Thursday, December 20, 2012

Forget Christmas,

TOMORROW is the hap-happiest day of the year. Why? Two words for you...


This is the day of the year that I look forward to all Autumn, ever since we moved to England. It's the shortest day of the year, with the sun rising after 8 am and setting about 3:30 pm. After tomorrow, the days start getting longer again. And that is a serious reason to rejoice!

The Christmas tree is finally up, and Edith had a great time decorating it. Dylan was more interested in jumping off the furniture and whining. The house is beginning to look a bit festive.

The kids have had their Christmas plays at school this week. They've also had their Christmas parties and will be doing a carol service at St. Mary's church tomorrow. It's the ward Christmas party tomorrow, too. It's been a very busy couple of weeks!

Edith is actually in bed right now, taking one of her very rare naps. She came home from school crying and exhausted, and climbed straight into bed without even having lunch. Poor baby--I hope she's not sick for Christmas.

The holidays are always difficult for me. Martin works very long hours, so I miss him. And I always think of my family back in Utah, and I miss them, too. December is really just a month to be gotten through, and January is the month to be enjoyed. Especially this coming January, as Martin will be taking a week off work. Hooray! But I'll do my best to make it magical for the children. And I AM loving the smell of fresh pine and those lovely cinnamon ornaments I made last year.

Time to clean the house. I don't want to be embarrassed by this mess if the world ends tomorrow!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I am once more medicated and calm.

How sad, that it took a return to (totally legal) drugs to get that way, but it's still a relief.

My therapist says I shouldn't feel guilty about taking medication for depression. She says it's no different than taking antibiotics for a chest infection. It's just that the symptoms aren't as visible. And I see the logic-I really do. But the social stigma of being a "Prozac Mommy" is still there, and a big part of me feels that my inability to get out of bed in the morning and function normally is a personal weakness, not an illness.

I'm sure we'll work on that as part of my CBT.

Had a really good session this week, which will be discussed in detail on my other blog.

(Incidentally, it's a shame that it's private, because I feel like some of my best writing goes on over there and this blog is suffering as a result. Martin could tell me if that's true, as he reads the other one. Well, baby?)

I just wanted to talk about one aspect of the session, which was all about significant people in my life and how they've affected me.

Top of the list is my wonderful husband, Martin.

I still find it funny that my family didn't approve of Martin at first. They were so upset that I was marrying outside of our faith, but I don't think they really understand how much they owe that man!

My life before I met Martin was a shambles. I was all over the place spiritually. I was totally messed up emotionally and sexually. I was engaging in all sorts of risky behavior with completely sociopathic people. My friends were the party animals, doing Class A drugs before going out and engaging in all manner of debauchery. I partied with them, and I thought I was happy.

Then I started talking to this beautiful English boy at a bonfire one night--a three day rave thrown out in the National Forest by an ex-boyfriend of mine. He was gorgeous, and he was intelligent and passionate about music. And I was definitely interested. I gave him a ride home that night, and discovered that he was also fairly responsible--he left early because he had to be at work the next morning.

When we were formally introduced a few days later by a mutual friend, I liked him even more. When he stood me up for our first date, I liked him slightly less. But when he made it up to me by cooking me dinner and doing the dishes afterwards, I was in deep smit.

I knew on our second date that I could happily spend the rest of my life with Martin. We just clicked, and became practically inseperable. And because he was only 20 and couldn't go out to my usual stomping grounds, we stayed in. I stopped hanging out with my reprobate friends in bars. I started watching movies and cooking dinners with my boyfriend. We went shopping and to the cinema. We went for long drives out in the forest. Basically, we had a normal relationship. And I discovered, through Martin, that I was actually happier living that kind of lifestyle, though I'd actively scorned it for years. From day one we were like an old married couple, and it was sweet and wonderful. It was comfortable and comforting. It was also blissful and exciting.

We only spent six weeks together, and those six weeks were the happiest ones of my life--at least up until then. When it was time for him to go back to England, we nearly drove to Vegas and got married instead of to the airport in Phoenix. Believe me, I wanted to.

I drove home after we said our goodbyes, and I cried most of the way. I tried to go out with my old friends that night, but it wasn't the same. In fact, I tried to go out with them almost every night for the next month. But it wasn't fun any more. Id had a taste of another kind of life, a life that I hadn't dared to dream of since I was 17 years old, and I wanted more.

So I bought a phone card, applied for my first passport, and got a plane ticket to England. And the rest is history.

I told all of this to Deborah, including the fact that even after 11 years of marriage there is still no-one else on earth I'd rather be with, and she smiled. Then she said something to me that really summed it all up:

"I guess you could say that he saved you."

And that, in a nut shell, is it. Martin saved me. He saved me from the path of self-distruction that I was on. He brought me back from the brink of personal disaster. He planted my feet firmly on the path of happiness and stability. He rescued me from myself, and brought me back to myself at the same time. I guess that's why I love him so much, and why I always will. Because he loved me enough for both of us until I could love myself again.

