Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas

And my apologies to my family, who had to sit there opening gifts with my face in high definition on the big screen, quietly crying like a baby.

Sometimes, it just hits me how much I am missing by living in England. I love it here, but my gigantic and loving family are all over in Utah. And I sat by my computer, watching the clan exchanging gifts, and realized how much I wanted to be in the middle of all of that madness. Skype is brilliant, but it's not as good as being in the room.

It was still a great family Christmas, of course. I was with my wonderful husband and beautiful children, and we spent the day with my English family. They are great--the best in-laws a girl could ever ask for. The gifts were a success, the company was affable, and the food was amazing. if only...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter blues...

Last year, I was all medicated up on Prozac and I breezed effortlessly through the grim English winter. Now I am drug free, and I am feeling every sun-less, bone chilling moment. If I was a drinker, I would be annihilating a bottle of wine a night just to get through.

Thank goodness for the Word of Wisdom, right?

Anyway, things are going well. I am enjoying the run up to Christmas. I have made my Christmas puddings and mincemeat, and I am keeping the kitchen stocked up with home baked goodies for company. The house isn't as clean now that the weather has turned horrible, but it is ok. Basically, I hate doing housework in the dark. And it is dark by 3:45pm. If I could, I would totally hibernate for all of November and December. And probably part of January, as well.

Dylan and Edith have both done their Christmas plays for school. They were cute. It's just a shame that there were loads of other kids there and the plays were held in a room full of people (please see above comment about hibernating). Dylan's play was called "Manger Mouse," and Edith's was "Cheese, Please." Both cheeky little takes on the traditional nativity.

Today is a special day, anyway. It is my baby sister's birthday. Happy birthday, ShaNeil! I remember the day she was born. It was a Thursday. I know, because it was early day. We got taken up to see her after school. She is eight years younger than me, so we were never super close. But I've always been impressed by her quick wit and her incredibly beauty. Oh, and she has the cutest baby EVER! I am looking forward to moving back to Utah and getting to know her better as an adult and a friend instead of just a sister.

JUST a sister? How crazy was that statement? My sisters are the only people from my childhood that I am still friends with. Sisters are way better than plain old friends, and I miss all of mine like crazy.

I've been given a speaking assignment for church this week, about "Christmas Past," and it has me getting all nostalgic about the Christmases of my childhood. Holidays always make me long for home. And even though this is my 9th Christmas in England (wow, it seems even longer, seeing it in black and white like that) and I have a husband and children of my own now, home is still sort of where my parents and siblings are.

Such a Debbie downer today. I'm kicking myself off the computer so I don't spread my bad mood like a disease!

Happy kisses!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Au Naturale...

Top ten reasons letting my hair revert to its natural colour was a good idea:

10. Not putting chemicals in my hair makes it healthier and shinier

9. Natural highlights--got to love those

8. Gray is very in this season

7. I'm setting an example for my daughter that she can grow old gracefully and not buy into the notion that while it is perfectly acceptable for a man to show his age, a woman must look perpetually seventeen in order to be desirable.

6. Because screw the patriarchy, that's why (got on a little streak there. Stepping off my soap box now)

5. I now have so much more time to devote to worthy causes, like promoting world peace and supporting my local library

4. My house never smells like ammonia any more.

3. My lack of facial lines and wrinkles is highlighted even more by the fact that I have granny hair

2. It draws attention away from my dark, luxurious moustache should I not have time to bleach or depillate

1. There's not nearly as much gray as I thought there'd be!

So yeah, here's to letting my natural colour shine through for the first time since I was fourteen. I feel like such a dirty tree hugger. Next up, growing out my arm pit hair (don't laugh, I've done it before) and getting some birkenstocks.

I'm humming a Janice Joplin song even as I type...

Friday, November 08, 2013


So the most exciting event of this week was supposed to be tiling our dining room:

Instead, the house next door caught fire early on Wednesday morning:

So Wednesday morning was pretty exciting. Our neighbor, Mickey B., pounded on the door at 4am and told us that the roof next door was seriously on fire. We got the kids out of bed, grabbed our passports and document file, got our coats and shoes on, and got out of the house.

The kids spent the next three hours watching the Disney Channel at Mickey's house while Martin and I watched the fire getting closer and closer to our house until the fire brigade got it out. It was pretty terrifying. But our house suffered pretty minimal damage, and our home owners insurance is covering all of it.

It's kind of nice to know that I'm not very materialistic. Too bad it took a major fire to gain that knowledge.

So yeah, loads of drama. But, all things considered, getting the tiling done IS more exciting!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Me, dying after my run this afternoon

I started doing a couch to 5K workout program on Monday. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but there's something you need to know about me in order to be properly impressed:


If I were being chased by zombies, I would rather let them pull my brains out and eat them whilst I was still alive than have to run away from them.

This is not hyperbole.

Running is not the only exercise I hate doing. I also detest biking (that seat is just NOT comfortable, and you'd have to be a masochist to enjoy sitting on it for extended periods of time, IMHO) and group sports of any kind.

Basically, I hate cardio. It's not that I dislike getting my heart rate up. Just that I hate being sweaty, uncomfortable, short of breath and dealing with the rather unfortunate effects of gravity on an empty baby bag.

Really intense flows in yoga and aquafit do NOT count as cardio, by the way :)

Martin asked me why I decided to start running if I hate it so much. I told him that people who run tend to look good, and though I don't like running, I DO like looking good.

I remember being younger and totally happy in my body. I've never been thin, but my body used to be able to handle whatever stresses I put it under. That's just not the case any more. And I'd like to change that while I'm still young enough to do it. And if that means taking up running, well, I'll do it.

