Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guess what?

I've always thought I was more of a school-time mom.  I like having Dylan at school and Edith napping, because it gives me some time to myself.  But today is day 4 of the summer holidays, and I'm really enjoying it so far.  Having Dylan home is actually pretty fun.

Maybe it's more the freedom of not being tied to the school run.  We don't have to stick to such a rigid schedule right now.  If lunch is ready 20 minutes later than normal, it's no big deal.  If Edith sleeps a little bit later than usual, I don't have to wake her up to go gt Dylan from school.  We can skip naps altogether and go do something fun, like we did yesterday. 

Here's what we've done so far:

Monday--not a really fun one for the kids.  Martin went golfing.  I went visiting teaching.  We prepared for the Stables staff barbeque.

Tuesday--took the kids swimming at the new leisure centre in Scunthorpe.

Wednesday--went to the park in Goxhill.

And today--Noelle is coming over and we are going to bake cookies.

We've not got any plans for Frieday yet, but I'm thinking it might involve a train journey to the seaside.  The kids both love trains, and Dylan loves the beach, but it depends on when the tide is in.  So it could be fish and chips and a paddle in the North Sea, could be something else.

Saturday will most likely be a trip to McDonalds and the 20/21 art gallery in Scunthorpe.

Poor Martin.  He's seeing even less of the kids because we're out doing fun stuff when he's home on his break.  But I'm tired of not doing anything just because of his job.  So we are gallivanting around and leaving him alone with the Wii.

It looks like it's going to be a fun, busy, and exhausting summer!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Take me out to the ball game...

Martin didn't play baseball all last summer, and I promised him he could play a few games this summer.  We didn't have too many church commitments and it was a home game, so we went yesterday.

We had so much gear that it looked like we were staying for a week.  We took snacks, drinks, a tent, blankets, umbrellas, etc.

My-oh-my, the kids LOVED the tent!

Martin and I got a rare photo of the two of us together.  We pretended to like each other.

It really seems like we had a good time, doesn't it?

It was fun, for a time.  Then Edith got tired, it rained, she got her Welly boots muddy, took them off, and got her socks wet.  She freaked out about her wet socks, refused to put her boots on, wouldn't take a nap, and just generally made everyone miserable.

Dylan was good, though.

Now Martin is hobbling around the house like an old man because he used some muscles that haven't been vigorously exercised for quite some time.  But if he has a sports-related injury he's not allowed to complain about it.  I figure it's self-inflicted, so he gets no sympathy.  He's in pain, but he's happy.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An unexpected windfall...

We helped clean the church last Saturday.  Kind of a big ask when Martin works a 14 hour day on Saturday and I am on my own with the kids all day long, but we sucked it up and did it.  And what do you know--we got blessings!

Of course, you expect good things to happen to you when you do good.  Even if you don't believe in God and blessings, most people believe in karma.  Or, at the very least, enjoy that buzz you get when you know you did something good.  But we were rewarded immediately.

I came home with a giant bag of old curtains and sheets that someone was getting rid of.

Now I know that doesn't sound very exciting to most people, but I have been searching the charity shops for just those very items.  I have been wanting them to make rag rugs, which we are in desperate need of since we did the tiling.  The stone floors are really lovely, but VERY hard.  Unfortunately, an old pair of curtains runs about £6 and sheets are about £4.  Cost prohibitive when you need about 6 sheets or two pair of curtains to make a decent sized rug.  So when I got this big bag of old fabric, I was beyond thrilled.  In fact, I've already nearly finished a rug.  It's beautiful, and it will be a reminder every time I look at it that good things happen when you do what you ought to do.

In other news, our car insurance company has decided to write off our car.