I am so blessed to have Martin in my life. He is so beautiful, inside and out. Never have I known such a naturally kind and giving person, and he is my husband and the father of my children! How did I get so lucky?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

An answer to my unspoken prayer...

Had a hard session with Debbie today, and a rough couple of weeks in advance of it.

I started taking my happy drugs again, but they haven't kicked in yet. This evening was looking pretty grim. I was actually curled up on my bed, hiding from my children because I didn't think I could be in the same room as them without being mean, when my mother-in-law rang. She'd just finished at the dentist and wanted to drop by.

She could see that I'd had a rough day, so she helped me do my dinner dishes, then she stayed and helped me until the kids were in bed.

She was my angel tonight.

I am so blessed to be a Gilbert.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A little perspective

Yesterday was an interesting day.

I did my grocery shopping while Edith was at school, and I was in a bit of a hurry. I'd left Martin home in bed, and I knew he wouldn't get up in time for work if I didn't wake him up.

I made it through Tesco in record time, and picked the checkout line with a mom and her young kid. I figured she'd be in a hurry.


She'd let her son open up a package of pies and eat one, and he'd ripped the bar code up. An employee had to go get a new one so they could scan it through. Then she finally got her total, and she didn't have enough money with her. So she had to take things out of her bags until she had enough cash to pay for her groceries.

I stood behind her, eyes on the clock, getting more and more frustrated. Then I remembered the lesson I'd taught the day before in Relief Society, "Consider the Blessings." And instead of getting angry about the delay, I remembered the times I was in the same situation. And instead of being mad, I felt blessed to have enough money that I was able to fill my shopping trolley up with the things our family needed and not worry about having to put stuff back at the till.

I started my counseling yesterday. It went well, I think. I got a little bit stressed out before my appointment, worrying that I was wasting time and NHS resources. I've managed just fine for all these years, and I wonder if I'm really that bad off. But when I spoke to Debbie (the clinical psychologist) and started opening up to her about things from my (slightly sordid) past, I could see her eyes filling with tears for me. And I knew I wasn't wasting her time, or mine. This is necessary for me. I need to talk about the things that I've kept hidden for so long. I need to understand, to come to terms with my past so that I can move forward.

The main thing that came out of yesterday's appointment is that I am going to go back on Prozac for a little while. The last few weeks have been really hard. I'm not losing my temper with the kids too much, though I have been slightly snappish. I've actually been, ugh, depressed. Like, hiding in my bedroom unable to get out of bed depressed. I wanted to be off the happy drugs, but I'm just not ready yet. The goal is still to not be dependent on chemicals for my happiness, but I need that extra help still. I don't want to go back to how I was before I started taking the meds. That was a bad situation.

Today was a better day, actually. Being stuck in the house has been driving me nuts, so I picked Edith up from school and took her shopping. I had gift vouchers for New Look that I got last year for Christmas, and I spent them. I got some new jeans, a lovely sweater dress, and some accessories. And I only spent £.98 of my own money. Edith is a great shopping buddy--she loves to try on shoes and necklaces. She loves to spend time with me. I hope that never changes.

Basically though, I just decided to have a better day. Sometimes, it really is a question of making that decision.

Kids being adorable...

Halloween pictures, for slackers like me...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why I wish I was back in Utah for Thanksgiving...

My dad sent this e-mail through a few days ago:

We are just putting the menu together, we still have a few holes to fill.
Ham- ?
Potatoes/gravy Neil/Sharlene
Rolls- Neil/Sharlene
Cranberries Neil/Sharlene
Green Salad- Velecia/Eric
Stuffing- Angie/Greg
Yams- Krystle/Blaine
Cheeseball- Neil Sharlene
Crackers- Krystle/Blaine
Fruit Salad- ?
Relish Tray- ShaNeil/Russell
Apple Pie- Angie/Greg
Deswert- Velecia/Eric
Pumpkin Pie- ?
Paper Products- ?

Here's my list:

Ham-Not enough people attending to necessitate
Rolls-not bothering, since father in law won't eat bread
Green Salad-what, in winter?
Stuffing-Jamie (home-made stovetop since Stouffer's isn't available in England)
Cheeseball-why bother? It's just dinner
Crackers-see above
Fruit Salad-crap, hadn't thought about that. Jamie? Might have to run to the shops!
Relish Tray-see cheeseball
Apple Pie-nope
Dessert-Jamie (pecan pie)
Pumpkin Pie-Jamie (once again, made from scratch as canned pumpkin is not available)
Paper Products-puhleeze! I will be doing all the dishes afterwards.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother, but then I remember that my children are half American, and I want them to celebrate that fact.

Happy Holidays, y'all!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Erm, yeah...