But I'll complain about it all the way, because I STILL HATE RUNNING.

(Although I did experience runner's high for the first time ever--I think. That was weird.)

So what's next for me? Ladies' basketball, perhaps?

Not likely. I still have standards, after all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Achievement...

Not mine, but Dylan's. He is now riding his bike with no training wheels. Pretty amazing, considering he only got that bike a few months ago. We didn't really encourage bike riding for him when he was younger because he wasn't very coordinated. Couple that with his bleeding disorder, and it was just a recipe for disaster. But he was finally ready this summer.

Dylan gets really down on himself when he can't do things straight away. He is very smart, and expects to do new things with ease. And he's so sensitive that he cries when he's disappointed. So teaching him to ride a bike was frustrating for me and Martin. It took so much patience and loving encouragement, which is really hard to give when your six year old is crying like a baby over NOTHING!

I wasn't there the first time he rode on his own. I was at my yoga class. But I saw the video, which was brilliant. And he is so proud of himself.

Seeing my children grow and develop is everything I dreamed it would be. So many aspects of motherhood are not, but this one meets all of my expectations! To catch a brief glimpse of their full potential, well, there are no words to describe the absolute wonder of it...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It's changed a lot since my last post. And I do mean a LOT!

First and foremost, both kids are now back in school. And Edith is going for full days instead of half days. So this means that I am now a full time home-maker with free time during the day. And let me just say, it is every bit as good as I thought it would be. My days are spent cleaning the house, doing the shopping, baking bread, preparing meals, visiting with friends, and going to the gym. Not to mention that I get nearly two hours of time alone with my husband EVERY SINGLE DAY! It's like heaven in 6 1/2 hours.

Once we got the kids safely back to school, Martin and I buckled down and got the house ready to re-list with our real estate agency. They came and photographed the house two weeks ago, and the "for sale" sign went back up last week. We are going to be tiling the dining room next week, but then all the big projects are finished and it's just a case of keeping the place clean and getting the right people in for viewings so they can fall in love with our house and buy it from us. Fingers crossed.

In other news, I have started weaning myself off the Prozac. I have been on half a dose for over a month now, and will be reducing again next week. The meds helped me out of a bad place, and I have no regrets about taking them. But coming off them makes me realize just how medicated I was. I feel as though I am getting my personality back. I am having to work harder to control my temper, but I am enjoying life so much more. If I have to go back on them, I will. I never want to be in that dark, dark place again. But I'd rather try to do without.

Going drug free coincided with my other big change. I am no longer seeing a therapist. I have officially been declared sane :) I feel like everything has just come together in the past six weeks. Life is still hard, but also good. You know, like it's supposed to be.

Anyway, the kids are thriving in school. Martin is staying busy at work. The house is clean.

I just wish we were doing all these things back in Utah.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A very special day...

My baby boy turned six today, and my what a day it was!

It started off with opening a single birthday gift (just to buy us a little more sleep). Then we went ahead with what is becoming my favorite birthday tradition. I told Dylan the story of the day he was born. I do it every year, and each year the kids get a few more details. The favorites this year were how my water broke on the landing and the carpet got all wet and how Dylan pooped while he was still inside my tummy. He thought both of those things were hilarious. Oh, and that we stopped to buy icecream on our way to the hospital.

We were supposed to go to the Doncaster Dome for swimming, then lunch and a movie. Got a nice, early start, too. But our car broke down on the way there. Luckily we hadn't gotten very far, so Lewis came and picked me and the kids up while Martin waited for the AA to arrive. We regrouped at home and took the bus in to Hull (alternator went, in case anyone was dying to know). We got our lunch and watched Smurfs 2 (Dylan's choice). Then it was back to Barton, a scooter ride to the Leisure Centre for swimming lessons, and home again for a small dinner party of Martin's parents, his grandparents, me, the kids, and Amy. Martin took the morning off, but had to go in to work at five.

Chicken noodle soup was devoured, cake was enjoyed, toys were played with, goodbyes were said, kids were tucked up in bed, and here I am--alone, exhausted, and happy.

Becoming a mother has not been an easy journey for me. Getting pregnant was difficult. Pregnancy was stressful. Childbirth was impossible. Surgery was painful and disappointing. Staying home with a newborn was stiflingly boring. Post partum depression was crippling. And yet, as with most things in life, the hard things often turn out to be the best.

I am so proud of my son. He is bright and beautiful, sensitive, kind, perceptive, and so very smart! And though he was born with a lot of those traits, I know that Martin and I can take partial credit for the way he is growing up and turning out. Most of the time, though, I wonder that I was so blessed to be his mother. He has taught me so many lessons. I've learned more about patience and unconditional love from him than I have from any other person or event in my life. And he teaches me every day. Sometimes the lessons he teaches me are hard ones to learn, about my own weaknesses and failings as a person and as a parent. But I love him for those lessons all the same.

I still remember the night I found out I was pregnant. I cried tears of joy. I often think back to those times when I used to lie in bed feeling him roll around inside me, watching the taut skin on my belly ripple and wave like a flag in the breeze. I had so many expectations about motherhood. So many dreams and fantasies. Then Dylan was born, and nothing was like I expected it to be. It was so much harder.

But it was infinitely better...

Friday, August 23, 2013


Something amazing happened yesterday. So amazing that I would have blogged about it last night had I not had company over (Thursday night is when Amy comes over for dinner).

I sent the kids to Micky B's shop to get me some garlic.


For those of you who aren't familiar with my little neighborhood, this probably sounds like a much bigger deal than it is. For those of you who know my neighborhood, you're probably wondering what the big deal is. His shop is just around the corner from our house. It's kind of like mom and dad sending someone over to the Jones's house to borrow a cup of sugar, only with money. So it's really close, and they don't even have to cross any roads to get there.