About three weeks ago, I nearly tore the bumper off.  I cried.  We debated whether or not to put a claim in to our insurance company, since it was all my fault and there was nobody else involved--just me and the strip of metal on the side of a gate post.  But we have full coverage on our car and the deductible is only £100.  Sadly, the car will cost more to fix than it is worth.  Happily, the market value of the car is £1575 (remember, we paid £800 for it).  We found someone in town who will fix the damage for about £500, and the insurance company will sell us back the car for the amount that they could get for scrappage, and we can take the rest of the cash at market value and do what we like with the money.  We have decided to do that, and then take the money to repair the car.  We both really like it!  Then we will put the money into our savings account so it's there just in case we have any expensive car repairs in the future.

I probably should have blogged about the car accident before now, but I was so embarrassed that I did it.  It's always been Martin who destroyed our cars in the past.  He was pretty mad at me when I did it, but it was on a Sunday and he'd just got done teaching a Primary lesson about forgiveness.  Lucky for me, huh?

Anyway, I can't wait to get the car fixed.  And I'm going to see about getting an eye test and maybe some new glasses.  I think my depth perception is a little bit off.  Either that or I REALLY shouldn't drive if I'm even a little bit tired.  But that would be bad news, because I'd never be able to go anywhere!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Medical news...

As suspected, Edith officially does NOT have von Willebrand's disease.

Just thought I'd let everybody know.

Oh, and by the way, she loves to shop!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A few of my favorite things--in the garden...

This is my favorite!


We lived with this mess for a few days, but it has to get worse before it can get better--right?

Totally worth it!

Bizarrely, this is my favorite part of the whole tiling job.  The tiny step up from the piano room into the kitchen used to be broken, exposed concrete.  Now it is a lovely little tiled step, and it looks immeasurably better.

Dining room is next.  Ugh--I'm really not looking forward to the work and mess involved there.  But the tiles look so beautiful.

They are travertine, a form of limestone.  The best bit is, it was nearly free.  We saved our Tesco clubcard vouchers and traded them in for triple their value at Topps Tiles.  And the travertine tiles, along with being my favorite tiles in the place, were cheaper than ceramic.  I'm all about natural materials.

A (parenting) match made in heaven...

Dylan is a cute kid, but he could really be a nightmare if I'd let him.

I am not a super-mom.  I make mistakes, and plenty of them.  But there is one thing that I always do right, no matter what.  I say what I mean and I mean what I say.  From day one with my children I have tried my hardest to be consistent in both praise and punishment.  And I have never backed down from a punishment I have threatened, even when it ends up making things harder for me.

My son is fond of testing his boundaries.  He likes to push his limits to find out just what he can get away with.  And I won't let him get away with anything.  Because if I let him, he would be completely out of control.

I guess what I'm saying is, I may not be the best mother in the world, but I am the best mother in the world for HIM.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Edith will be the same way, though she is still a bit more biddable than he is.  Wow, things are NOT going to be fun at my house in about 10 years.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A pleasant surprise...

Martin finally took the hideous gas heater out of the dining room.  I've been wanting it gone for about 3 years, and it only took 15 minutes to get it done.  And, when we took it off, we discovered that opening up the fireplace was going to be a much easier job than we thought.

The people who installed the heater (which my dad tells me is a non-vented heater) didn't even bother blocking up the fireplace.  They just put up some truly hideous brick, installed some faux hearthstones, and whacked the heater on top.  So we already have an open fireplace.  We just need to chip out the ugly old bricks and install the fire surround we have out in the back garden (Martin bought it off somebody for about £20, and it's a cast iron fire surround!).  Oh, and have the chimney swept, but apparently that only costs about a tenner to have done.  We will have a proper fireplace in our dining room, which I am pretty jazzed about.  Now we will just have to find a source for firewood.  Martin's parents use coal in their fireplace, but I much prefer a wood fire.  And I'll have to learn about proper fireplace maintenance, as well.

There's something kind of primitave about having an open fire in the house that really appeals to me.  And it's in the back room of the oldest part of the house, so it's a massive fireplace that was probably used for cooking on at one point.  Nice to know that if the world as we know it ended tomorrow, I would be able to do some cooking for the family in our house.