Nothing clever is coming to me, but I've been neglecting Gilbert's Fridge for so long now!

I guess I could talk about Edith--my little budding artist. She's started drawing instead of just scribbling. Her monsters are quite terrifying. Today she was drawing spiders for me. She drew a skull, too. She's amazingly good for a 3 year old, though perhaps a touch macabre. It's especially nice to see her takng an interest in drawing because Dylan was so NOT interested in writing or drawing. I hope she got a little bit of her mom and dad's artistic ability.

The kids and I did yoga together tonight. Nothing hard-core, just on Wii Fit. We did "Warrior" and "Tree," and they were both amazing. Then we did some hula-hooping, ski jumping, snowball fighting and bubble bursting. Dylan was sobbing that he didn't want to do it. He is so afraid of failure, and he freaks out when his little Mii is hurt or injured. I'm somewhat afraid that this will be crippling for him later in life, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I've filled holes in damaged plaster and touched up the paint in the front room. We need to hang some pictures and then the living room is as done as I want it to be. For now :) I'd really love to have the sofa re-upholstered, but that's probably not going to happen.

Christmas presents are going to take priority for a while, so the home improvements will have to wait. I'm still feeling fairly ambitions with the projects. Lost a BIT of momentum, but not too much. For instance, today I defrosted my fridge so I could repair the ice compartment. Which I did. With a golf tee, a rawl plug, a screw, and my own bare wit. Awesome!

Such a rock and roll lifestyle :)

Thursday, November 08, 2012


I spoke to the Poesis team today about my counselling. I have been referred to the care of a clinical psychologist. That was surprising to me. Apparently, the therapist I was seeing before didn't feel qualified enough to deal with my issues. Wow. I must be even more messed up than I thought.

It's funny how you just suck it up and get on with things for years without really noticing lots of stuff. Then you start to think about the past and really analyze it, and all of a sudden the weird things you do start to make sense. The strange moods become clear. The quirks become understandable.

Martin told me that I think too much, and that I should start doing puzzles.

Oh, I love my husband :)

So I will start seeing a shrink on the 26th of November. I'm actually really looking forward to it. I know it sounds crazy, but talking about all of the things that I've kept bottled up inside for all these years is amazing. It's like lancing a festering boil. All of this vile, poisonous crap is coming out. It leaves me feeling totally drained, but in a good way. Breaking my silence is so liberating.

Enough about me. Let's talk about my kids!

We had a parent teacher conference yesterday with Ms. Clayton, Dylan's teacher. It was really good. He is doing well in almost every single area. She had nothing but praise for his reading, spelling, and vocabulary. He is keeping up quite well in his maths, but she said that he's so advanced in his other areas that being average seems like he's behind. But he's not. The only area that he's struggling in is writing. He's keen, but his grip on his pen is weird. She showed us how he holds his pen, and he's writing like a lefty. But because he's right handed, it means he can't see what he's writing.

I asked how he was doing socially, and even that was a glowing report. Ms. Clayton said that Dylan is doing great socially. He is apparently very popular and always has friends to sit with and play with and is never lacking for a partner when they work in teams. AWESOME!

Edith helped me make bread and coleslaw today. That girl is going to be a fantastic cook when she grows up. She already knows all the ingredients that go into coleslaw. She's got such a good memory, and she is incredibly observant. She was really grumpy tonight, but her behavior has been much better lately. She's been sweet and kind more than she's been whiny.

In house news, I have nearly finished working on the bathroom. I have one small corner to plaster and paint, the ceiling to re-paint, and then that's it. Last night I patched some plaster and painted. This morning Martin helped me hang a few things on the walls. It's looking really good in there. I just need to get some new bath mats and a new shower curtain and the bathroom will be in great shape.

Martin got the extra door out front painted. There's just a bit of trim to paint white, some render to patch, and the hardware to fit. The front of the house is looking seriously good.

The DIY stuff is keeping me busy. It's such a good way of taking some control of my life. I can't make someone buy my house, but I CAN make sure it looks amazing and is more desirable to a potential buyer. Every time I work on the house, I feel like I'm taking a step closer to moving back to Utah!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

We did it!

We made it through the half term holidays without any melt downs.The kids started back to school on Monday. The house was so quiet after we dropped them off. Bliss.

The kids were actually really good. And we had a good time, all things considered. Helped enormously by my in-laws having them over on Friday night...

Dylan and I had a particularly awesome moment on Saturday. It was a hard day for me. I was having a hard time keeping it together,and we had errands to run. So I told Dylan and Edith that if they cleaned their bedroom I would give them 50p each to spend at the sweets stall on the market. I told them explicitly what needed to be done, then I cleaned the kitchen and left them to it.