Why is it a big deal then, you ask? Because it was the FIRST TIME EVER they have gone off our property with no adult supervision.

I wondered if it was a good idea. Dylan is not quite six, and I have no concept of what is "normal" and "acceptable" in these situations. But he's super mature for his age, and I was in the middle of making jam and pasta sauce. So I gave the kids £1.50, told them that I needed garlic, and said they could use the leftover money to buy themselves sweets. Off they toddled, I watched them to the corner, and ten minutes later they came home with three heads of garlic and a bag of penny sweets each. They felt wonderfully independent, and I felt so incredibly liberated.

They are growing up so fast now. I know plenty of people who get sad about that, but it really makes me happy. I love seeing my children becoming more self sufficient. It's amazing to watch them learn and grow, and great when they don't need me as much.

I had a moment of clarity the other day about my parenting skills (or lack thereof). My problem with children is that I don't really like playing with them. And it's not a new phenomenon, either. Ask my mother--even when I was a child I didn't particularly like playing with other children. Nine times out of ten I would prefer to play alone. I still feel that way now, and it makes playing with my own children a bit challenging.

I also had another insight a few nights ago. I am doing so much better psychologically than I was last year. It had been a rough day (summer holidays, you know) and I was desperate to get the kids into bed. But I didn't feel stretched to the breaking point and incredibly fragile. I just felt tired. Like any normal parent would after a hard day. And that is progress.

We've only got two more weeks of the summer holidays, and I am ready for the kids to be back at school. Edith starts full days this year, and that's going to be fantastic. But it's been a great school break this time. Four weeks without feeling like I wanted to give them up for adoption? Practically a miracle in my book. Next test will be to see if I can do this without drugs!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jobs I hate doing for no particular reason...

1. Putting dishes away

2. Putting clean laundry away

3. Filling the car up with petrol

4. Making packed lunches for the kids

5. Ironing mens' clothes

5. Changing the kids' bed linens

6. Cleaning the windows

7. Taking out the garbage

8. Going through old newspapers and/or junk mail

9. Defrosting the fridge

10. Putting away groceries

Wow, this list makes it seem like I hate being a housewife.


Monday, June 03, 2013

Handsome Dylan

Easter egg hunt at St. Nicholas' church in Ulceby

King of the castle!

Big tough guy with a fat lip. Awww...

Class picture day at ~Castledyke School.

My Angel...

Getting some love from mom and dad!

Learning how to apply blush--or not...

On class picture day at Castledyke School.

Daisy chain at the Humber Bridge Country Park.

What we've been up to lately (in pictures)

So we started out with this in our dining room--a lovely piece of furniture, but a bit dark and dated for my taste.

I painted the dining room walls white, then chose a very bright color to brighten things up. A bit of sanding and a whole lot of painting later, and I had this!

Edith helped me pick out some wallpaper to back the cabinet, and my very clever husband did the papering (with some "help" from the kids)

And this is how my dining room looks now. Nearly finished--just need to paint the light fixture bright blue and find some artwork to go on the wall.

Do you love it as much as I do?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

We went to Twigmoor woods today,because it is half term and the rhododendron are blooming. It was so amazing,and the outing rescued the kids from my foul mood. I was reminded today of why I wanted to move to England in the first place. And why I wanted to have children, as well. Because Because England is beautiful,and so is motherhood!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I just found it...

My answer. In the scriptures.

3rd Nephi 22:4

It's been a long time coming!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


My asthma has flared up. Edith shared her cold germs with me and Martin. Generous, no? She's all heart. Or, as she would say, "oh-l haaaht." My lungs are currently full of gunk and feel like someone is scraping them with a crochet hook every time I cough.

But in other news, we are doing great.

Edith is riding her bike like a champion now, though still with training wheels. Dylan got a bike today. He's not nearly as good as his sister (he also has training wheels), but he's getting better. I see long, peaceful bike rides in our future.

Hah, yeah right!

Dylan finally passed his non-swimmers course at the pool. He swam 10 meters without stopping. Martin and I were so incredibly proud. He's got two more weeks in the non-swimmers class, then he is moving up.

I had a seriously proud moment this week as well. I re-wired the plug for my hand-held vacuum cleaner. A first for me. It was just as good as the time that I fixed the adjusting lever on the front seat of our old Buick. Oh yeah, I am a strong and independent woman, and I don't need a man.

But I have needed my man this week. Martin's been working some more on the ceilings in the stair well. It's a job I am completely incapable of doing on my own. It's looking amazing. Going slowly, but at least it's getting done.

I've also been doing some painting. The dining room is nearly all white now, and it looks really good. It's amazing, how a few shades make such a difference. It's lighter, brighter, and definitely more clean looking. Cream is all well and good, but it does make your walls look just a bit nicotine stained.

The kids and I did a garden tidy this morning. Luckily, BEFORE the freak hailstorm. Things are looking good in the house. We're going to be putting it back on the market as soon as Martin finishes the ceilings. Fingers crossed...

Nothing else is really going on. Well, other than the fact that I've recently been feeling very happy about motherhood, and it's freaking me out. That's a topic that I'll probably broach on my personal blog though, and certainly not this close to American mother's day.

Monday, May 06, 2013

merry men in spades...

...but no Robin Hood.

Yes, that's right. We spent the day in Sherwood forest. Wrap your American heads 'round that. Robin Hood and his merry men, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and snatches of Disney songs running through my head all day long. I got some fabulous pictures, which I will post as soon as I download them to the computer. There was even a medieval May Day celebration going on, for Pete's sake. It was a day straight out of a Hollywood movie.

