  I can SO do this before Christmas!

My new hair (or, more accurately, my missing hair)

Amazing what a new haircut can do.  Ok, a new haircut, more sunshine, and a bit of lipstick.  My long hair is no more.  Goodbye long locks, hello sassy bob. 
And here's the more natural, curly version.  Funny, cutting my hair off always makes me feel more like ME.  Although I saw some beautiful hair yesterday and it made me miss mine.  But hey, it grows really fast.  And I am already planning on growing it out again, but with no layers this time.

Ok, narcissism is out of my system for the night.  Hope you like my new 'do.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

von Villebrand's update...

Dylan had his "DDAVP Challenge" on Monday to determine the effectiveness of the drug in making his blood clot.  The test definitely was a challenge, with three blood draws and an injection over a 5 1/2 hour period.  But we got the results of the test today and they were good.  His body responds well to the medication, so it will be relatively easy to treat him when necessary.

Unfortunately, he will have to be vaccinated against hepatitis A & B, but our GP will administer those vaccines.

The consultant has already liased with Sheffield Childrens' Hospital (where Dylan is having his surgery) and they are aware of his condition and the precautions that will need to be taken.  They are aware that his surgery is on the 29th of this month and will be sending the results of his DDAVP trial over.

We have a follow up appointment in 3 months' time.

All in all, I feel like we have this particular medical challenge well in hand.  The rest of the family will be seeing a hematologist on Friday the 19th, and we'll find out if Edith has von Willebrands and who it came from.  My money's on Martin.

In other Dylan news, his behavior is really improving.  We decided that instead of focusing on his "bad" behavior, we would really start to concentrate on his good behavior and make sure he had lots of praise for doing well.  It's much harder to praise good behavior than it is to punish bad behavior, but it seems to be working.  He's had two really good days at school this week.  Plus, I'm pretty much forcing him to take naps again in the morning, before he goes to school. 

I like what we're doing with him, because his little face lights up when we tell him we are proud of him.  He just beams when we hug him and tell him he's been amazing.  And you know what?  He IS!

My favorite thing to do is ask Dylan if I can tell him a secret.  When he says yes, I whisper in his ear, "You are my favorite little boy in the whole world."  He always gives me the most ear splitting grin and the sweetest little giggle.

We had a great time on the drive to the hospital today.  I moved his carseat to the front seat, and we chatted like a couple of school girls on the way there.  Edith stayed at home with her Nanna and went to Water's Edge to feed the ducks.  I love both of my children, but it's so nice to have some one-on-one time with them.  Sometimes I wish I only had one.  Then I could devote more time and attention instead of splitting it between the two of them.  But having them both just makes the individual time together that much more special.

I'm so in love with my beautiful children tonight.  Must be because they are sleeping peacefully right now.  I think I'll go make sure they are tucked in to their blankets and just stare at them for a few minutes.  Maybe wonder how I came to be so blessed.  You know--mom things.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

She's Crafty!

I've got a lot more work done on the quiet books since I took these pictures, but here's a sample of what I've been up to for the last 6 weeks or so.  I'm so tired of hand sewing, but the books are starting to come together nicely.  The kids had better love these books!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

He's starting to be embarrassing...

Yesterday I was so tired of being the mom/personal chef/maid/babysitter that I took the kids to get fish and chips so I didn't have to cook.  Plus, I really fancied it. 

Had a couple of really awesome moments in the fish & chip shop.

Well, the first one technically took place just outside the fish & chip shop.  We went to Humber Fisheries (there are 3 places to choose from in Barton) because a) they do the best fish in town and more importantly, b) there was a parking spot right outside so I didn't have to wrestle Edith as far.  At Humber Fisheries they cook their fish to order and it takes about 7 minutes, so after I ordered our meal (2 fish, one chips, small pot of mushy peas, please) we had to wait a while.  I was holding Edith when I felt my arm go all warm and wet.  Oh yeah, she peed right through her diaper.  I told the fish bloke that I'd be right back for my order, and took both kids outside so I could do a diaper change.

There are no facilities in the town center, so I had to change Edith on the front seat of the car (back seat is full of carseats and trunk is full of rubbish).  Luckily, she is still so tiny for her age and fits rather nicely there.  So I was squatting next to the car with some serious plumber's crack (sorry about the visual) changing a wet diaper when Dylan told me, with some urgency, that he had to pee.  Ohboy!

As previously mentioned, there are NO TOILET FACILITIES in the town center.  So I did what any mother of a young boy with shaky bladder control would do.  I told him to pull his pants down and pee on the car tire.  It was pretty dark and there weren't many people around.  But Dylan, being Dylan, can't discreetly pull out his package and pee.  Oh no.  He had his trousers and pants down around his ankles.  And he REALLY had to pee.  Those pants were down south for a very, very, very long time.

