Thursday, December 18, 2014


My Nana died on the 7th of December, and her funeral was held last Thursday. I couldn't be there.

Krystle had her iPhone with her, and Skyped me during the funeral. Technically very against the rules, and probably a massive drain on her battery, but it was very much appreciated. I got to sit in my dining room and, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, watch my Nana's funeral. It was really beautiful. You know it was a good funeral if you spend a good portion of it laughing, and we did. My Nana was an incredible woman--so full of life and fun and energy. She is remembered fondly by all who knew her. Especially the ones who knew her before Alzheimer's took it's toll.

Part of me is glad that I wasn't there more often. I didn't have to see her slowly fading away. In my mind, Nana will always be young(ish) and healthy. Still a feisty ball of energy with a can-do attitude and no patience for foolishness. I loved that woman so much!

Probably the hardest part of not getting to attend the funeral, other than not being able to be with the rest of the family, was not seeing her body. I know that sounds strange and a bit macabre, but I really wish I could have attended a viewing. Because I wasn't there, I never saw her in the coffin. So in a very real sense, it hasn't sunk in yet that she's gone. Actually being there would have given me a sense of closure.

My heart goes out to my Grandpa, and to my dad and uncles. Nana and Grandpa were married for 65 years (I think--give or take a few months), and they haven't been apart for very much of that time. Certainly not in the past 5 years or so. Grandpa must be missing her terribly. They were always such a perfect couple. They complemented each other in so many ways. And I remember how hard it was for my mom when her dad died, and can only imagine what my dad must be going through at this time.

And so, once again, I have missed a big family event--something I should have been there for, and missed because we are stuck in England. I knew Nana wasn't well, and I wanted with all my heart to be back in Utah by now. If things had worked out according to plan, I would have been there!

I love England. I love living here, and I adore my friends and family here. But I should have been home. I belong over there, not here. And that is always my biggest regret.

I also missed a birthday--just yesterday. ShaNeil got one step closer to the big 3-0. Still not there yet, but not long now! I remember the day she was born. It was a Thursday (early day at the elementary school). We got home from school, and Nana and Grandpa were there. They told us we had a sister, and drove us up to the Payson hospital to meet her and brought us home. And although I was never that interested in babies (some things never change), I think my baby sister is totally amazing! A wonderful wife, mother, daughter, and especially a wonderful sister.

It's all about family right now, and how badly I wish I could be with them. All of them! The Cooks, the Bowcutts, and the Lofleys. Somebody really needs to come over and visit!

Barring that, somebody really needs to buy my bloomin' house already!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Life isn't measured in dates...

For me, life is measured in events. Like the Barton Christmas fair, which we attended on Saturday. And baby seal season at Donna Nook, and the Lincoln Christmas market, the first snowdrops of the year, the rhododendron blooming at Twigmoor Woods, the plums being ripe at the Humber Bridge viewing area. These are the events that I measure our time by. And so, another year has passed since the last Barton Christmas fair.

It's becoming tradition to browse the stalls, buy the kids a small treat (for Dylan, a new hat--for Edith, a bag of cotton candy), let them play in the fun house whilst I enjoy my annual bag of roasted chestnuts, let the kids eat some chestnuts and wait for Edith to declare that she STILL doesn't like them, visit Martin at work for 5 minutes, then go home for a late dinner and bed.

Sadly, I feel like we've missed some of the milestones this year. Don't get me wrong, they still happened. but I haven't had the energy to go out and experience them. We never went to Twigmoor Woods this year. It's been several years since we saw the baby seals. I know it's early for New Year's resolutions, but one of mine will definitely be to go out and experience life, even if I feel too tired to do it. Suck it up, buttercup will be my new motto.

Plus, I've started running again. That should help with the energy levels. and maybe I'll start hitting the tanning beds twice a week or so. Tis' the season for SAD!

November and December in England are absolutely BRUTAL!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Thanksgiving, another year in England.

This year, I didn't try to make my UK family celebrate it on the day with me. I was working, and my book club ladies were supposed to be coming over in the evening, so I decided to schedule our Thanksgiving celebration for Sunday evening. Easier for everybody, really.

So my Thanksgiving was spent at Beck Hill Motors, and our evening meal was vegetarian chili. Though I did treat myself to some Haagen Daz (pralines n cream. Divine!). And tomorrow I will be baking and peeling like crazy. It's going to be fun.

I didn't really reflect on my blessings and the many things I am grateful for. Instead, I was a giant stressball and my kids were being very unhelpful. So I told them off and made Dylan cry. But, in my defense, he WAS embarrassing me in front of company, and I absolutely WAS disappointed in him. It goes for both of them, but more so for Dylan. He's older, and I expect better.