Every once in a while we go somewhere or do something which reminds me of how utterly cool it is that I live in England. Today was definitely one of those days!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


The view of Martin, standing on a ladder, balanced on a scaffolding plank that is laid across another ladder and resting on the stairs. SCARY!

This has been the longest stretch of good days I've had all year.

Life has been busy, and wonderful. We've been doing school runs, workouts, therapy sessions, DIY, book club, housework, birthday parties, swimming lessons, the lot!

Therapy was pretty intense this week. My anger issues under control for the time being, we are moving on to my intimacy issues. This week we discussed my religion and the guilt that I still struggle with because of it. I'm going to have a little chat with my bishop soon. Not about any unresolved transgressions or anything sordid like that. I just need to understand church policy on some matters and talk with him about the circumstances in which various disciplinary methods are used. It should be interesting. Martin is freaking out about me seeing him. I think he's worried that I will leave the church over this or something. To be honest, it worries Debbie a little bit, too. She is always very careful not to undermine my religious beliefs. But I feel as though it's something that I really need to do in order to move on. I don't think there's any danger of my leaving the church, though it could make for a rough patch. But I swore to myself that I would do whatever it took to finally be free of my rape and the results of it. I'll take a rough patch, if it means that I will be whole at the end of it.

Killer session aside, it really has been a great week. Thanks in great part to some wonderful ladies. I have been making a real effort to be more social lately, and have potentially increased my small circle of friends by two. You may see their names from time to time, so a brief introduction. Ali is a friend from church. She is single and has no children. She's currently training to be a paramedic. She's hopelessly messed up, just like me, and that makes her a great listener and shoulder to cry on. Plus, she's totally amazing. Helen is a new friend from yoga. She recently moved here from Canada, and she is older than me, but artistic, intelligent, and has a great sense of humor. She also came to book club this week, and I'm hoping she's going to turn out to be a good friend. Fingers crossed.

Book club--yeah, that was when this happy glow started. I was sitting on my living room floor because all the seats were taken. I was surrounded by a group of amazing women. I don't have a great deal in common with some of them, but I genuinely like and respect them all. I know I could turn to them if I ever needed anything. Even though we don't share all our hopes and dreams with each other, I sat there and realized that they were all my friends. A whole room full of people. And I realized how very blessed I am in my life right now.

The kids have been absolutely wonderful, too. They have behaved themselves every time we've gone out in public. They're doing well in school. They have been playing together, and saying the strangest and most interesting things to each other. We've had lots of cuddles and plenty of playing together, plus they've been helping me around the house. Of course, we've also had a few bad days. But they are outnumbered by the good ones. It's been a while since that happened.

Stuff is getting done on the house. Martin has been patching the ceiling plaster in our stair wells, and he is nearly ready to paint. That's the last part of our house that hasn't been "done." Everything else is purely cosmetic after this--just a bit of spit polishing. I know we aren't selling the house right now, and that's frustrating. But every time we complete another project I feel as though we're that much closer to moving back home.

This happiness is freaking me out. I feel almost like I'm high. But in a really good and completely natural way!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Perfect, though somewhat surreal, day...

Took the kids to Pearson's Park in Hull today, while Martin did some work at Larkin's for his boss. We had a great time, Martin took longer than expected, and I was nearly late for my Life Drawing session in Scunthorpe. I was furious, but managed to cool down and apologize for snapping at him. Fifteen minutes or so of anger, but the rest of the day was amazing!

The kids went out with their Nanna, Martin went to work, and I did some serious art practice. Everybody won. Except for Martin. Poor guy!

Christine took the kids to a place called Rushmoor Country Park. They got to feed lambs, hold a three week old rabbit, and see some little chinchillas that were born on Edith's birthday. They also got icecream and Malteasers. I'm not sure who had more fun--Christine or the kids.

Meanwhile, at the 20/21 Gallery, I attended my first ever nude life drawing session. And I discovered something unexpected--I am a little bit of a prude.

The model was an older man, about 65 or so. There were seven of us doing the session, and he was wearing a burgundy colored velour dressing gown until we were all ready to start. Then he shucked off his robe at the side of the room and walked nonchalantly to the center of the room. Naked as the day he was born.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time I have seen a naked man other than my husband for over a decade. Let me tell you, it was completely bizarre. Almost as bizarre as how comfortable that man was with his own nudity. I was seriously blown away by how unconcerned he was that his junk was flapping in the breeze in a room full of strangers.

So yeah, nudity is not that casual to me. Nudity is a big deal. Nearly nude, meh. Completely starkers, you had better be my husband or child! I almost felt insulted (on his behalf) that nobody thought his nudity was a big deal.

Of course, then I got over it and spent the next hour and 55 minutes scrutinizing his musculature and bone structure as I sketched him.

An amazing two hours. I was working my tail off, and I am horrifically rusty. But the time flew by all the same, and I left that session with the most amazing buzz. I didn't think that my drawings were any good while I was doing them, but when I got them home and showed them to my mother-in-law, I realized that they are actually quite good. Considering.

Incidentally, when I told the kids that I had been drawing a naked man, they thought it was HILARIOUS!

So then it was dinner, a bike ride (where I found some yarn in a skip and got me a freebie--score!), bath and bed.

It's amazing, how staring intently at a naked old guy for two hours made me so happy. But I'm not going to over-analyze. I'm just going to say that after today I feel more like myself. More fulfilled. Content.

And I haven't even been tempted to dig at my skin tonight!

Friday, April 19, 2013

This feels like the calm before the storm...