So there we were, all three of us exposed to some degree, when I see this lady named Ann walking down the street.  She was one of the regulars at the Place, and is one of the nicest, classiest women I know.  I tried not to make eye contact and finished the business at hand as quickly as possible.  Everyone sorted out, we went back in to the chippy to get our order.  Guess who else was in there?  Oh yeah, it was Ann.  I apologized for the spectacle of my toddler urinating on our car, and she was cool about it.  Said that we'd all been there.  But seriously, how embarrassed was I?

Then, Dylan noticed one of the other customers in the shop.  He had some kind of disease that had caused some serious growths on his neck, face, and head.  My lovely son is so observant and wonderfully verbal, and has NO SOCIAL FILTERS WHATSOEVER!  So of course he asked me, in the clearest, most perfectly understandable and loud English, why that man had spots.  Could this dinner adventure get any more eventful?  Luckily, I was able to distract him by saying, "Some people do, Dylan.  You have a nose.  And I can SEE IT!"  Then we played a delightful game where he hid in the corner so I couldn't see his nose, and then I told him I could see his bum.  He kept turning around in that corner until our order was ready, I paid, and we left.  I tried not to look at the man with spots.

It's a good thing the fish and chips were ridiculously delicious.

I think it might be time to talk to Dylan about what's polite to talk about in public. 

And to teach him how to pee in public more discreetly.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Calling all parents...

Dylan has been having some behavior problems at school.  He's been bullying other kids, lying about it, and being totally blase about punishment.  He is also refusing to follow instructions.

He does all of these things at home, but not as much as he seems to be going them at school.  We had to have a chat with the school's "behavior specialist," Mrs. Cook, on Tuesday.  It was humiliating, to say the least.

The thing is, I KNOW why Dylan is acting up.  And I told them why he's doing it.  Dylan is tired.  No, scratch that.  Dylan is exhausted.  He only misbehaves when he's tired or hungry, and I know he's not hungry.  He goes to school on a full stomache and has access to fruit and veggies and drinks while he's there.  Up until just a few weeks before he started school, he was taking a 2 hour + nap every afternoon, and he still needs it!

Mrs. Cook wants to arrange a home visit to take a look at our discipline/rewards techniques.  I told her it wasn't necessary.  We are doing everything right.  I am the most consistent parent I know.  Seriously, I am!  I am not a natural parent, so I analyze everything I do like crazy.  I also make sure to encourage my children when they do something well because, once more, that doesn't come naturally either.  We do the naughty step.  We take away priveliges when Dylan disobeys.  We don't allow him to hit or bully his sister or any other kids he comes into contact with.  We really are doing everything right.  But she still wants to do this home visit, and she encouraged me to seek 2 year funding for Edith to go to nursery a few times a week.  She didn't say that it was so she wouldn't develop these same behavior problems, but it was heavily implied.

So how do I make them see that it is just exhaustion that is causing the problems?  And how can I resolve the issue?  The kids go to bed at 7pm, and they wake up between 5:30 and 6am.  We can NOT get them to sleep any later, no matter what we do.  I could try putting them to bed earlier, but Dylan will still have been awake for 6 hours when he goes to school and will still need a nap, which he will not take!

The obvious solution is to put Dylan in morning school, but we put him in the afternoon session because otherwise he would never get to see his dad. 

So, my question to all the parents out there is this:  What can I do to discourage his disobedience and bullying?  Where do I go from here?

I know the teachers are not exaggerating.  My kid is a monster when he's tired!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...

The intrepid adventurers never let a little bit of rain stop them!

Here's the proof that I was there, too.

The mausoleum.  It was built for somebody's wife who died in the 1700's at the ripe old age of about 34.  As Martin said, "All this for just one person.  It's no Taj Mahal, but he must have really loved her!"

Such an incredible view!  We wanted to walk further, and the rain wasn't about to stop us.  But the sound of shots being fired in the distance did the job that the rain couldn't.  We'll definitely be back here in the spring to explore properly!

Crazy Dylan...

I just love this picture of Dylan, because he looks like some kind of crazed boxer getting revved up for the big fight.  Please note the cut on his forehead, courtesy of our coffee table.  Really, it only adds to the image of psychotic athlete, doesn't it?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cute kids doing silly things...

Enjoying a read and a cuddle.

Fun Forest adventures.

Ooooh, ball pool...

Beer belly.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

part timer...

That's what I feel like lately.  My in-laws had the kids on Monday so Martin and I could do some DIY.  That turned in to a disaster, with some unexpected water pipes.  We have a plumber coming today to look at the job of moving the pipes, as that needs to be done before we can do any more work.  We're knocking out the bathroom closet and making it part of the kitchen.  I can hardly wait!