I sort of like to think about that sometimes.  What would we do if civilization as we know it ended tomorrow and we were thrown back to the middle ages?  I'm a total freak about post-apocalyptic fiction and am (slightly) obsessed with learning how to do things like hand sewing, mending, preserving food, gardening, etc.  Just in case, you know?  A little bit crazy, but part of my charm.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

This doesn't happen very often...

Sunday was a rough day for me.  I'd been sick all week and taking care of the kids by myself.  I hadn't had much sleep the night before.  In my tired and weakened state, I went to a Sunday School lesson about Christ in the garden of Gethsemane and I was a little bit emotional.

We read one of my favorite scriptures of all time:  Luke 22: 41-42

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

It took me back to a time when I relied on this scripture a lot.

It seems like forever ago, but it's only been 7 years.  After 2 years of trying to conceive and feeling like a failure as a woman, I got pregnant.  It was one of the happiest days of my life, and from the second I found out about the pregnancy, it was a baby.  No blastocyte, embryo or fetus.  Baby.

I kept my news to myself until I was 10 weeks, and just two days before my first doctor's appointment I finally told a few family members.  Then I went to see my doctor and he did a dating ultrasound.  I will remember that moment for the rest of my life, because my womb was completely empty.  I felt like my heart was ripped out of my body.

Turns out that it was an ectopic pregnancy.  And in my case, the doctor believed that my body had already miscarried but some of the tissue was attached to my fallopian tube and was still growing.  I didn't have to have surgery, but I did need to have a "termination."

So a few days later, once we had confirmed that there was no viable pregnancy, I drove myself down to the local cancer clinic to have the methotrexate injections that would abort my unborn child.  I remember lying in bed the night before my appointment, praying.  I wondered how I could possibly go through with it.  I begged and pleaded with God for things to be different.  I cried until I didn't have any tears left.  But I remembered that scripture in Luke, and it gave me courage and strength.  To know that Jesus, the only person to lead a sinless life, also had to do something that he didn't want to do was such a comfort.  That He had the grace to submit himself to the will of his Father was a lesson.  And actually being able to go to the clinic and have the injections felt like a miracle.  I cried the whole time, but I did it.

I still think about my almost-baby every time Dylan celebrates his birthday, and remember that I should have a child who is 2 years older.  But it is without any bitterness.  Just a little bit of sadness and regret.  Because I know that I'm not the only person to face something that seemed too hard to do.  And I know that the experience made me stronger and made me appreciate motherhood even more.

Our wonderful teacher in Sunday School apologized for pointing out Jesus' "weakness," but to me, that brief plea to do things another way if possible is one of the most beautiful parts of the atonement.  As Christians, we celebrate the divinity of Jesus Christ all the time.  But I like to dwell on his humanity every once in a while.  I love knowing that He felt exactly like I felt, because I knew that I wasn't alone on that day.

I'm still crying about it.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Domestic goddess, me?

So I was talking to my Yankee friend Amy the other day about stain removal (yes, my life really is that boring).  She said that her mother swore by pouring hot water from a height to remove fruit juice stains.  I was skeptical, but didn't say so at the time.

Well, today Edith was wearing a beautiful little sundress that Noelle made--green and white checked gingham with a halter neck and little white pockets.  We passed a cherry tree on our walk home from Dylan's school, and it had ripe cherries on it.  I gave one to Edith, and she dribbled cherry juice all down the front of herself.





When we got home, I took the dress off her and put her down for a nap.  Then I came downstairs and put the kettle on.  I took the clothes off the washing line and did a few other little jobs.  Then I held that dress over the kitchen sink, took a deep breath, fought the inner voices that were telling me to pre-treat with chemicals and NOT set the stain with heat, held the kettle about 12 inches away from the dress, and poured.

What do you know, that cherry juice came right out!

The dress is drying on the washing line, and ready for Edith to put it back on when she wakes up.

I'll have to tell Amy that her mother's tip worked a treat.

I definitely won't be avoiding conversations about stain removal, either.