I have been strangely content lately. Nothing's really changed. The kids are still the kids, Martin's job is just the same as always, I spend most of my time alone. And yet...

We had a great time while the kids were off school. There were a few days that were tough, for sure, but I was actually a little sad to see them back at school. First time ever.

My temper seems to be under control now. I still get angry and frustrated, but I am dealing with the anger when it occurs instead of holding it in until I explode. I'm sure the Prozac is helping quite a bit (mostly because the changes happened when I started taking it in the morning instead of at night), but it might be because I'm learning and changing.

And yet, part of me doesn't trust this new-found calm. I'm afraid that it's only a matter of time until I lose this control and things slip back to the way they were before. I don't want to go back there!

The other night I started feeling a bit snappish with the kids. It was the first time in nearly three weeks. I got through the evening, tucked them into bed, came downstairs and picked the crap out of my skin on my face and arms. Then I downed a pint of Ben and Jerry's and consoled myself with a night on the sofa. So I'm not taking it out on the kids--I'm punishing myself for getting angry and then trying to make myself feel better. Not healthy.

But at least I'm not doing them any harm. I'm already messed up--the damage is done. I'd ten times rather harm myself than harm my children!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

DO instead of BE

I'm reading "How To Be A Woman" by Caitlin Moran at the moment. Most of the people I know don't have a clue who she is (sadly). She is a Times columnist (London, not Nephi) and TV personality, and I totally have a girl crush on her. I just wish her book wasn't QUITE so sweary, or I would recommend it for book club. It is such a great read.

Anyway, she considers herself to be a feminist. Not in the 1960's sense of the word, with all of those negative connotations, but a "modern" feminist. She poses an interesting "test" to see if you are a feminist as well:

Put your hand in your pants.

1) Do you have a vagina?

2) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, congratulations. You are a feminist.

(Sorry for saying "vagina," Dad and Grandma Lofley)

She poses some interesting questions about our perception of woman, now and throughout history. I've been doing some thinking and re-evaluating, and that can only be a good thing. Currently, this is what I've been thinking about the most:

Men go out and "do." Women tend to stay in and "be." Our lives are very much internal, and we define ourselves by who we are, rather than what we do. So we over think everything. We become introspective and slightly neurotic.


So I've decided that for one night only, I will focus on what I do. Not analyze it to death. Not go all introspective about things, and wonder what it says about me as a person that I prefer reading a book to playing at the park with my kids and just focus on the fact that I brought them there to play and I look up when they call for me.

Hmm, it's a bit refreshing already.

Today has been lovely. It was about 10 degrees (celcius) outside, so the kids and I ventured out with warm jackets instead of coats. Bliss! Got some fresh air, fed the ducks at Water's Edge, had lunch at McDonald's, watched a movie together, had drinks at Stables, enjoyed a short book and a cuddle at bed time, finished the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, and just generally enjoyed each others' company. And though introspective Jamie would wonder why she still didn't feel like a good mother despite devoting all that time to the kids, action-focused Jamie realizes that we spent the whole day together, didn't argue, didn't go hungry, had a good time, got some educational AND spiritual junk in there, and that the kids went to bed tired, happy, and well-loved. I don't care who you are, that is a successful day!

So yeah, No-tech Tuesday. An idea ripped off from the Mundays, and we've had two successful goes. Basically, it is exactly what it sounds like. Every Tuesday, we do not use any technology for entertainment purposed. The exception to the rule is that we CAN listen to music. No TV, no Kindle, no games on phones, no Wii. And the kids don't even ask us, because they know the answer is no. It is seriously nice to have one day a week without all the noise and distraction of technology. The first week we made Easter eggs together. This week we went up to the Mundays and the kids played a board game while Emma and I had a visit. It just feels so wholesome and good!

Edith will get an entire post dedicated just to her for her birthday, because she is that special. But not on introspection-free night. I'm going to go DO something. Just as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The sun came out today...

Literally AND figuratively speaking.

The kids are on Easter holiday from school. Two weeks off seems like a long time when you love your kids but don't often like being a parent.

Wow, that sentence up there makes me seem like SUCH a bad person!

Anyway, I struggle with full on, non-stop motherhood for stretches longer than three days. School holidays aren't something I typically look forward to. But I think this one might be ok.

It's been a cold, snowy spring so far in England. Right now, it looks more like Utah in the spring. Everything is dead from the snow we had, and it's usually green all the time. We've been bundled up to our eyeballs every time we step out of the house, shivering in the mornings, scraping ice off the car windows. Just, blah!

But today it was actually warm. The sun was shining. There was a cold breeze, but if you were out of the wind you didn't need gloves on for the first time this year. It was blissful!

So this morning, before I went to yoga, I decided to hang the washing on the line. It's kind of funny, how doing such a mundane task makes me so happy. Especially if I am wearing a skirt and an apron to do it. But anyway, I was outside humming to myself and pegging washing up to dry, when I had the most brilliant moment of happiness. It was as though I had been working in a dark room, straining to see, and somebody switched on the lights. You know that moment in "The Wizard of Oz" when it switches from black and white to Technicolor? Yeah, it was just like that.

All of a sudden, the world seemed like a brighter and happier place. All because it was warm enough to line dry my clothes. Sad, huh? But such a great moment.

Of course, the feeling didn't last all day. But it did last long enough for me to only snap at the kids a few times before I got them in to bed. And now I get to enjoy some peace and quiet with my own company and a good book.

I'll blog about Edith's birthday, Easter, and our new "no tech Tuesdays" later this week, but right now I need to rinse the chemicals off my hair so it doesn't all fall out. That would probably seriously harsh my spring time buzz!