But tonight is movie night, and I think we are all looking forward to snuggles and popcorn. Oh, and an extremely easy dinner of chicken nuggets and oven chips. Plus, I have decided that I'm not going to bother cleaning the house until they go to bed. It's how I used to do the housework when they were little, and I can still do it now. I don't like it, but it's ok. It will probably make me less likely to make my kids cry. And I can listen to any music I want once they are in bed--no stressing about any swear words!

Anyway, time to make my grocery shopping list. Let the Thanksgiving day preparations begin!

Saturday, November 15, 2014


I remember what a huge deal it was when Dylan got his first tooth. It seems like only yesterday.

Well, this afternoon he lost his first tooth. We were having some lunch when he told me it was loose, and twenty minutes later (as we walked around Matalan looking at church shirts) it was in his hand.

I have to say, there was considerably less drama with him losing it than there was when the first one came in!

Though it pains me to say this, I ALMOST wish I could stop the clock and keep my babies just a little bit longer. They are practically disappearing right before my eyes.

Tooth fairy duty tonight. This is almost as much fun as his first Christmas.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy (early) Halloween...

The kids are going to Castledyke School's Halloween disco tonight. They normally hold it a lot closer to Halloween, but they will be on their half term break next week. So tonight Edith will be dressing as a witch and Dylan will be a zipper faced ninja. Fun, huh?

They are both excited to go to the disco. Last year, Edith won the prize for best costume as the Corpse Bride. They love getting dressed up, and they love to dance. I really just want this night to be over already.

I am at work right now, and when I get home I have to get the kids ready, feed them dinner, and get them over to the dance by 6pm. Oh, and Amy will be there for dinner as well. Then I will need to pack bags for them to go to the caravan with their grandparents for 3 nights, and pack bags for Martin and myself to go to London for the weekend. We will be attending a costume party down there, so the packing is going to be involved. Then I will be back at work tomorrow morning and working until 3pm. After which we will drive over to the caravan sight in Yorkshire and then head down to London. I'm already exhausted!

Things are going well here, though the year is flying by far too quickly for my liking. I have missed all the apples and pears this year. It seems as though they were nearly ripe one morning and falling from the trees the next. I wish I'd made some applesauce or something. But hey ho, it is what it is. Christmas will be upon us before we know it. And I haven't even made my Christmas pudding yet!

Martin has a new boss at work. Chris and Danny sold the business to a man called Phil. Jury's still out on this development. Could be good, could be a disaster. It's still early days. But Martin is at a work related golf tournament today, so he's a happy man for the time being. Green King Brewery, I think. Last year he golfed at their event with our brother-in-law John, and they won. Fingers crossed for this year!

I have been busy doing all sorts of crafty things. Most recently, I made Edith a black crocheted witch's fascinator and fingerless gloves for her Halloween costume. They look amazing. I've also been re-making my living room rug (for the third time!) and sewing a long ivory cloak for an angel costume. Lots of fun crafts going on!

Edith came home with a student of the week award last week. Apparently, she was in charge of supervising an art project in her class, and she did a great job. That doesn't surprise me. She is a very assertive young lady!

Dylan got a gold award for number bonds in maths. He continues to excel in maths and science, and so far he still wants to be a scientist when he grows up. I know that he will be more than capable of that!

Unfortunately, my genius children woke me up at 5am today, after I stayed up until 1am working on Edith's Halloween costume. So I am going to stop typing before I fall asleep at my desk, and get some work done.

PS Watch Facebook or Instagram for photos of the kids in their costumes!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Let's get physical...

I am at work today, but I still went to the gym. Packed a bag last night so I could get ready for work there. Then I rode my bike to work after I got home, and rode it home and back for my lunch break. I'll be cycling home as well, obviously. It's amazing, how something as exhausting as exercise can give you so much more energy than you normally have.

Been struggling to go to the gym lately. Before I got my job, I was going four or five times a week. Lately it's been more like one or two. Mostly because I ALWAYS exercised on Thursdays and Fridays. Now, well, I'm sitting on my bum at work drinking peppermint tea and thinking about how hungry I am. Body is suffering for it!

Oh well--I have renewed my dedication to the gym. Moving forward...

My baby brother has officially gone on his mission. Well, he's gone into the MTC. He ought to be in Brazil by now, but he is still waiting for his visa. Poor kid! He sent his first e-mail home earlier this week. My mom e-mailed all of us a copy of their messages, and it was adorable. I especially liked the part where he told my mother that if she kept checking his e-mails, he would have to change the password!

Wow, I'm glad we didn't have e-mail, facebook, instagram, etc. when I was growing up. Seriously, my mom would have been snooping on ALL of it (deny it if you can, Sharlene)!

