Wednesday, May 30, 2012


When I was very young, our family lived in a little white house on 4th South in Price, UT. Newly blended family, with my mom, step-dad, and two step-sisters (baby on the way).

We had this awesome metal jungle-gym out in the front yard. You know--the kind with hexagonal gaps that would NEVER be allowed out of the factory these days for health and safety reasons. Sharp edges, burning hot metal, slightly rickety, etcetera. We were all out playing on that jungle gym (under which, incidentally, my cousin Tisha taught us how to eat grass stems) when I felt an urgent call of nature. I needed to do a, um, number two.

(How weird--seems like a bit of Cockney rhyming slang crossed the pond and stuck.)

Sadly, at the tender age of three I wasn't able to open the door by myself. Mom was queasy with her pregnancy and soaking in the bath tub. Velecia and Angie refused to open the door for me. And sobbing my heart out, standing on the front step at the tender yet very grown-up feeling age of three, I pooped my pants. In front of my cool new big sisters and anyone who happened to be walking past at the time.

They got in so much trouble for not opening that door :)

(I swear, not all of my childhood memories revolve around my older sisters being mean to me, because that didn't happen very often. Honestly!)

Do you guys remember this?

That is such a vivid memory for me--and I was the same age that Edith is now. Ouch! What is she going to remember about the past few weeks?

Friday, May 25, 2012

They say your kids are either punishment or reward for your childhood...

Edith has been punishing me for my youthful misdeeds this week.

What a week of contrasts, too. We took her to her first ever swimming lesson on Monday, and I was so proud of her I felt like I was going to explode. And later that night I was so angry with her that I actually had to leave the house before I exploded and threw her down the stairs.

That girl is completely fearless, and she was amazing in her swimming lesson. She was chatting away to the other kids in the class, listening attentively to the instructor, and kicking her way across the pool (with a float, of course) like a pro. At the end of the lesson, all of the kids jump in. When the instructor held her arms out for her, Edith launched herself into the pool with not even a moment's hesitation.

But for the past week she has been refusing to go to bed at night. She's normally asleep by about 7:30 or 8pm, but she hasn't been asleep before 9pm since last Thursday. I'm thinking it's just one of those phases where she is testing her limits. Dylan went through a few of those, but they were before he could talk properly, and before he knew how to open his bedroom door.

The worst part of the week has been the noise. She keeps screaming at me--weirdly enough, she is screaming "good night, I love you, see you in the morning, have a good sleep, goodbye!" But it breaks my heart and makes me crazy all at the same time. I'm trying to stick to my discipline guns. It's hard, but I know I need to teach her respect for my authority NOW, or I'll have no chance when she's a teenager. My official discipline policy is that I do NOT negotiate with terrorists.

Luckily, I'm even more stubborn than she is.

Or maybe I've just had more practice :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Memory Lane

I was on Skype with my sister Velecia last night, and we were talking about dance recital outfits. I told her adorable daughter Kenzie about one of my favorite dance recital costumes from when we were kids, and Velecia and I had a nice little trip down memory lane.

So I started to think about other childhood memories, and the way my sisters and I were so close to each other growing up. We were together almost all the time, but we probably remember totally different things. So how much fun would it be to explore those early memories, share them, and sort of fill in the blanks of our early childhoods?

So these dance costumes...

I must have been about three or four years old, which would put Angie at four and Velecia at five or six. Krystle was a new-born, and ShaNeil was just a distant dream of the possibility of a son. Jace, well, he's not going to feature in my childhood memories since my family adopted him when I was 17 (oh, the rumors that abounded in sleepy, small-town Nephi about my parents trying to pass off their grandchild as their son!). Love you, man!

We were dressed as giant butterflies. We had cute little orange body suits, with beautiful, floaty orange wings. They were trimmed in black rick-rack and tiny round mirrors. There were thin black elastic cords on our wrists, so when we lifted our arms up it looked like we were flying.