Once the kitchen was cleaned, I went upstairs to check their work. And let me tell you, that bedroom was immaculate. So I called Dylan down, and he crept into the bedroom. He looked a little bit scared, so when I gave him a big hug and told him he had done an amazing job, his little face just lit up. I told him how proud of him I was, and how pleased I was with the job that he had done. And when I handed him his money, he looked so pleased with himself that he was about to burst!

It was a totally amazing parenting moment, and it shook me out of my 2 day depression. I felt that I must be doing something right, and that moment with Dylan helped me make it to Sunday (and Martin's day off) and then to Monday and the return of my child-free time.

Man, I love those kids. I hope I'm doing right by them!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Sometimes, I like having children who are ok with the following conversation...

"Kids, you know I love you, right?"


"You know that you make me very happy, right?"


"I'm used to both of you being at school now, and you didn't have school today, did you?"


"I didn't get any 'Mommy time' today, so I'm feeling a bit cross and cranky. It's nothing you did. I just need some 'Mommy time.' Can you be my big helpers by going to bed REALLY well tonight?"


"Ok, good. I love you."

'Love you, too.'

And then they went to bed, no questions asked.

Quite a successful first day of the school holidays. It also involved shopping and making fun Halloween crafts. Awesome!


Been working hard on the house. Here is the result in the piano room. Any suggestions on how to take it up one more notch?

In school uniforms, feeding the ducks at Water's Edge.

She's my tiny dancer!

Halloween disco!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ladies who Lunch...

Took Edith in for lunch at Stables today, because we had to walk to the garage and deliver the part for our car repair after I picked her up from school. Long walk lugging heavy automotive parts:(

Anyway, Edith and I had a brilliant lunch. She had an omelette and chips. I had a chicken and chorizo burger--bliss! Edith also had some vanilla icecream, and she was really well behaved the whole time.

There was a table full of old ladies right next to us, and they were hilarious. They had a long discussion about which table they wanted to sit at (light and vision issues). They discussed all the menu items one at a time with each other (vision issues again). I loved listening to them trying to pronounce the Italian words. Then they ordered, changing nearly every dish they ordered. When their food came out, one of them helped another cut her food (joint pain). They were so considerate of each others' needs and limitations, and they were having a great time.

I want to be that kind of old lady, and I want to have friends like that. Just not for quite a few more years.

The car should be fixed this afternoon, thank goodness. I miss our car! We live so close to the bus and train station, but the schedules are so limiting. Our little Seat is freedom to me, and I hate feeling trapped in Barton.

I have another therapy session tomorrow, so fingers crossed that I don't have to take the bus to get to it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Blog

Those of you who occasionally look at my Google profile may have noticed that I'm starting a new blog. It's a record of my progress in therapy, which I started yesterday.

So what is my therapy for? Nearly 16 years ago I was raped by my boyfriend. I then stayed with him for quite some time, for several very messed up reasons, and my life has never been the same. My therapy is for PTSD, and I will be delving into and dealing with all of the issues, including sexual issues, that resulted from this event and certain events that followed.

It's going to be a private blog, because it is for ME! Journals aren't really my thing, but blogs are. I will invite people to view it if they want to and I am ok with them, but I felt like I should put up a few disclaimers. So here goes:

This isn't going to be some fluffy little blog about how my kids are adorable/annoying and the neighbors are driving me nuts. This is going to be pretty hard-core. With that in mind, all potential readers should be aware that...

1) I will not be censoring my language. If you can't deal with it, don't read it. Don't even ask.

2) I will not be editing my experiences that are discussed in therapy (as above--this blog is for ME). I'm tired of hiding a whole lot of things, and I need to get them off my chest. For that reason, my parents probably won't be invited to read it any time soon. Love you, Mom.

3) A lot of my issues stem from family dynamics. I ADORE my family--all of them--and any issues that I have are MY fault, but I will probably say some things that may be hurtful. If you don't think you can handle reading them, don't read it! Just know that I love you all and think you are all completely wonderful.

I'm not looking for any sympathy. I'm looking for a way to finally move past this stuff and start living my life more fully and without the use of some pretty horrible coping mechanisms I've developed over the years. It's not going to be pretty, but it's going to be beneficial to me. If you feel like you'd like to come with me on my new journey, feel free to send me a message. I'll be posting probably weekly after each therapy session, and I'll also be posting some back story stuff. It'll start this weekend.

This is going to be dark and a little bit scary, but it could be interesting. And who knows? It could end up helping someone other than just me.

Let the healing begin.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Coming down...

I'm being weaned off my happy pills.


It's not as bad as I thought it would be, if I'm honest. But I've become accustomed to controlling my anger and depression with ease, and I'm having to work at it again.

It's probably not helping that I'm sitting in bed right now listening to my iTunes playlist that I've named "pity party."

Maybe I should go downstairs and watch some crappy sit-com on telly. Hmmm...