Martin keeps working away at the top bedroom in our house, getting ready to move the kids into it. The wardrobes and built in bookshelves are nearly finished. He built the window seat last night. It's looking really good, and I am excited for the kids to move up into their new and improved bedroom.

I have been using this DIY time to refinish some furniture. We got given some lovely solid wood bedroom furniture, but it had been painted cream with big lilac polka dots. I didn't have the time to do much with it, so I went for a quick fix and painted it all black. It looked good the way it was in the top bedroom, but it's all changing now. So I have been up there with a heat gun and a paint scraper, working my guts out. I have almost finished stripping all the paint off the wardrobe. Then I am going to sand it down a bit and wax it. Because of all the other paint on it, the wardrobe now has a very vintage shabby chic look that would be almost impossible to fake. It's going to be really gorgeous when I'm finished. Now I just need to decide where it's going to live once it's all restored. And then, of course, I will need to move on to the dresser and the night stand.

Dylan has signed up for an after school football club. He's not a very good player, but he's having a great time. He's never been exceptionally coordinated, to be honest. He was super slow to crawl and even slower to walk. He's not very brave about trying new physical activities. It took him ages to learn how to ride a bike with no stabilisers. Yesterday he was trying to run with Edith's skipping rope, and failing miserably. Bless him, he is all about the brain!

Edith has signed up for a multi-sport after school club (different night than Dylan's, unfortunately). She is loving that, as well. And with each kid gone a different afternoon every week, it gives Martin and me a chance to spend one-on-one time with each of them. She is still loving to help out. She is also sucking on her hair almost constantly, and talking like a baby as well. It is a constant battle to get her hair out of her mouth, and I have threatened on many occasions to just have it all cut off if she can't stop doing it. Seriously, driving me crazy!

We are all doing well though. Staying really busy and trying to get the house ready for possible auction in February. Fingers crossed that it works out soon, because we are getting anxious to move back to Utah so we can be with our friends and family there.

Now excuse me while I take a quick nap at my desk. This lady is exhausted!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Workin' nine to five...

No, not a post about Dolly Parton (though I LOVE her!).

As per usual, it is all about me. Or, more specifically, my job.

My lovely boss, Elaine, has been on holiday in Tunisia, so I worked 4 days last week instead of 2. Unfortunately for her, she came home with a tummy bug as a souvenir. So I have ended up working this week as well. I have worked six out of the last nine days, and momma isn't used to this much office time.

I woke up this morning with a feeling of dread and sadness that I haven't felt since I first started working outside the home. I haven't been able to drop the kids off at school. I haven't been there when they got home. I haven't prepared their evening meals. I haven't exchanged gossip with the other mums on the school run. I haven't had a single day to myself to crack on with housework or extra DIY projects. I haven't been able to go to the gym. And I am going to be back at work on Thursday and Friday.

Today is going to be especially manic. I will be taking an extra long lunch break so I can drive to Scunthorpe and give a massage. It was supposed to be yesterday, until I got called in to work. I told Elaine I could only work today if I could work around my regular massage client. So I will be grabbing a burger on my way home and coming back to man the desk here. And then going home and trying to squeeze in that whole parenting thing.

I don't know how all those working mothers do it. Seriously, it's only been nine days and I feel like I am burning the candle at both ends. This is one intense juggling act!

But the extra money will be nice, and I am hopefully saving all of the Beck Hill Motors employees from exposure to weird Tunisian germs. And then next week, things should be back to normal.

I only hope it doesn't take too long to catch up on the housework. ARGH!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Lucky thirteen!

Thirteen years ago yesterday, I was lucky enough to marry the coolest guy I knew. And guess what--he is still the coolest guy I know.

Seriously, I am still so madly in love with my husband. He's gorgeous, hard working, talented, caring, affectionate, creative, kind, intelligent, and very generous. He even thinks he's funny!

I never could have imagined all those years ago how I feel about him now. I thought I loved him then, but I have discovered a depth of feeling I never knew I was capable of. Martin has helped me learn and grow as a person. He has helped me become more patient and loving. He has given me children. He has supported us all. He has continued to love me through some very tough times. I am truly blessed to be called Mrs. Gilbert!

My dad insisted he was only marrying me for the green card. Martin and I still laugh about that. Thirteen years is a long time to work for an immigrant visa!

Sadly, we didn't get to see much of each other yesterday. My boss is in Tunisia so I am working four days this week instead of my usual two. But we did go out on a date on Saturday night. The kids had a sleepover with their Nanna, and we watched "The Giver" and ate delicious Turkish food (oh, I forgot to mention that Martin has expanded my culinary horizons!). The best part of our anniversary date is that we never ran out of things to talk about. And we hardly talked about the kids at all.