The best part of dance recitals, other than the costumes, was the make-up. Mom was always pretty strict about letting us wear make-up, and we only got to wear it on Halloween and for dancing. So whenever she dug out that cherry lipstick, my heart would skip a beat. She also put enough blush on us to shame a hooker, but that was the style, and we LOVED it!

Girly-girl right from the start.

And sisters, maybe you could put some of your childhood memories on YOUR blogs?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The REAL Hunger Games...

What do you do when you exercise strenuously at least 5 hours a week, eat sensibly, and still aren't losing weight? You go see your doctor.

And what does he tell you?

Mrs. Gilbert, have you tried anorexia?

Well, no. Not since I was 17, anyway.

My GP has recommended a 1,000 calorie a day diet. I've been doing it for two weeks now. Man, am I hungry!

But, if the scales at the gym match the scales at the doctor's office, I've lost 12 kilos in those two weeks. To be honest, I doubt they match up. That would put me at a weight loss of around 27 pounds, and that's just not healthy or possible. But the needle is creeping in the right direction. I'm guessing I've shed around 10 pounds.

As Dr. Jaggs-Fowler so charmingly put it, my body is eating it's own "packed lunch."

Most of the time it's fine, this diet. I spend a lot of time thinking about food, but the peppermint tea is really helpful and I'm drinking a lot of water. Today though, has been my first really hard day. I've just wanted to eat all day long. Willpower is hard to come by when you're fixing snacks for the kids, and when you have to prepare meals for them even when you can't eat them. One of the hardest things for me to do is throw away the food that they don't eat when I'm still hungry. It just seems like madness.

I do need to check with my doctor and my fitness instructor at the gym to make sure my exercise program isn't too strenuous for my reduced calorie diet. I get so weak by the end of the workout that I am literally shaking. My new lower body program is killer.

Funny, how I'm doing all this work to make myself healthier. It seems counter-productive at this point, because my whole body aches, I'm tired, and I'm so hungry right now that I feel physically ill.

Hope it's all worth it in the end.

I'm so hungry I can't stand it right now. That must mean it's time for bed. I'm going to go now, and dream about steak, pasta, and ice cream. And baked potatoes smothered in butter and soured cream. Maybe cheesecake, too...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

Mom, you are one amazing lady. Even if you weren't my mother, I'd still want to hang out with you. Because you are smart, fun, silly, and a little bit crazy. Thanks for being my parent when I was a child and my friend now that I have children of my own.

Thanks for giving me life, and teaching me the right way to live it.

You rock!

Dylan and Edith, you are the greatest blessings I have ever received. Thank you for teaching me the lessons that I could never learn without you. You are my anger, frustration, irritation, amusement, and, above all, my joy.

Thanks for making me a mother, and giving my life meaning.

You rock, too!

I have definitely been blessed in the mother department.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


The kids and I walked up to Stables yesterday so they could share a dessert. On the way, we walked past a pick-up truck. It belonged to a farmer. I know this, because I saw him getting out of the truck. And he looked like one. In the place where a farmer or rancher back home would have a rifle, this guy umbrella!

To be fair, you'd have more occasion to use an umbrella in this country than a gun. And more occasion to use a gun back in Utah than an umbrella.

I took the kids on a little adventure this morning. We went down to the old Adamant Cement Works. It was a cement plant that closed down in the 1920's, and it is falling into the estuary. We had so much fun, climbing over the big chunks of concrete and piles of bricks and throwing stones in the water. Then it was home for lunch and off to a birthday party. After that, we got in a quick visit with Nanna and Grandad. And a horrific bedtime, where Edith screamed almost the entire time.

They are sleeping like angels now, and I managed to not lose my cool the whole time.


I wasn't at all amused by the screaming!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ready to talk about it...