Anyway, the kids were gone for 24 hours, so Martin and I took advantage of it and went out to see a movie that night and took a lunch break at the Place while they were still there.

Monday night was my friend Noelle's Pampered Chef party, so we went to the in-laws for dinner, picked up the kids, brought them home and put them in to bed, and I left for the evening.

Last night, we got a babysitter.  The lovely Alice Whall came over and watched our telly for 2 hours while we went out to dinner at Pasco's in Cottingham.  It's owned by the same people that own Stables, so we got our dinner for free.  It was a lovely evening.

Tonight is book club, and I am the hostess this month.  So I'll have adult company tonight, as well.

I almost need Martin to go to work on Thursday so I actually feel like a parent again.  This is GREAT!

We're enjoying Dylan's half-term holiday so far, and Martin's time off even more.  Obviously, Monday was a day of hard work for us.  But the kids had a great time having a sleepover at their nanna's house.  Then yesterday we went for a fun walk.  I think we might do it again today, because the kids seriously had so much fun rambling around in the woods.  It was raining, but we didn't mind.  We would have walked longer, but the path was part of the Earl of Yarborough's estate, and was technically closed.  We walked until we started hearing gunshots in the distance.  Then we figured it was a good idea to get out of the way of a shooting party!  We are going to take the kids to the circus--most likely on Friday.  Then Martin and Dylan are going to the Leeds v. Scunthorpe United match on Saturday.   It's in Scunthorpe, and they have to sit in the "wrong" stand (with the Scunny fans) but they are both really looking forward to it.  I'll take Edith shopping, I think.

Dylan will be back at school on Monday, and Martin will be back at work on Tuesday.  We are squeezing a lot in.  Then it's no more time off until Christmas for Dylan, and no more time off until January for Martin.  I hate having him work in a restaurant at Christmas time!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the Entertainer...

My son is a total attention hog.  Last night we sang a song together at the ward talent night, and he was fantastic!  While we were on the stage waiting to go on, he was actually dancing because he was so excited to sing.  We left early, so I don't know if we won or not.  But he was completely adorable.  I asked someone to record it for me, though I haven't had a chance to check out the video yet.  Hopefully it worked and you will all be able to see his performance soon.

I took the kids to the talent night because I couldn't stand to be cooped up in the house alone with them for another second.  They got to bed an hour and a half late, and they woke up an hour early this morning, so I will be paying for our night out all day long.  I think it was worth it, but will have a better idea about that come bed time.  Of course, the time changes tonight so it IS the perfect day to put them to bed an hour early.

I don't know why, but every once in a while my lifestyle starts to really chafe.  It's one of those weeks right now--I am sick to death of having pooping, crying, hungry and demanding kids hanging off me all the time.  They require so much of my time and energy.  They are sucking the life out of me.  I love them to pieces, but I can't stand having them around all the time.  I feel like a single parent most of the time, and it is exhausting!

Martin is such a wonderful father, but sometimes what I really need is a husband!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random update...

I was giving Dylan a cuddle the other night when he was having a night terror and I made an interesting observation.  At the tender age of 3 years old, his head is about the same size as Martin's.  It kind of creeped me out, because when I was hugging him it felt a little bit like I was hugging his dad.  Not helped by the fact that their ears are the same, as is their hair color.

We got Dylan's surgery date through the post this week.  He'll be in Sheffield Childrens' Hospital on the 29th of November to have his hydrocele operated on.  In the mean time, we will all be rushing back and forth to the hospital in Hull for various hematologist appointments.  Ugh!  I think the hardest part of the surgery will be not giving Dylan anything to eat after 7:30 am when his surgery isn't until noon.  Anyway, we have about 6 weeks to go so no use fretting about it yet.

Dylan breaks up for the half term tomorrow.  Exciting stuff, as Martin is taking a week off.  It's actually meaningful this time.  We will have a whole week where we don't have to schedule things around school, and we will be able to do stuff as a family.  Bliss!

Edith has learned how to make an "oooooh" sound, and her face is priceless when she does it.  She really purses her lips together.  Her face is so mobile.  I am sensing a career as an actress in her future.  Or maybe a mime.  Her face is incredibly expressive.  That's part of the reason I think she isn't talking much yet.  I can tell what she wants by her facial expression a lot of the time.

I've now finished the rubber ducky page for Edith's quiet book and the spaceman page for Dylan's quiet book.  So that makes 6 pages done, and 14 to go.  A couple of them are really simple.  Some of them are not.  But I am pleased with the progress we've made so far.  Especially since I have been taking a few nights off to get some extra sleep.

Wow, things are busy right now!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time flies...

Hauling out the winter gear.
Nearly enough hair to style now!

Look, Ma--pigtails!  And they stayed in for about 30 seconds, too.
Slim Jim