Ever watch Monty Python's "Meaning of Life"? There is a scene where a middle aged couple is having dinner in an authentic Medieval dungeon and they order a conversation. Watch the video above...

Luckily, our conversations don't go like that.


Anyway, I love you Martin, Here's to another thirteen years...

Friday, September 12, 2014


We just got back from a three week trip to the U.S. It was amazing!

My Daddy Doug paid for our tickets, which was so incredibly generous of him. And he picked me and the kids up from the airport, too. The kids did so well with the trip over, only losing it when our flight in Charlotte was delayed by two hours. They were so tired, and there were tears involved. But all in all, they were real troopers!

We spent our first week without Martin, who had to work. We got to hang out with Grandpa Doug, and meet his new girlfriend. Her name is Michelle, and she is very lovely. We got to have a Bowcutt family BBQ. We got to do some shopping. We saw all of the Cook family during that first week. Dylan got to eat several Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy's.

Martin arrived just shy of a week after we did. His flight was WAY more enjoyable than mine! It was so nice to see him. Being away from each other for so long always reminds me how much I love my husband. He's my best friend in the whole world, and I'm crazy about him.

Anyway, I won't bore anyone with all the details. I will just say that we had a magical time, filled with family, friends, and fun. And it was really hard to come back to England.

Before we left, I was toying with the idea of giving up on my dream of moving back to Utah. I was debating (with myself) the merits of raising my kids there or staying here. And after spending time back with my family, I have decided that Utah is definitely where I want to be. I am so much happier there. And not just because we were on holiday, either. I was doing pretty much what I would have been doing if we had been back in England, with the kids off school and me off work. I was so much happier because my family was there.

I remember one night just sitting around talking to all my sisters, brother, and brothers-in-law. The kids were running around like maniacs. It was absolute chaos, which I normally don't like at all. But I looked around the room and just soaked up all the love that was there. And I realized that THIS is what I've been missing. My family aren't perfect. There's noise and drama, just like any other family. But they are MINE! I miss them so much that it actually hurts.

And can I take a moment to talk about my older brothers, Justin and Chris? And their wives, Nikki and Melanie? I didn't know them growing up, but I am loving the chance I've had to spend more time with them, too. They are great people, and I want to continue developing my relationship with them.

Oh, and my new niece and nephews--they are a great addition to the family. And my adorable niece that I met for the first time on this trip. ALL of my nieces and nephews, really.

Sometimes, I look around at my siblings and parents and wonder how I got so lucky. They are so amazing!

So we are back in sleepy little Barton-upon-Humber now. And I have come home with a renewed desire to sell our house and move back to Utah. Also, my sisters' homes have inspired me. So this means, of course, that I am extra motivated to do more DIY projects. And with that aim, I have gone to work...

Painting the tiles in the bathroom white (the walls are next, after I finish the second coat of tile paint.

Painting the top bedroom and having Martin draw up plans for some built in storage (including a window seat--how fun is that?) so we can move the kids up there. Also needs a second coat!

Buying the paint to refresh the third bedroom, which we will be turning into a guest bedroom/reading room. It's going to be really super nice!

And work continues on my double wedding ring quilt. I'm almost ready to sew the blocks together. Then it's just binding and quilting, which I intend to do by hand. GREAT winter project, huh? I want to do another patchwork quilt after this one, too. It would seem I've caught the quilting bug. Oh no!

Oh, and speaking of sewing...Martin picked me up a sewing machine off the side of the road. It was out next to somebody's bins for our rubbish collection. It had a small problem which was easily fixed, and I have started using it. It's a much more basic model than my mother-in-law's machine that I'd been borrowing, but it's a Singer, and it is much more pleasant to sew on. In fact, I was working on my quilt on my lunch break. Because it's fun, and it's like Mormon housewife crack!

As soon as I get my busted phone repaired, I will be posting photos on the blog, facebook, and my newly acquired instagram account.

Now, it's back to work.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Granny bike...

I recently posted a picture on Facebook of the bicycle that Martin is restoring for me. It's a vintage bike, made in Barton. Probably manufactured in the very building I work in, where I am typing this now. How very locally minded of me, huh?

We found this bike at the Walton Street market in Hull, a twice weekly market and car boot sale. The first time I saw the bike, I fell in love with it. The man wanted £35 for it, and we decided not to get it that day. A few weeks later we went back, and I got the bike for £25. We bought some painting and sanding supplies and a few other bits and pieces, then my very clever husband went to work on it.