Monday, March 25, 2013


Sometimes, it doesn't occur to me to let other people do things.

Not like I won't let Martin do the dishes or I won't let my mother-in-law take the kids for an afternoon. I LOVE it when those things happen. I mean other things, like letting Dylan do the vacuuming after tidying up the front room. I taught him how to vacuum a few months ago, but haven't asked him to do it for me since then. I asked him to last week, and he was so excited to help out!

But worse was last Thursday when Edith asked Amy if she wanted to say the prayer. I told her I would say it, and she asked why Amy couldn't. I explained that Amy, who goes to the Church of England, doesn't say prayers the same way we do. She looked at me and said, "Of course I do. I've always wondered why you wouldn't let me say prayers at your house."


Guess what? She said the bed time prayer that night. And from now on, any time one of the kids asks her if she wants to say the prayer, I'll sure let her.

It really made me wonder how often we fail to let people do the things that they would love to do. How often do we exclude people by doing what we think is the "nice" thing to do?

Amy has been having dinner in our home once a week for nearly three years now. I've missed out on three years worth of chances to make her feel loved and welcome in our home by praying with us and for us. Talk about regrets! But I'll do better from this day forward. And I'll be thankful that I've learned this lesson. After all, better late than never. Right?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The power of a good book

Edith is learning phonics, and it's amazing! I sat at KFC with her this afternoon (don't judge me, ok? Mama didn't want to do any cooking!) and made words with her fries. She was reading them, and it blew me away.

I felt the same way when Dylan learned to read. It will never cease to amaze me how quickly kids learn to read. I mean, think about what an abstract concept it is. There are marks on a page that arbitrarily represent sounds. We string them together to create words, though there aren't any hard and fast rules of pronunciation--at least, not with English. So you go from seeing marks on a page to reading War and Peace. Scribbles, to complex ideas. WOW!

This girl is going to be really smart. At first, I worried that she wouldn't be as smart as her big brother. Dylan is so intelligent it's scary. I still don't know if she'll be on par with him, because it's early yet. But she's no dummy. I love that my kids are bright and into books.

Dylan's reading is coming on brilliantly, as well. He's no longer reading "baby books," but has graduated to the big kid ones. His current book had 159 pages, and he loves it.

I'm having visions of long, sunny afternoons in the garden, all of us reading our own books.

Mmmmm...sounds like my idea of heaven!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Whirlwind day...

Seriously, where has the day gone? It was Edith's ballet lesson this morning, and hot chocolate and donuts for breakfast afterwards. Then it was cleaning up, making lunch (and dinner for later), eating, and dashing out to Scunthorpe. It was exchanging some stuff at Primark for the right size, going to the library, supervising the kids in making mother's day cards for me at the 20/21 gallery (mothering Sunday tomorrow). Then it was a quick snack, and off to the Speech and Drama festival trophy showcase. Home then, quick dinner, bath, and bedtime. Then a little tidy up, a Skype call with my mom (hi Mom), and lesson preparation. Now it's blogging, soon to be followed up by more tidying, reading, and bed. Hmmm, maybe I'll squeeze a little yoga in there as well.


Got some thoughts brewing on forgiveness. They really belong on both blogs. But for now, I'd just like to leave this with all of you:

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

My Dylan

Today he participated in the Scunthorpe Speech and Drama Festival. He memorized a poem by Grace Nichols called "Don't Cry, Caterpiller," and recited it in front of a room full of people and a judge. He did it beautifully, and took first place out of 20 other children. He's going to be performing it at a concert on Saturday. Oh, I was so terribly proud of him!

In other Dylan news, he contributed the following items to a recent load of laundry:

A small plastic hedgehog, which he has named Charlotte.

Several notes from school.

A die cast model of a police cruiser.

Some Angry Birds trading cards.

The slug made it into that load without any help from Dylan whatsoever.

Sometimes being a housewife is the funniest job in the whole world. Gross, but funny!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Can of Worms...

Nearly finished with the stairs project--at least what I can do on it. Two of the 16 steps need to be replaced, and that is definitely a Martin job. But I applied the second coat of paint this evening, and they look mighty fine. It has yet to be decided if they will stay pure white. Martin is plumping for funky coloured risers. The jury's still out with me.

I've finally got my DIY momentum back, after a three month hiatus. I've just been feeling that urge to beautify my home. If I was pregnant, I'd think I was nesting. Maybe it's just that spring is happening all around me, and it makes me want to deep clean. Anyway, I'm thrilled that the desire is back. While it's here, I'm making a big push to get stuff done.

My can of worms is this:

I mixed up a batch of filler to repare some of the gaps between the walls and the base boards on the stairs this evening. I mixed up a bit too much, so I went on a little hunt to find any cracks throughout the house that needed filling. I don't think I'll ever be able to stop. My house is more cracks in the walls than it is walls. ARGH!

Now sure, I could just leave them. They've never really bothered me before. But now I've seen how much better it looks when they are filled, and there's no turning back. And, of course, filling the cracks means sanding and then painting as well. What have I done???

Tonight I was just going to work for about an hour. Instead, I worked for two and a half. It's good to get stuff done, but still...

In other news, we had parents' evenings for both kids this week. As usual, we were told that our children are very bright and well adjusted. Dylan is the top of his class in several subjects (but appears to be resting on his laurels at the monent) and Edith is part of a very small, select group of early readers. No, she's not reading yet. But she is learning phonics and beginning to spell very simple three letter words.