Took the kids to the Halloween Disco at the school this evening. Dylan went as a pirate (his Power Rangers costume didn't arrive on time) and Edith was, naturally, a princess. It was a very boring hour and a half, but it was really fun to watch my kids getting down. They love to dance, and they have some awesome moves. Dylan attends an after school wake and shake club so he learns some moves there. Edith is just a naturally gifted dancer and a born mimic.

As always, it amazed me how stunning my daughter is when I put a tiny bit of mascara on her. And let me tell you, Dylan would make a beautiful girl. My children are so gorgeous that it hurts sometimes.

I started my newest therapy last week, and I have another session on Friday. The first session was hard, because it was an evaluation with a new therapist and so I had to talk about some pretty personal stuff with a total stranger. But it was still good. I felt drained afterwards, but lightened as well. It's amazing how opening your mouth and talking about stuff really helps. I've always wondered if it would. I kind of thought that it might make it worse, dredging up the past. But I think I have to stir things up in order to get past them. More on this later--I'm waiting for my husband to proof-read a post for me. He's pretty busy (and very forgetful) :)

Our car is in the shop. One of our belts snapped, but it's not a simple fix. Some housing snapped (I think--little hazy on the technical details) and it's going to be pretty expensive to fix. Luckily, we don't really need a car for anything other than church and my sanity. Hopefully it will be fixed by Wednesday. It happened while we were out on Saturday, but luckily we have breakdown cover. The nice AA man towed us from Normanby Hall to Barton. And at least we were stranded for 2 hours at a lovely place with plenty for the kids to do and a cafe to get them snacks at. It could have been worse.

I just thought of something that'll give me a little pick-me-up. I'm going to touch up my roots and freshen up my red dye job. Nothing perks me up quite so much as a new hair color.

Not quite a natural high, but better than drugs, right?

Pictures are coming, mom. My camera is in my car :(

Friday, October 12, 2012


Doing that asthma attack thing right now, so no DIY has been done for a few days. I'm worried that I will lose my momentum...

Stuff is getting done, though. My piano room is still spotless, for a start.

The kitchen window now has a cute little yellow gingham valance and some home-made artwork. The door has been painted, and about half of my cupboards have been cleared out and organized.

The bathroom walls have been about 90% stripped of artex, and most of it has been re-painted. Just needs a second coat, but I don't want to risk the fumes with my lungs acting up.

The dining room has been deep cleaned, and the mirror re-finished.

My bedroom has been re-arranged and deep cleaned.

The kids' bedroom closet has been half cleaned (the top half).

Loads of stuff has been taken to the charity shop. Loads of stuff has been taken to the tip. Tons of half-finished projects have been finished.

Wow, I'm tired. So let's not mention how much work still has to be done.

In other news, I am in the process of coming off my happy drugs. So far, so good. I'm reducing my dosage slowly, and haven't had any negative side effects yet. The kids haven't been screamed at, and I can still get out of bed in the morning.

I've also had my referral letter through for trauma counselling, and I have confirmed that I want to have the sessions. I should be meeting with a new therapist within the month. Let the healing begin!

Dylan and Edith are doing really well in school. Dylan was even named "Student of the Week," for trying hard in maths even when he is struggling. They are learning number sentences. They are also getting so tall now, and eating us out of house and home. We took them out on their scooters tonight, and they were both amazing! Even Dylan is finally getting some coordination. Hooray!

Martin is currently my hero. He's working long hours, and still helping me work on the house. We've painted the front white, and he's repaired some of the rotten wood work. He helped his dad install an electrical socket on our landing, so the tumble drier is OUT of the kids' room. He's fixed the toilet in the kids' bathroom, as well. He's so amazing. I married such a great man.

So that's the update. Lots of stuff going on, but nothing really exciting.

Except that my lovely sister-in-law just got engaged. That's REALLY exciting.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


When I die, I don't want to end up in heaven. Instead, I'd like to end up in one of those tiny IKEA mock apartments that still manage to look spacious and chic. But it would be nice if the plumbing and electrical appliances worked...

Took the kids to IKEA today, which pretty much IS my idea of heaven now that they are both old enough for the creche. Seriously, yo. A whole HOUR to myself on a Saturday--my most challenging day of the week? And I get to be shopping for it? It totally makes the hour and fifteen minute drive there worth it--being pestered for McDonalds and all!

The kids and I have had a lovely day. No temper tantrums, no crying, no whining, and no emotional breakdowns. And the kids were good, too. We even managed to pick up a Christmas present for Martin that he will love--for a great price :)

Ugh--Christmas shopping. Best get it done early. Last year I was done by mid-November. I think that'll be my goal again this year.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Inspired by my sisters... make my home more aspirational.

That's why I've been a blog slacker--because I have been a busy little bee working on my house. I have de-cluttered nearly the entire downstairs now, and done some artwork to hang on the walls. I've started scraping the nasty Artex off the bathroom walls, and have re-painted the walls as I've finished scraping them. I'm finishing several crafty projects I have on the go, including refinishing an antique mirror and two of my dining room chairs. I am helping Martin paint the front of the house and all the wood trim and lintels white. Tonight, I'm going to make some curtains.