Back on New Year's Eve I blogged about my noisy neighbors. More specifically, I blogged about their, erm, intimate life, and the way we can hear it from our bedroom. I didn't write a word that wasn't 100% true, but I wrote it when I was tired, angry, and frustrated. A few days later an anonymous comment appeared, suggesting that the post was inappropriate. Anonymous was right, and I deleted the post immediately. Most of you probably never even read it.

Fast forward three months, and Martin is getting shouted off their property when he goes over to ask if their son can come over and play with Dylan. That was when we found out that our neighbors read my blog.

I felt so terrible. I never meant for them to read my bitter ranting. I sat down immediately and wrote an explanation/apology, and posted it through their letter box. I felt sick for days every time I thought about how stupid and thoughtless I had been.

On Easter Sunday I received a reply. My neighbor told me exactly what she thought of me--my personality, my parenting style, my morals, my husband, etcetera. She said some things that were true. She said some things that were subjective. She said some things that I hadn't even realized. All of them were hurtful. Ultimately, she said that the blog post was just the final straw. Apparently, they've never really liked either one of us.

I struggled quite a lot for the next few weeks, wondering what to make of the whole situation and wondering what to do about it. And in the end it comes down to this: Nothing.

I have to accept the comments that she made, because I deserved some of them. And the ones that I didn't deserve, well, I kind of deserve those ones, too. I was in the wrong, so now I have to accept the consequences.

It's kind of funny, isn't it? The way we can damage relationships without even realizing we're doing it.

It's also funny how much easier it is to live with yourself when you don't retaliate in anger.

Knowing that our neighbors really dislike us hasn't changed anything. We very rarely saw them, to be honest (makes sense, now that we know how they really feel). We are civil to each other, because we're all grown-ups. The only thing we ever had in common is our kids, who were born about a week apart. We are doing our best to be good neighbors, all the same. I'd like to make up for some of the things we've done wrong. I wish they'd mentioned some things sooner, so it wouldn't have ended up like this. But other than the noise issues, they don't factor into our lives enough to matter that much.

One good thing has come of the whole situation. I finally admitted that I am an emotional wreck, and not in a normal way. I am seeing my doctor and we are trying to sort out the issues I am having with my mood swings and, I'm finally going to say it, depression. I should have been able to cope with that letter I got from her, and I really couldn't. Not at all.

So,that's the neighbor drama. It's fading now, but I had to wait ages to post this because I didn't want to write about them AGAIN while I was angry. And I'm really not angry any more. Just full of regrets. But regret is a much nicer emotion to deal with than rage.

Better for the blood pressure, if nothing else!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

This drought is killing me!

England is currently going through a drought.

They made the official announcement, and a few days later it started to rain. It rained every day in April except for yesterday.


Sadly, we've had two years of below-average rainfall, and it will take another month like the last one to make up for it. We just might get it.

I like rain, but this is a bit much. I'm so tired of fishing out wellies and umbrellas every time we want to leave the house. Every trip to Tesco has become a major ordeal. And the school run--ugh.

Happily, the garden is doing great. We are re-seeding the grass, and the plants are thriving. Just need a few dry days now, so I can do some weeding.

Ultimately, I am still a desert girl. I enjoy the wet climate here, but I miss the dryness of Utah. I miss the sun. I may have to make a visit to the tanning salon to beat these gray-weather blues.

In medical news, diligent workouts + cheap shoes = plantar fasciitis. My heel hurts so bad that I hobble like an 80 year old woman when I stand up. Have to get some decent trainers for the gym, and I have to do it soon. I am also booked in for a fasting blood test next Thursday in an effort to get to the bottom of my exhaustion and horrific mood swings/depression. Of course, fasting blood sugar is all about diabetes. That kind of sucks. And the doctor thinks the mood swings might be caused by my Mirena IUD. Bad news for Martin, as getting it removed would mean the big "V" for him (that's vasectomy, for the non-squeamish).

I need a pick-me-up.

On a positive note, I managed to get the kids to bed tonight without losing my cool and shouting at them. That's a successful day in my book.