Martin is back at work after his (totally amazing) week off, and we all miss him. Especially me, because I love that man to distraction. His schedule is going to be strange for a few weeks because of English Mother's Day, and he's going to be pretty busy for that. They're getting closer to finishing off the upstairs function room at Stables, so that's something to look forward to. They had cocktail night last night, with live music. Fun, huh?

Bottom line is, we are all super busy, happy, and healthy (I don't think I'll ever stop using that silly Oxford comma). So don't worry about us, mom.

Now I need to go try and get some sleep while feeling totally high on paint fumes. Wish me luck.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


My fingers are wrecked and it hurts to type, so I'll be brief.

REALLY busy couple of days over here. They went kind of like this;

Friday: Kids broke up for half term. We celebrated with fish and chips and a movie at home. NICE!

Saturday: Had a "screen free" day. Edith's ballet lesson, walk at Water's Edge, gardening, scooter ride, grocery shop, play at park, etc. Kids only took about 3 minutes to fall asleep. Me too!

Sunday: Church, of course. And Martin worked in the evening, so played single parent.

Monday: DIY marathon, took kids to the park, B&Q shop, more DIY, aquafit in the evening for me.

Tuesday: DIY marathon day (yes, again. Why do you think my fingers hurt?), took the kids to Normanby Hall (met the Mundays there--yay!), more DIY.

So the big project at the moment is the stairs. I am stripping the carpet off the top flight of stairs, then sanding, filling, and painting the steps. It's hard work, but the carpet is all gone and I've done all the sanding and filling. The painting is half done, as well. I would have finished it tonight, but I ran out of paint.

Martin is still working on building me that bed. He's nearly done. As a matter of fact, we should be sleeping in it tomorrow night. I am totally excited, because he's done such a great job on it. My husband is a man of many talents.

Tomorrow should be a good day as well. We are hoping to go to the temple, then we are all going to the football--Leeds v. Blackpool. I'm already tired, just thinking about it. But looking forward to it, all the same. Oh, and yoga. I also have yoga tomorrow.

So far, this has been a really nice half term break. Lets hope it stays that way!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Definitely NOT an "L.M"

As I was standing in the bathroom listening to a podcast about hypoallergenic cats with hair dye on my head and Nair on my arms and upper lip, it suddenly occured to me that for a woman who likes to look fairly natural, I'm actually pretty artificial and high maintenance.

Just a little food for thought...

In other news, I was bitten by the spring gardening bug today. Edith and I went out in the back yard and did a little bit of digging and weeding. It was actually pretty fun. It'll be nice when the days are long enough for me to go out in the back garden after the kids are in bed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The "Dr Seuss phase..."

Edith has just discovered rhyming. She likes to make up nonsensical words, and she sings them to herself in little original songs. Or she shouts them gleefully at the top of her lungs, so proud to have made a rhyme. This is blissfully adorable. Until, that is, she comes up with a rhyming word for "front." And she does it in public. At her father's restaurant. In front of his boss.


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Going hunting...

Lying in bed this morning, I was desperately grasping for something new and fun to do with the kids today. And then in a flash of brilliance, it came to me!

We drove over to Normanby Hall this afternoon, and went hunting for some signs of spring. I gave each of the kids a camera and told them to take pictures of what they found. With a little help from me, here's what they came up with:

Friday, February 08, 2013

What we've been up to...

Going out with Martin to Cathy's engagement party. Digging my new Caruso curlers and that 40's 'do.

Shopping at TK Maxx and trying on sunglasses. Oh, that pout. Future lady killer!

Having her own little tea party in the children's section of Ikea.

Posing in front of the GIANT M&M's in London's Leicester square, just so we could send the photo to the kids.

Getting a Kindle and a smart phone was, like, the worst thing ever...

At least when it comes to my beloved ol' blog. I almost never sit down at the actual laptop any more, and I have yet to figure out that whole "mobile blogging" thing. Apologies to my mother!

Things are going well here. And while I realize that every other time my blog has been neglected it was because I was pregnant, please let me reassure you that is NOT the case now. Martin would kill me if I got pregnant. I am not joking!

Dylan was recently named reader of the week AND mathmatician of the week. He is doing so well in school that I could just burst with pride. SUCH a smart kid. He also managed to swim all the way across the swimming pool completely unaided last week. On his back, as he still has to put his feet down a few times if he's swimming on his front, but still. Progress for the first time on the swimming front. He might even be able to move up to the swimmers class for the next session of swimming lessons.

Edith is growing like a weed lately. She's still got the longest, skinniest legs on the planet, and she just keeps getting taller. I had to go out and buy her new school uniform tops because her old ones were all too short. She's started doing phonics at school, and comes home most days having learnt a new letter and the sound it makes. I'm pretty sure she's going to turn out just as smart as her big brother. Oh, and she got in trouble yesterday at school for drawing on one of her classmate's face with a marker. When I asked her why she had done it, she told me it was "to be funny." That girl!

Martin is doing well. He's been staying busy at work, though they have had a few quiet nights. That's pretty normal for the period between New Years and Valentines Day. He's been building me a bed, and is nearly finished with it. I'll post pictures as soon as it's been assembled in our bedroom (really soon, I hope). It should be beautiful, because he is a really handy sort of fella.

We had a date on Wednesday night. We saw the new Denzel Washington film, "Flight." Wow, that should be required viewing for members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Good movie. I get to choose what we see next time :)

And me? Well, I'm still attending weekly therapy sessions with my friendly neighborhood psychologist. It's hard--emotionally draining and very painful--but doing some good. It's amazing, how she can listen to me and understand me, then very skillfully manipulate the conversation so that I end up drawing the conclusions that she's already reached by myself. If someone tells you why you are doing something, or that you feel a particular way, you just think they're nuts. If you realize it on your own, if you verbalize it, then you have to admit that it is true. I've had some very emotional sessions lately, and some major shifts in the way that I perceive a lot of events in my past.