This bike was a hideous mixture of pastel purple, violet, and rust. The brakes, gears, and wheels were covered in decades of greasy dirt. The cable covers were cracked and splitting. It looked a mess. But it looks beautiful now, and is (almost) ready to hit the road. The bolts need some serious tightening, and Martin needs to finish painting and fitting the chain guard and both mud guards to the tyres. Oh, and the mechanism that allows me to shift gears (all three of them).

I took the bike for a short ride on Sunday, and it is a joy to ride! Which comes as a massive relief, and I'll tell you why:

A few weeks ago I was running late for work and when I went to grab the car keys I found that Martin had taken them with him on the school run. So I grabbed his bike and started cycling to work. NIGHTMARE! It was so hard for me to ride it. I had to lower the seat so I could get on, and then the seat was so low that I couldn't extend my legs fully to pedal. I was shaky and nervous the whole time I was on that bike. I thought it was just me, that I couldn't properly ride a bike any more. I worried that my fitness wasn't good enough to ride (which is weird, because I ride a stationary bike at the gym all the time). I felt kind of crappy after I got to work, because I was sweaty and winded, and my legs were on fire. So imagine my relief when, after riding my "new" bike for about the same amount of time, I was nothing but jazzed!

So Martin has borrowed a socket set (the one he needed for my bike was missing!) and will be sorting out the bolts tonight. Hooray! The kids and I might go for a bike ride down to Butts Road park tomorrow--with a picnic. If only I had the basket for the bike. But I won't get that until next week!

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the bike has cream leatherette handlebar grips? That I will be getting a matching saddle for it? That it came with a basket hook and I will be buying a locally made willow basket for the front? And I have my eye on some beautiful leather panniers?

Yes, my dream bicycle is a granny bike. I will be riding it in my skirt with pride!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I miss it...

I never thought I'd feel thus way, but I miss being a mother of young children. Don't get be wrong, I much prefer older ones. But parenting was simpler when the kids were small. Basically, if they were putting on weight at a steady rate, clean, and hitting their developmental milestones,you knew you were doing it right. I like knowing I'm doing it right! I don't know that any more.

Dylan has been caught stealing again. What can I do to make him see how wrong this is?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Holy smarts, Batman!

The kids have moved up to their new classes. They always spend the last few weeks of the school year with their new teachers here. Don't really know why. I guess so that the teachers can mentally prepare themselves for the new school year before they go on their six week break.

Anyway, Dylan has moved up two classes. Again. I'm kind of getting to the stage where I expect it. He's wicked smart. His teacher, Mrs. Coultas, pulled us to the side and told us that Dylan is probably the brightest pupil she's ever had. No surprise there. Seriously, his intelligence is formidable. I'm worried that he might be so smart he ends up being a sociopath, albeit a high functioning one. Think Sherlock Holmes (as played by Benedict Cumberbatch, of course).

Edith was the real dark horse though. She is very clever, but much more socially inclined than Dylan. I knew she would definitely be going up to the year one class, not the Reception/year one split. But she went up two classes as well. Go Edith! Bless her heart, Dylan is always so far ahead of her so I forget how bright she is for her age. But I'm not worried about her being a sociopath, either.

I am so blessed as a mother. My kids are naughty sometimes, of course. And they drive me up the wall sometimes, too. But they're kids. Isn't that what they are supposed to do? They are also warm, caring, affectionate, intelligent, loving, and helpful. Not every parent is so lucky. And the fact that they're also beautiful? Icing on the cake!

It's been a tough week. I've had this slowly building feeling of complete paranoia. Everyone hates me. Everyone is mad at me. I've done horrible things to people that I don't know about, and they can't forgive me. Something terrible is about to happen. I've felt this way for days, and have kept quiet about it. Mostly because I knew it was irrational. It all hit me really hard on Tuesday night, when the dumbest thing sent me over the edge. I was curled up in the fetal position, crying like a baby and trying to get in touch with someone to talk to. Martin called me back, and he came home from work to just hold me and let me cry. He smelled like chips and pizza, but the hug was wonderful and I seem to be feeling a bit better.

Scary though, because I haven't felt that way since I went on antidepressants. I'm going to give it another week, then if things aren't any better I am going to have my IUD removed and send Martin in for the big "V." He's already cringing and hoping my body adjusts!

Other than that, things are going well. Still no joy on the house, but that's ok. I am enjoying getting on with projects. I finished the throw pillows for the sofa reupholstering job on Sunday, and that looks great. I also redid the living room rug and painted some frames that were hanging on the wall in there. The living room is looking very serene and lovely. Nearly where I want it to be. My bedroom is looking very nice as well. I need to get the kids moved up to the top bedroom soon, so I'll be decorating up there as my next project. It's going to be a bit of a nuisance, but it'll be nice to have a reading/guest room upstairs, with easier access to the upstairs bathroom. And the kids will love being in the top bedroom.

