Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Edith the pixie

So today Dylan decided he wanted to be the new Nicki Clarke, and Edith got to be his first model. However, I don't think he should settle for this career path just yet, as he really only got a few clumps in very random places, down to about a 1/4 inch. He also decided to do this whilst we were in bed, so you can imagine our faces when we discovered Dylans efforts. Overjoyed is not the word!

So, a trip to CV day spa followed, and some wonderful work by the young lady who works there. Now here is the result:

Martin is responsible for the words above. Here's my take:

Every time I look at Edith I simultaneously want to cry about her hair and beat Dylan for doing it to her. She looks like she's been scalped, and it will take six months (minimum) before she starts to look like a little girl again. I'm furious!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I'm sitting here alone in my front room feeling all sick and sorry for myself. Then I think of my amazing brother-in-law Blaine and realize that I ought to stop feeling sorry for myself. It's just a little asthma attack. Boo hoo. And it's getting better too. But the healing process seems to be more painful than the actual attack sometimes, with the clearing of the airways and the headache from overdosing/coming off the medication.

Christmas was an amazing day. Seriously, it was so good this year. The kids were well behaved and reasonably un-whiny. Church was good and brief. The gifts were thoughtful and appreciated. The food was amazing. The company was delightful. The only downside was my cold, which effectively masked my asthma attack until we left my in-laws' house. I hadn't realized it was that bad until it was too late. But I'm glad we went there anyway, because we had a fantastic time.

My saintly mother-in-law borrowed a carpet cleaner and they cleaned all their downstairs carpets before we came over. Then they "hoovered" the floor every day until Christmas. The dog was banished to the back room. Her efforts were really appreciated, and it really did help. I was glad to be at hers, eating an amazing Christmas dinner off her good china. Laurie (and Cathy) did all the cooking, and it was a perfect meal. I contributed the Christmas pudding, panettone bread and butter pudding, mince pies, and a cheeseball.

Please see Facebook for more photos, but here are a few highlights:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wow, it's nearly here!

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. The day that I look forward to even more than Christmas since we moved to England. Dark at 3:30pm is just plain pants, but the days will all get longer from here on out!

I seriously can't believe that Christmas is almost here. I'm not stressing about it--I'm totally ready for it, actually. The gifts are all wrapped, the Christmas pudding is waiting in the cupboard, the mincemeat is maturing. Christmas eve is going to be chilled out and all about making the front room look magical. And cleaning the rest of the house so I'm not grumpy and stressed out on the day.

We've had a really nice week. Dylan's last day at school was Tuesday. Martin had the day off on Wednesday, which was nice. Yesterday we drove over to Penistone (near Sheffield) to visit Noelle in her new house. We made gingerbread houses, and had a wonderful time. Today we are having a birthday lunch for my mother-in-law. Her birthday is on the 25th, and sharing a birthday with Jesus means she doesn't get much of a birthday celebration. We're hoping she'll consent to opening her presents early, so we can celebrate HER instead of Christmas, but that remains to be seen. Then tomorrow the kids and I will be taking our turn to clean the church, baking mince pies and the Mundays (minus Lewis, who is working) will be joining us for a Christmas Eve feast of pizza and oven chips.

Christmas day is going to be busy, as well. Of course, there is the whole opening gifts thing. We'll have Skype up so Grandma Cook can watch the gift orgy. Then we're off for a short church service, and over to the Gilbert grandparents' house for lunch and even more gifts. Whew--I can hardly wait for boxing day. We have nothing planned, so Martin and I can just spend some time together relaxing. We both need it pretty bad. Especially Martin, who has been working 60+ hours a week in the run-up to Christmas. It seems like the whole town have been eating, drinking, and being merry at Stables. He hasn't been home before midnight all month. Bless him!

So there's the schedule and update. Loving this busy time--can't wait to see everyone open their gifts on Sunday. But the thing I'm most looking forward to is Martin's week off work next month. It's so nice when I actually get to have my husband at home and all to myself!

Monday, December 19, 2011


And these ones are definitely for the better.

Last year, Cathy and I took the kids swimming in Cleethorpes. Edith ran away from me instead of jumping back in the pool when I lifted her out, and I wasn't near a ladder. I tried to lift myself out of the pool where I was, but I couldn't do it. OUCH!

This morning, I swam laps instead of doing my lower body blast at the gym (feeling a bit under the weather). Mid-way through my 45 minute session, I decided to do a little experiment. Guess what--my upper body strength is now good enough that I can lift myself out of the pool.

I was also unable, just a few months ago, to swim across the pool underwater. My lung capacity was so bad that I could barely make it half way. Now I can go all the way across with breath to spare.

I like that my body is starting to be capable of doing all I ask of it again. Especially because I am starting to actually be demanding.

I'm looking forward to January, when I can be all self-righteous with the New Years Resolution gym members. Hah--I've been coming at least three times a week for the past year, you slackers! Try to keep up :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a two-year-old in the house...

Edith has finally realized that she is two, and should therefore be acting "terrible."