This journey isn't an easy one to take. I've lied to myself, I've justified things and sugar-coated them as a way of coping. And seeing them the way they actually happened, with a clear and logical eye and with the benefit of hindsight, leaves me feeling raw and exposed. In some ways, it's like re-living some very painful experiences. But for me, understanding WHY I do things the way I do, knowing WHY I am so crazy about some things, actually helps. Because when you understand the reasoning behind your decisions, however flawed, you can change. And that's what I want to do more than anything.

One more week in school until half term, and a whole week off. Martin just told me this afternoon that he is going to have the whole week off, and I did a little happy dance. Now I am looking forward to the break instead of half-dreading it. We'll have a week to just hang out as a family. If it's anywhere near as good as the Christmas break was, we'll all have a good time. Especially because we aren't all sick this time 'round. Well, not right now anyway. Anything could happen in the next week.

I'm desperately trying to think of anything new and exciting in our lives, but I've got nothing. That's the beauty, and the curse, of having a stable life. No drama. A little bit boring. I'm making a new rag rug for my living room. Is that exciting?

So, I'm signing off for now. With a promise that I will try to blog at least once a week. Maybe twice.


Friday, January 25, 2013


Remember last December when Dylan cut all of Edith's hair off? Remember how sad and angry I was?

Well, that girl had developed a bad habit of twirling her hair. She twirls it into knots, then pulls out big clumps of hair. She has given herself quite a few bald spots, and her scalp was showing through like crazy. We've tried everything to get her to stop, without success. So this evening I took her to CV Day Spa and requested a pixie cut.

It's VERY cute!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When did it happen?

When did I actually start to care what other people thought about me?

I remember being 17 and not caring at all.

I remember being 21 and caring even less than I had before.

I remember being 25 and not really noticing.

Now, I think about it all the time.

What's happened to me?

I worry all the time. Is my hair colour too brassy? Does it make me look cheap? Am I too old for cats' eye black eyeliner? Does it still look fun and retro, or do I just look like an old tart? Are my kids behaving, or are they making me look like an inept parent? What does HE think? What does SHE think? What do THEY think?

When did all of those questions start to matter more than this one:


If I like the colour I dye my hair, who cares if it's bright and brassy? If I like my makeup and it makes me feel sexy, does it matter if it makes me look a little bit old and sad? If I know I'm doing the best I can raising my kids, does it really matter if they occasionally misbehave? After all, that doesn't mean I'm a bad parent.

I'm so tired of trying to be who I think I ought to be. It's exhausting, and the cracks are really starting to show. But I've been working towards some imaginary ideal for so long that it has started to feel like what I actually want. Now I don't know who I really am, or who I really want to be. What I want to do and be.

How do you rediscover that at the age of 34? Surely I should have sorted that in my teens or early twenties...

Introspection isn't always a good thing. Maybe I should wake my kids up so I can focus on them instead :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Chillin' with my girl...

Edith and I are currently engaged in the vital task of holding the sofa down and keeping British Gas in business. We are snuggling under a Thomas the Tank Engine fleece and watching CBeebies. Oh, and it's snowing outside. Bliss!

I love my afternoons with Edith. I'm going to be a little bit sad when she starts full days at school in September. We have so much fun watching telly, cooking dinner, snuggling, and going shopping together. What will I do without my little afternoon buddy? Probably get a job. Urgh!

It seems we may have turned a corner with our little family. Yesterday at church, both kids were (relatively) quiet all through Sacrament meeting and I actually got to listen to all the talks. And, more amazingly, the talks were all good! Church is starting to be enjoyable again instead of just hard work.

I also have a new calling. Did I already mention that? I'm teaching the 14-18 year old youth Sunday School class. I really love teaching that class, because the students are such fun to be around. I leave there with so much energy it's unreal. I'm still teaching Relief Society once a month as well, which I also love. All in all, I'm feeling pretty jazzed about church at the moment. It makes a nice change.

Saturday was a hard day. The kind of day that would have levelled me before I was on my happy drugs (hooray for Prozac). But it ended very well, with a big snuggle and a long talk about how much I loved Dylan and Edith and they made me happy. The real saving grace of the day though was the "Stuff You Should Know" podcast on my phone. And the free creche at IKEA, of course, which gave me an hour to myself. Bless you, IKEA!

Martin is whisking me away to London for my birthday this weekend. The kids are going to stay at their Nanna and Grandad's house. I can hardly wait for Friday. Seriously, SO excited. We're going to get some cheap seats to a West End show and go to the National Gallery--you know, pretend to be cultured and stuff. I always look forward to time alone with my husband. I love that man to distraction.

I'd better go find the snow shovel--just in case. Wow, it's really coming down out there. Hot chocolate may be in order :)

Man, isn't my life so hard?

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

He's been replaced...

The kids don't like to hold hands with each other when we say our family prayers. Not a problem when Martin is home, because they each hold one of our hands. Unfortunately, he's at work five nights a week.

So tonight I suggested we let a teddy bear take Daddy's place in the circle. It worked brilliantly, but Dylan said the following during his prayer:

"Thank you for helping us find someone to take Daddy's place when he's at work."

Poor Martin, replaced by a stuffed toy!

We've had a lovely Christmas break, and Dylan's back at school tomorrow. Edith goes back on Thursday. We've all been sick over the last few weeks, but had a great time anyway. The best part of it was sleeping in 6 days a week. No major incidents, good times had by all.


Back to early mornings tomorrow, but back to mornings free with my husband. Bitter sweet!