Martin is doing well at work. They are having a month of American food at Stables. I'm itching to try it. I consulted on the menu, and I am really craving a corn dog and some country fried steak. Yum. They aren't as busy as they've been in the past, but a new place recently opened up so that's to be expected. People love novelty, don't they? He's golfing as I type this. And he's got his birthday tomorrow off work. Hooray!

Still in the process of transferring funds to our UK bank account, so haven't bought tickets for our Utah trip yet. It's looking like it'll be late August though, since the kids don't finish school until late July and in early August it's just too expensive to fly! More news as soon as I've got an update for you.

Happy fourth of July, all my American peeps!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My youthful acne, offset perfectly by my grey hair!

I got a new Mirena IUD on Monday. I feel like it's such a great birth control option, and I have always loved it. Almost from day one, five long years ago when I got my first one.

Not really loving it this week, though.

First of all, there was the removal of the old one and insertion of the new. Apparently, not usually a painful process. Well, it bloomin' was for me. My Mirena had embedded itself in my uterus, and they had to pull it out. You know that scene in "The Matrix" where they remove the "bug" from Neo? Yeah, it kind of looked like that. Foreign body covered in my blood, weird little tentacles and all. It hurt SO bad that I nearly threw up. It doesn't help that the vagus nerve is there, and stimulating it can trigger your gag reflex. Anyway, it was not a nice time. But putting the new one in was easy after that. Always a silver lining!

The day was really busy, too. I had to give a massage, then go to Dylan's sports day and have a house viewing (they are not buying). Definitely a day for very strong pain killers!

Now I am enjoying all the benefits of a fresh, and slightly stronger, dose of hormones. I am breaking out. It's freakish, because I haven't had acne problems since, well, forever. Not particularly troubled with bad skin even as a teenager. So the giant pimple on my cheek (of all the stupid places to have a pimple!) is completely driving me crazy.

On a positive note though, it seems like the new Mirena is getting my mood swings under control. Looking forward to brighter days ahead...

Monday, June 23, 2014


I just conducted a little experiment with my kids. Dylan was swinging around a tape measure, and I have told him MANY times that it is dangerous. So I had him bring it in the kitchen. I got out a block of cheese and asked him how I normally cut cheese for him. "With a knife," he said, since he is a smart kid. Then I proceeded to cut some cheese with the tape measure. You know, to demonstrate how you can cut someone quite badly with that thin metal. Dylan just looked at me a little bit blankly and said, "Can I have that cheese?" Is it too late to turn down this parenting gig?

Friday, June 20, 2014


I have been thinking about makeup lately. More specifically, how the makeup trends change over the years.

Does anybody remember that line from "My Girl" when Jamie Lee Curtis's character is teaching the main character how to apply makeup? She says "You can never have too much blue eyeshadow!" I remember how it made me giggle, because I started wearing makeup in the 90's.

Funny, how you can always tell a 90's picture by the makeup. Because it was nothing special at the time, really. You went for nude colours on your eyes and cheeks, and VERY dark lipstick. That's just how everybody's face was, and it didn't seem like a makeup trend at all. Just a sensible way of applying the stuff. But now, that style of makeup sticks out like a sore thumb. Just as much as the blue eyeshadow of the 70's or the bubblegum pink lipstick and racing stripe blush of the 80's.

And now? Well, I'm too old now to be totally clued in to makeup trends. I guess only time will tell what the defining look of the Noughties and the teens will be. But I'm pretty sure one day we'll be able to look at photos and go "Man, look at that makeup. SO 2005!"

Deep and intellectual, huh? Pop culture is important, too!

In other exciting BLOG news, we are trying to plan a trip back to Utah for this summer. Any dates we should know about so we can try to accommodate?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Never going back!

I decided to make myself a circle skirt yesterday. I watched an online tutorial on YouTube and it seemed pretty simple. So a friend of mine came along for the ride, we went to Scunthorpe, and I got my supplies. A seam gauge, some new white thread, five yards of fabric. And some dressmaking scissors. Oh, the dressmaking scissors! They are perfection personified. Just using them makes me feel like a more confident seamstress. The weight of them, the size of the blades. The ease with which they cut through four layers of poly cotton blend-like a hot knife through butter! How did I ever use cheap Ikea scissors? Yeah, they cost me £20 ($30). And they were worth every penny. Seriously, I want to do more projects just so I can use those scissors some again! This is even better than the letter opener. Why am I such a nerd?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Little tea leaf!