Basically, I am tired of trying to market my home as a great fixer-upper. I want people to aspire to live here, not to walk in and think how great they could make it if they did...well, loads of jobs.

I'm finding the work exhausting, but very satisfying. I don't have any time to be bored or lonely or homesick. I also don't have any energy or patience with my children, because all I want to do is work on the house. Taking care of the kids really cuts into my DIY time :)

Having Edith in school now is amazing! Martin and I are really enjoying our two hours together EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY! We haven't had that for over 5 years, and it's just as good as I thought it would be. Of course, he might not agree. I keep making him do all these jobs on the house.

Sorry Mom--didn't mean to worry you. I really have been that busy. Between the de-clutter, the creativity, the free time with my husband and the gym, well, I've just been buried. I'm going to try to take one night a week to myself, and that will probably involve blogging. Just for you, Mother :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

America trip part 2...

Bath time
Chillin' with Uncle Blaine
Dylan bonds with Grayie Vicious
Pulling faces for Auntie Krystle's iPad

Early days...

At Heathrow, watching the airplanes take off!

Angie's girls, in their English school dresses :)

Dead heading the roses

Grandma and Edith bond

Dylan's "mini" birthday party...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back in Britain...

The trip home was largely uneventful, though filled with a vomiting and pooping Edith and a very nasty English dude on the SLC to JFK flight. More details later. And more pictures of our Utah visit later, too. But right now I'm doing some serious cleaning and trying to scare my kids into bed (they've been playing up for nearly 2 hours now). So this will have to do:

The kids resting on our luggage at King's Cross Station, London. What a couple of little troopers!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I've got it bad...

We arrived in Utah at 11:45pm on Tuesday the 21st of August, after a long but (mercifully) uneventful flight. The trans-Atlantic leg was end-freaking-less--eight hours and 35 minutes. The in-flight entertainment system was only working for one of our seats, so we played musical chairs for nearly the whole flight. Edith loved the airplane toilets, and we had to use them about ten times during the flight. She got a little grumpy toward the end, but took a 45 minute nap on my lap and was good as gold when we landed in Atlanta.

Customs and immigration was a breeze. The immigration officers very kindly allowed me to use the US citizens line, even though Edith was travelling on a British passport. I didn't need any help, but it was volunteered on several occasions. We had a longer layover than I thought, so we all got a little bit bored and antsy waiting for our connecting flight. The kids spent the entire flight sleeping, and I got to read (Emma, that Kindle has been a GODSEND! Thank you!).

So yeah, we flew. We got bored. We arrived. No lost luggage, no vomiting, no seizures, no crying. My children were models of good behavior, and I was so relieved.

(Thanks for the blessing, Mr. Gilbert)

The first day here was rough, as always. The kids got up at 4:30 am, and I was running on two hours of sleep all day. But we followed the jet-lag rules, spent as much time outside as possible, didn't nap, and went to bed at a sensible time.

We are having a great time--Lofley family reunion yesterday, cousin DJ's missionary farewell today, and just family stuff all day long. I've missed these guys so much, and though we live so far apart, I always feel like we slip effortlessly back into our place in the family when we come home. I expected to feel that way.

What I did NOT expect to feel was like a foreigner in my own country. It's a very strange sensation. People keep making eye contact with me, and it's weirding me out.
Everyone is so friendly. Nobody is smoking. It's so CLEAN! I don't feel like I belong here.

Don't get me wrong--I still want to move back here more than anything. But this trip is kind of an eye-opener for me. I really feel more comfortable in England now than I do in Utah. Going back there and waiting to sell our house is going to be easier from here on out, I think.

The biggest revelation to me is how much I miss my husband. He's probably on his flight to SLC right now, and I can hardly wait to see him. It was so hard to say goodbye to him at Heathrow, and I am seriously sad without him. Nearly eleven years of marriage, and I am still so crazy about him that I can't bear to spend this much time apart. Pathetic, but kind of awesome!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Letting go...

I took the kids to the Butts Road park yesterday. We had a little picnic, picked and ate some of the first blackberries of the season, and they played on the swings and slide.

It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, but the park was shady and cool. The kids were playing together without fighting, and having a wonderful time. I was sitting on a swing, just watching them play, when all of a sudden I felt the urge to actually do some swinging.

I felt like a kid in the schoolyard again--pumping myself back and forth on that hard plastic seat, hands gripping the chains. I kept going higher and higher, then I closed my eyes, leaned back, and just let myself go.

It was one of the most amazing feelings I've ever had. That brief 30 seconds when I didn't have a care in the world. I wasn't trying to control anyone or anything--not even myself. I released all my stress and all my worries, and I felt completely free.

