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."