Which is, of course, Cockney rhyming slang for THIEF!

Dylan stole just over £4 from his dad a few mornings ago. Of course, he got in trouble for it. At this point, "trouble" means that we will not be buying him any more World Cup trading cards for the next two weeks. Pretty serious stuff when you are six years old and World Cup mad!

It was really interesting, talking to him about why it is wrong to steal. He is still at that stage developmentally where he thinks it is only bad if he gets caught. Obviously, some people never get past that phase. I hope he will. We're certainly doing our best.

The thieving incident, combined with all the YA fiction I've been reading lately and the police helicopter circling Barton for about 20 minutes a few days ago, has me thinking about rebellion and anarchy. Weird connection, I know. But I was thinking about George Orwell's classic, "1984," and how "Big Brother is always watching you." And then it occurred to me that even if Big Brother WAS always watching me (and I live in England, so let's face it, he probably IS), I never do anything that would get me in trouble.

Is that a good thing, or is it a little bit sad?

Probably a good thing, right? It means that the government regime I live under is not overly controlling. It also means that I am a law-abiding citizen.

On the other hand, it sort of means that I am a meek little sheep, blindly being led and governed in such a way that I would never go against the status quo.


Maybe I should stick to autobiographies for a little while. Imagination is going into overdrive.

Oh, and on another note:

The Urban dictionary defines "YOLO" as "Carpe diem for stupid people."

Just had to share, peeps. Because, well, you only live, err, carpe diem!

Friday, June 06, 2014

I don't feel that old!

I looked in the mirror the other night, and I saw my mother looking back at me. Only for a moment. I usually see my father (but more feminine!). And then I did a little mental maths to work out how old I was when my mom was my age. I was twelve.

I do not feel as old as I thought my mother was when I was twelve!

Maybe it is a little bit different for me, since my mother started having children when she was younger and I was 28 when I had my first baby. But maybe it's not.

I still feel like I am playing mom most of the time. I am so unsure of my parenting, and mostly feel as though I'm making it up as I go along. I still sometimes resent the way the children have taken over my life. I feel like I am still young enough to be out having fun, but I can't because of my kids. Did my mom feel like that at 35, too? If she felt that way with teenagers, how did she cope? Because I seriously thought she had it all together...

Hopefully I am fooling my kids into thinking I know what I'm doing!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Mobile blogging app downloaded to my phone. Just testing it out. Next up? Posting photos to the blog from my phone...

Random thoughts I've been having recently...

1. It's completely absurd, just how much I love letter openers. Seriously, hardly anybody sends letters any more so the only opening I have to do is usually bills. And fingers work just fine for that job. But there's something so satisfying about sliding that letter opener in between the gap of an envelope and sliding it along that top crease. And then you have that nice, neat slit in your envelope instead of an uneven tear all along the top. Yes, I know the envelope is going in the bin. It can't even be recycled because of the glue. But doing a job neatly with the tool intended is so, well, NICE!

2. That bit in a marriage ceremony when you are exchanging vows and saw "With my body I honour you." I have been thinking about that one a lot lately. How on earth do you "honour" somebody with your body? Honour, when used as a verb, is defined as:
to hold in respect or esteem
to show courteous behaviour towards
to worship
to confer a distinction upon
to accept and then pay when due (a cheque, draft, etc)
to keep (one's promise); fulfil (a previous agreement)
to bow or curtsy to (one's dancing partner)

I suppose we could go line by line on this one...

I will show respect to you with my body by not offering it to anyone else.
I will use my body to be courteous to you, by using it to work for you in appropriate and relevant ways.
I will worship you with my body (hey, the procreative act is sacred, right?).
I will confer distinction upon you by using my body to show affection to you, and only you.
I will fulfill my physical marital obligations to you with my body.
I will keep the promise of fidelity that I have made to you.
Do I really need to bow or curtsy to you? Maybe this one's a bit too literal.

So much is packed into this one little phrase. I'm pretty sure that the rest of the vows have multiple meanings as well. How many people really take the time to think about and analyze their wedding vows? How's that for some food for thought?


Nope, I've got nothing else. But I think it's a step forward!

We've had a busy week. The days have flown by, and I can't believe it's already Thursday. It's a big day for my family back in Utah, and I am thinking of you all. Jace, I'm excited for the mail to come. Krystle and Blaine, I'm crossing my fingers for you. And our family here in England? Well, it's just business as usual.

The kids break for half-term this Friday, so we'll have all next week with them. I'm not working, so that'll be nice. We can all sleep late in the mornings (except for Dylan, who will no doubt continue to wake up at about 6am). We can have a few lazy days together and if I can get a bike by then, maybe go on a few family bike rides. We're too skint to do anything too extravagant, but we will all really enjoy spending time together as a family.