Today was my last session with Will, the awesome Scottish therapist. It was a really good one. We talked about my insight on the swings yesterday, and the fact that I now realize my anger and stress are triggered by my need for control. I must be in control of all things in my life at all times, and when I don't have that control, I freak out. I lash out. I get angry with my children when I can't control their behavior. But I'm starting to realize that I don't NEED to control their behavior. I just need to teach them the proper way to behave, stand by to make sure the lessons are being absorbed, and step in when necessary to make minor corrections.

We discussed the source of my control issues.

It's not something that I'm ready to blog about yet, but I think I may get there eventually. It's something that's shaped everything about the grown-up me. It's got me a referral for trauma counselling. Nearly sixteen years after the fact, but still...better late than never, right?

I feel like I'm finally on the path to becoming whole and happy and healthy.

That's not to say that I am unhappy, because I'm not. I have a wonderful husband, whom I adore. He loves me, too. We have two beautiful children. We have a comfortable existence. I have wonderful friends and an extended family that can't be beat. I'm happy, and incredibly blessed.

Whole and healthy, though. Hmmm, that's another matter.

But I've reached a point where I want the whole package. Just happy isn't enough. I want to be rid of my dissociation and demons. My control issues and coping mechanisms. I want to be authentic and unfettered and free.

To feel the way I felt on the swings yesterday, to have that all the time, would be the most incredible blessing of all.

Hooray for therapy.

And, as Martin said today, "Thank goodness we don't have to pay for this!"

Friday, August 03, 2012

The dating game...

Once upon a time, I had notoriously bad taste in men. My parents never, and I do mean NEVER, approved of the boys I liked. Looking back, I can kind of see their point of view. But thanks to Facebook, I am currently in touch with most of my ex-boyfriends. And let me tell you, most of them have turned out pretty awesome--no matter how little potential they seemed to have at the time.

There have only been three guys I dated that my parents actually approved of. One of them was when I was just barely sixteen, and it turns out that he pretty much only asked me out because he was "desperate for a snog" (his words, not mine). Another one is (I believe) currently a recovering drug addict who is living with his parents and suffering from severe mental health issues. The other one takes the cake--he is gay.

I really ought to have more faith in my own judgement.

My parents didn't want me to marry Martin. They tried to talk me out of marrying him right up until two weeks before the wedding. Funny, because he is the best man I ever brought home for them to meet. He is so wonderful.

So the moral of the story is, if your parents try to tell you who you should be dating you should definitely ignore them. Unless your name it Edith Alyssa Gilbert.

Monday, July 23, 2012

...and Doing it Well!

Today was day 4 of the summer holidays, and it is good.

Last summer was, to be perfectly frank, horrible. I was a big ball of stress and anger, but kept trying to make sure the kids had fun. We did lots of stuff, and I think they enjoyed it. I did not.

This summer is a whole different story. The anger has virtually disappeared, and it's making such a big difference.

We've made a list of all the things we might like to do this summer, and have divided it into a "rainy day" section and a "sunny day" section. So far, when we get up in the morning we take a look at the weather and the kids and I discuss options for a daily activity. We went to the Fun Forest on Friday, the beach on Saturday, and today we went to Water's Edge for a picnic, a walk, and a play in the park.

Will told me to stop sacrificing what I want and need for the sake of my children, because they will learn that their needs are unimportant once they've had children of their own. I've been listening to his advice. So when we went to the Fun Forest and the park, I took a book. The kids were told that we could stay and they could play, but I wanted to read my book. We all got to do what we wanted, and it was wonderful.

Got a new program at the gym, which should be fun. I met with a different personal trainer, a guy named Michael. I like him a lot, because he's totally mean. That's a great quality in a personal trainer. He's got me doing circuits for the next month, and I did my first workout this morning. OUCH!

Martin only had Sunday night off this week, and he's taking two lunchtimes off instead of a second full day. That's kind of pants for me, but it does mean an extra day for us to hang out as a family. It's kind of exciting waking up every morning to see the weather and what our options are for the day. He has tomorrow off, so we'll see what happens. I'm hoping for sun, but we've got a lot of stuff to do on the rainy day list :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I just saw a pig fly by...

For the first time in over two months, Edith went to bed without screaming and crying. It was a little bit surreal. She DID come out of her bedroom and give me a kiss after I'd tucked her in, but I can totally live with that.

In other news, Dylan only has 4 more days of school until the summer holidays. We have a list of things we want to do during the holidays--with a sunny side and a rainy side :) And the summer holidays can only mean one thing. It's just 5 weeks until we fly to Utah.

All friends and family who want to meet up during our visit, please let me know. Mom wants to plan her vacation days, so we need to get stuff sorted.

My lovely mental health counsellor is going to be so proud of me. We're working on my anger management issues as well as the big d-word, and I've been practising some of the strategies he's given me.

