Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Proud mama bear...

Dylan came home from school with some news yesterday. Apparently, he and one other girl in his class are being moved to the class above them for their phonics lesson.

My baby, the youngest one in his class, is advanced enough to move up a grade in his reading. He's already doing math with the class above.

My boy is wicked smart!

Although I'd love to be able to take full credit, it can only be partial. He is just naturally intelligent, though we do our best to nurture that. He's been a genius with numbers since he was tiny, and he's always loved books. We make sure that we read to him, encourage him, and praise his hard work and efforts, but it's all him.

I've always known that Dylan was a smarty-pants, but it's nice to have it confirmed by the system.

It'll be interesting to see if Edith follows on in her big brother's footsteps. I know she's clever, but her book-smarts remain to be seen.

I love how different my kids are. Same genes, same upbringing, different in every single way!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back to school...

...and not a moment too soon!

Dylan was back at school today. Edith and I really enjoyed having him home for the Easter holiday, but we both breathed a little sigh of relief this morning. We enjoy our quiet little lives together, with chilled out mornings, afternoon naps, and cuddles together in my big bed. And Dylan, it has to be said, prefers to be at school.

I feel very good about Dylan's time off school--like we struck a good balance between rest and fun, and like I managed to keep my temper in check and be "fun mom" instead of "mean mom." Don't get me wrong here. Dylan gets disciplined when he makes poor choices (thank you, Castledyke School, for that terminology). So does Edith. "Fun mom" still issues punishments when they are deserved, but she can overlook the small stuff and forgive and forget. "Mean mom," well, she's a different story.

Oh yes, I'm totally writing about myself in the third person.

I'm also making it seem like I have split personalities or, at the very least, like I'm pretty darned bi-polar.

The third person thing is pretty annoying, so that stops now!

As for the other, well, that's complicated.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Had a lot of that today, and it was much needed.

We got off to a rough start, with Dylan's scissors ban being put back into force. He had strict instructions to only cut paper or he would not be allowed to use scissors in our house again until his fifth birthday (result of Edith's haircut), and I came downstairs this morning to find the shredded remnants of a swimming arm band. So no scissors for Dylan until the 29th of August.

Then there was general naughtiness--Edith disobeying me, Dylan sneaking toys out of the house, etcetera.

But I took the kids to the Pink Pig farm today, and we had such a wonderful time. It was sunny and warm, and we all enjoyed being outside. We went on a tractor ride, saw (and smelled) the pigs, fed the sheep and geese, and played for ages on the adventure playground. I even let Edith go down the zip line on her own, which is a big deal for me. I nearly had a heart attack the first time I let her go, but she loved it. And, better still, she did NOT fall off! Dylan spent absolutely ages playing with the water pump/troughs/sand pit. We all went on the big six-seater swing together. Good, clean fun. And good exercise, too.

I took the kids to McDonalds for a late lunch afterwards. They were well behaved, and very hungry! We played together, ate together, and laughed together all afternoon. And though bed time was hard because they were both very tired, I can honestly say that I enjoyed nearly every minute of my day with my children.

I love being a mother, but it has not been an easy role for me to fill. I look at other women, women who are so nurturing and caring and natural with their children, and I wonder how they manage it. I don't understand how someone can be completely fulfilled by taking care of a husband and kids all day long. It's such hard work, and so often goes unappreciated. There are days when I feel like my children, beautiful and wonderful as they are, are sucking all the life out of me. I love them with all my heart, but I still sometimes resent the ways I've had to change because of them. How can any woman not feel this way? And yet, quite a lot of women don't. I am mystified by them, I admire them, and I hope some day I can be like them.

But in the mean time, I will treasure days like today. Days when motherhood doesn't seem like a burden, but like a real blessing. Because I know that's what it's supposed to be like. And one day like today can make up for a whole lot of bad days. I can hold on to the memory of a day like this one, and use it to get me through the tough times that are always on the horizon for me.

I remember hearing once that true joy isn't about being happy all the time. Joy is the ability to feel things deeply--even the bad things. I can accept that definition, because soul-deep sadness only makes the good times seem that much better. Like my 7th grade home-economics teacher taught us--you have to add a pinch of salt to any sweet dish you make. If you don't, no matter how much sugar you put in, it will never taste sweet enough.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Sorry mom, no pictures. Our camera is broken and Martin hasn't had a chance to research our next one yet. I'm relying on his mobile phone for photos at the mo. Tiresome, as I really want to get some pictures of my gorgeous children on here.