Boy, when this child makes up her mind about something she doesn't do it by half. Overnight she has turned into a screaming, tantrum-throwing little harridan! We have spent so much of the past two days (and nights, as well) butting heads that I no longer even want to look at her, let alone allow her to sit on my lap or have a cuddle.

The "fun" reached it's peak at 3:30 this morning, when she woke up and started screaming that she wanted to go downstairs. After an unfruitful attempt to get her to go back to sleep, I took her downstairs and deposited her with very little ceremony on the sofa in the dark. I then informed her that the rest of the family were going to sleep (she having rudely awakened all of us) and that she should tell me when she was ready to go back to bed.

10 minutes of screaming later, she told me she wanted to go back to bed.

We didn't hear a peep out of her for the rest of the night. Not until Dylan woke her up at about 7:30am, at which point she promptly started moaning and whining again, and pretty much hasn't stopped all day.

I still remember nearly every moment of my labor with Dylan and Edith both, but I had rather mercifully blocked out how awful the terrible twos can be. This kind of seals the deal--I do not want to have to do this again with another child. I am done.

Now I just hope that Edith is as well!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A new look...

I took Edith to Frenchy's today to get her first "proper" haircut.

I also took her to Frenchy's to get her very first ever haircut--just her bangs.

Man, that girl loves being in a beauty salon!

You should have seen her--my wriggly little two-and-a-half year old, perched on that seat for 20 minutes while she not only got her hair bobbed and her bangs trimmed, but also had it round-brushed dry.

She looks so sweet. I'm hoping that when Martin reads this post he will post one of the pictures he took of her (hint hint). She doesn't look like a baby any more. She looks like a big girl now. It makes my heart swell with pride to see her becoming so independent and grown up, at the exact same time that my heart breaks to say goodbye to my little baby.

In other news, Dylan is doing better about Patches. He can talk about him without bursting into tears now, which is a relief. Weirdly, I seem to be the one who is having the hardest time coping. I keep expecting to see him waiting at the window for me to let him in the house. I keep thinking that I'll give him the milk the kids didn't drink at breakfast. I keep looking at his favorite chair, expecting to see him curled up there. Then I remember that he's died, and I get all sad again. I can't stop thinking about his poor broken little body, buried out behind the house in the cold instead of curled up and purring at the foot of my bed, keeping my feet warm while we wait for Martin to come home.

I've had pets before, and lost pets before. We only had Patches for a few months. But he was such a lovely cat, and I honestly miss him more than any other cat I've ever had. I keep thinking about all the things I could have done to keep the accident from happening. I keep hoping that it wasn't him--that another cat who looked a lot like him died that night. I don't know why it's so hard this time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Goodbye, Patches...

We rewarded Dylan's very good behavior at school lately with a trip to the cinema to watch "Puss In Boots," and had a wonderful time. But when we got home, disaster struck.

Patches ran in front of a car just as we were getting the kids out. He died almost instantly.

Martin put his body behind the retaining wall of the house next door so we could get the kids in the house and decide how to deal with the situation. We decided that it would be best to just tell them the truth, and boy was it difficult!

Edith was pretty oblivious, but Dylan was heartbroken. We took them out to see his body and stroke him one last time (there was no blood). Then we buried him out back, said what we would miss about him, and said a prayer. Dylan was sobbing the whole time, and he didn't stop until we put him to bed.

We'll all miss our little cat.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Hooray for English weather!

December 2006

December 2011

Both of these photos were taken before heading down to the Lincoln Christmas Market. I am SO happy that I live in a cold, gray, humid country sometimes!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Moving on...

Yesterday was a beautiful day.

Ok, so the day itself wasn't that great. Dylan's school was closed, so both kids were home with me all day. I spent the whole day either cooking or cleaning, and tackled the mending pile once the kids had gone to bed. But the nature of the cleaning job was fantastic.

It's official--the kids' toys have all been moved up to their bedroom!


I've been looking forward to this day since the moment I discovered I was expecting a second baby and realized my children would only be 19 months apart.

I told the kids we had to get rid of some toys or Santa wouldn't be able to bring them any new ones for Christmas. They were surprisingly helpful and accommodating after that.

Another great thing about yesterday is that I took all of the unwanted stuff to the charity shop. I got rid of a lot of stuff!

I struggle against myself all the time. My mother is a hoarder-big style. Seriously, yo! I've seen the way her garage and bedroom have filled up over the years, and the way it spills over into the house.

My design aesthetic is more, um, sparse. Pretty much, I like my house to look ever so slightly like nobody lives in it. That hasn't been possible for the past 4 years. We're on our way there now!

So I want to get rid of all the "extra" stuff, but I've seen the way that holding onto stuff can come in handy. I've watched my mom go to the garage or the laundry room and pull something out of a box that is EXACTLY right for a last minute project.

I want to have all the benefits of a hoarder, but none of the mess.

So what does this mean? It means I am currently trying to organize everything. And quickly, before this mood goes away!