Today was a tough day. I'm coming down with Martin's cold, and I could tell I was getting snappy and in danger of losing my temper with the kids. So I contacted Emma to see if we could come up for a visit, so I could take some time for myself and talk to a grown-up. Then I didn't do the dishes straight after dinner and (shock, horror) skipped bedtime baths. We breezed through bedtime, and I didn't even have to TRY to keep it under control. I WAS control! And I felt so chilled and relaxed after they went to bed that I came downstairs straight away, cleaned the kitchen-including mopping the floor-and baked cookies for our picnic lunch after church tomorrow.

It's hard to say which is more effective--the anti-depressants or the Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I think it's probably about 50/50, especially since I'm only going to be on the Prozac for a maximum of 6 months. I don't want to rely on medication for my new found zen.

Dylan had his parent-teacher conference last week, and it was all good news. He is performing at the same level as his classmates or better in ALL areas of his development. Oh yeah, that includes socially! And for the first time, a teacher acknowledged the fact that he is the very youngest one in his class, so his educational achievements are phenomenal and his social immaturity is understandable.

I was so proud of my baby boy.

Edith had a few taster days at the school, which she loved. We may have a budding little artist in our midst. She loved the painting area, and spent a full thirty minutes there just painting away. Second favorite was definitely the glueing and sticking area. She is so excited to start school in September. And I'm excited to have 3 hours EVERY DAY to spend with my husband--no kids!

Right now, though, what I am most looking forward to is the visit to Utah. Lets plan some stuff, people :)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

More sun worshipping...

On hot summer days, Velecia, Angie and I used to lay out on the trampoline with the sprinklers on, in pursuit of the elusive "perfect" tan. We'd put Velecia's stereo in her bedroom window, speakers facing out, and listen to the week's Top 40, presented by Casey Kasem. Hours of fun! Especially when THIS song came on:

Do you remember Danny Rushton singing and dancing to that?

I remember one particular day when we were listening to the radio and tanning and a Tampax commercial came on. Wow, we were SOOOOOO embarrassed. Velecia sprinted to the house, ran to her bedroom, and turned the radio down. She was so fast that the 30 second commercial wasn't even finished yet when she got there. I'd like to think that the tampon advert dash inspired her high school track success in later years

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Social butterfly...

We have been running non-stop all week.

Last Sunday we went to Nottingham to spend time with one of our favorite families--Sally and her girls, Bethany and Fleur. We also got to meet Sally's new sweetie, Pete. It was such a lovely day, but a fairly late night.

Then on Tuesday it was Martin's parents' 36th wedding anniversary. We went bowling (Cathy won, I humiliated myself, but a good time was had by all) and out to dinner. NO KIDS! It was really nice to have a grown-up night.

I hosted book club at my house on Wednesday. "Call the Midwife," by Jennifer Wirth. Great book, great company, not-so-great screaming Edith. Still a good night, though.

Thursday was Amy's night to come over for dinner. Weekly occurrence, so nothing special. But it was still a good night.

On Friday I sneaked in an afternoon visit with Mrs. Munday. Hooray for them moving to Barton! At least, I think it was Friday :) Friday night was Cathy's "Glitzy Bitz" party, so more socializing :)

Saturday it was just me and the kids, but we had a lovely time doing portraits at the 20/21 Gallery in Scunthorpe. I did two chalk portraits--a self portrait and one of Edith. They're currently hanging up at the gallery. Nothing to brag about though, as they are hanging alongside the efforts of a lot of kids ages ranging between about 3 and 13. The kids also went to their Nanna's house for a few hours, and I cleaned the top two floors of the house. Productive day!

And today we had Nanna Sylvia's 90th birthday tea party. She's Martin's mother's Nanna. We took some 5 generation pictures, which was very groovy. We also got to see most of Martin's Priestley family, and the kids all played together. Really good afternoon!

All this social activity is really unusual for me. Man, am I ever exhausted. I haven't had a single moment to feel bored or lonely all week long. I spent Saturday night alone, and it was GREAT!

My therapist did say that I needed to get out more. I think he'll be proud of me.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur...

We have a new kitten. He's called Sid Vicious, and he is SO adorable.

After Patches died, we were all so sad. He was such a wonderful cat, and it took months to get over him. But the kids and I were finally ready to welcome a new cat to the house.

We picked Sid up and brought him home on Friday, and he's fitting in just fine. He's a fluffy little ball of black and white fur. He's incredibly playful, but very affectionate and cuddly for a tiny kitten. He's also very smart--found the litter box on the first try and is learning how to climb up on all the furniture. He's going to be a welcome addition to the family.

The kids are a little bit scared of him.

It's kind of funny :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Flamborough Head

Dylan wanted rock pools, so we went to Flamborough Head up in Yorkshire. There are no rock pools in Lincolnshire--too sandy and flat for that. Amazing day!

Have I mentioned lately how beautiful I think England is?