We had a good Easter. We were visited by the American Easter Bunny (although he's probably actually the Mormon Easter Bunny, as he visits on Saturday so that Sunday can be all about Jesus). He brought the kids a new small toy each and some plastic eggs filled with sweeties. That poor bunny had a job and a half getting those eggs in England, too. Seriously, that was hard work! He left the kids a treasure map that they had to follow to find their eggs. That bunny also needs to work on his penmanship so Dylan can read his handwriting, Martin ;)

We attempted to spend that Saturday in Sutton-on-Sea with some friends, but their car broke down. We were already there, so we went to the beach and collected sea shells. Then we ate fish and chips (mmmmm, chips...)and took the kids to the arcade in Mablethorpe on our way home to play on the penny machines. A good time was had by all. We even squeezed in a visit with the great-grandparents, which is always nice.

Sunday was a typical day, really. Church all morning, Skype call in the afternoon, etc. I'm sure the Easter talks were great, but the kids were on a sugar high and pretty hard to manage.

We've all been enjoying the Easter school holidays. I'm not even being sarcastic, either. Dylan is a bit high maintenance to have at home all day, but it's so nice to not have to get him to school in the mornings and be back by a certain time to pick him up. We've been going on little mini-outings, and having a great time. I think Edith is ready for Dylan to go back to school though, as she keeps asking me with real hope in her eyes if he is going to school today.

Things we have done so far on the Easter hols:

Beach (see above)
Doncaster Dome (swimming, naturally)
Cinema ("Pirates, in an Adventure with Scientists!")
North Lincolnshire Museum (made dinosaur door hangers, and Dylan got to see a skeleton!)
Humber Bridge Country Park (awesome walk through the old quarry over there)
20/21 Visual Arts Centre (made bin bag bugs named Beetle Joe, Princess Bug, and Buzzy Bee)
Cleaned out the kids' closet (not fun, but still something we did)

I'm almost out of ideas, but he's back at school on Tuesday. And the kids are having a sleep-over at their Auntie Cathy's house on Friday and we have a family birthday party on Saturday, so the weekend's sorted.

Phew, school holidays are hard work!

We've been having some neighbor issues, but I'm not in a place where I'm ready to blog about it. It's kind of a major thing in my life right now, but I don't know where to go with it yet. In fact, I'm wondering if I should just post pictures and details of outings with the kids here and save my thoughts for a traditional journal. Part of me thinks it would be a good idea. Because my honesty and refusal to sugar coat my life are what I am most proud of on my blog, but are also the things which tend to get me into trouble.

I'm torn, because this blog was always meant to be for my friends and family--the people who know me best and understand my sense of humor, my political views, my religious sentiments and my bluntness. In other words, for the people who aren't likely to get offended by my word choice or subject matter. For the people who really care about what's going on in my life, and want to hear it all--the good, the bad, and the ugly. So do I stop writing for them (and for myself) so I don't anger the people who don't know me that well but are reading it anyway?

Yes, I know my blog is public. But it's about my private thoughts all the same. So what do I do? Should I make the blog private and continue to express my thoughts and feelings? Do I keep it public and only write about "safe" things? Do I just carry on doing what I've always done, and try to ignore the occasional fallout caused by my matter-of-fact discussion about what really happens in my life?

Comments would be welcome. But I am in charge here, so I reserve the right to delete any that I think are mean :)

Monday, April 02, 2012


She turned three yesterday. My baby is three years old. Where has the time gone?

We had a fantastic birthday party for her. Just family (oh yeah, the Mundays totally count as family), but it was pirates and princesses, and I decorated and everything. We had a finger food buffet which was really a junk food feast, and I made brown sugar cupcakes. She blew out the candles (twice, because Dylan missed it the first time) and was completely spoiled by our family with presents.

That girl was in heaven, because she mostly got frilly new dresses. Never in my life have I seen such a girlie-girl. I think I was probably that girlie when I was younger, though.

I'd like to think that I bought her the favorite present of the day--a new tutu.

So here are some tidbits about three-year-old Edith:

She is a little pixie, with her short, spiky ginger hair, long, thin body, and tiny little elfin features.

She has the most beautiful eyes. Sometimes they are green, sometimes they are gray, and sometimes they even look brown. I swear they change with her moods, which can be pretty mercurial.

She has a temper to match her fiery hair. And a stubborn streak a mile wide.

But she is also a great helper, and great at sharing. She is sweet and charming, and really loves people. Because she loves them, they love her, too. Seriously, she is a charmer.

She loves dresses and make-up and Barbies. She loves high heels and handbags. She loves all things pink, but she will tolerate "lello." She's mad about My Little Ponies and Hello Kitty.

Edith is smart. She can count up to twenty, sort of. She can sing loads of songs, including the alphabet song. She loves books, and will sit and pretend to read for absolutely ages.

Her favorite TV show is "I Can Cook" on CBeebies, but she will watch "Bones" with me in the afternoons because it means a really good cuddle and, usually, a nice snack.

This girl is amazing. She is my little shadow, a little sponge, a challenge, a helper, and such good company. She's been a ray of sunshine in our lives almost without fail since she was born, and I am blessed and privileged to be her mother. We are all blessed and privileged to have her in our family.