I should probably get back to work. I just wanted to get those thoughts down before I forgot them again!

Friday, May 16, 2014


Last week, as I was cleaning the bathtub, I had a thought that would have been perfect for a blog post. What was it, you ask? I don't remember.

For years, I have recorded all my random thoughts on this blog. I have poured my heart out to friends, family, and random people who stumble across my blog on the internet. And it has been cathartic and good. Now, I have these fleeting thoughts and instead of recording them, I forget them almost immediately. That's kind of bad. What happened?

I think part of it was that I found other outlets for my ranting. I have a few more friends now, and I see them on a regular basis. I also had just over a year of therapy, which helped me deal with some serious issues that had always been bottled up. The Prozac probably helped, as well. But mostly, it's a matter of exhaustion and the fact that I now access the internet almost exclusively through my phone and kindle. How I wish Windows phones supported mobile blogger!

Maybe I'll do a little bit of research on that this afternoon. That would make me more likely to put a few pictures up, as well. I know you miss those, mom!

Since I can't remember what my brilliant blog post idea was, instead I'll wax lyrical about the book I just finished reading for my book club. It was "The Book Thief," by Markus Zusak. I chose it simply because I had seen a trailer for the film and thought it looked really interesting. And I always prefer to read the book first. Typically, if it was deemed good enough to make into a movie, the book is great. Not always the case, I know. But only one time has the book been a disappointment compared to the movie. And that was "Fried Green Tomatoes," because I really wanted to pretend that the two protagonists were just good friends, and you couldn't do that when reading the book!

Anyway, back to "The Book Thief." I read it in just under a week. There were some nights when I couldn't put it down, reading for an hour or two in one stretch. I loved the fact that the narrator is Death, and I loved the fact that it portrayed WWII Germany in a different light. We learned about the "normal" German citizens, and the way that they suffered during the war as well. Their political and military leaders were, in some cases, absolute monsters. But the people were just trying to keep their heads down and survive. It's not a perspective that we think about very often, and I love a book that makes me think.

I also thought it was beautifully written. The words flowed. There were little snippets of German throughout, which was kind of fun. It also dramatically decreased the number of English "swear words" that you had to read (always a concern because of one of our book club members, Bea, who will stop reading the book if the language becomes a bit fruity).The descriptive passages were perfectly balanced between minimal and over the top (always a pet peeve of mine, and I always skip those passages if they are on the flowery side). And, not to be left out, I cried like a baby at the very end. Seriously, great book. Now I can't wait to see the movie!

For a while there, I sort of forgot how much I love to read. My time has been taken up with TV series, streamed on Netflix. But I've recently rediscovered how awesome books are. I will quite happily spend an hour curled up with a book instead of watching old episodes of "The Good Wife." I've even got a reading chair in the front room now, next to the book shelf with a lamp behind it.

In other news, Martin and I just tackled a huge project together. We reupholstered our sofa. We started on Wednesday, and finished the base of the sofa yesterday. It used to be a lovely gold color, but the kids changed all that for us. It had gone pretty brown. Plus, I have been wanting to decorate the front room with a base of gray and accents in heather colors. So instead of forking out £600 for a new sofa, we spent £45 on upholstery fabric from a market in Hull and borrowed my mother-in-law's sewing machine. Add to that the £20 we spent on a staple gun, and it's still a big bargain. I'm even considering button closures instead of zippers for most of the cushions, since we already have loads of buttons.

It's been hard work, and we're not finished yet. But it looks really good, especially for a first attempt. I've learned a few things, sewing-wise, and will probably want to re-do it at some point (shh, don't tell Martin or he will probably cry). But I'm proud of what we've done so far. It's already a big improvement.

Slowly but surely, my house is starting to look the way I want it to. And when it finally gets there, that's probably when someone will want to buy it!

So there it is, my weekly blog update brought to you courtesy of Beck Hill Motors and a computer that is stationary and already up and running. Nice, huh? More next week, when I will try to remember all of my brilliant (but apparently fleeting) thoughts and write about them instead of just filler.

Peace out!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

No news is good news...

He's home!

Martin is finally home from his holiday in Turkey. I'm so glad he's back. It's kind of funny, how much I missed him. We don't even see that much of each other when he's home, and it was a very busy week. But he still does so much for me and the kids. It was like heaven this morning, not having to get the kids AND myself ready for school and work. I got an extra 30 minutes sleep!

He showed us all his pictures from the trip, and it looks absolutely amazing. I've gotten used to a certain kind of historic look, and the places he photographed in Turkey look so very different and exotic. And the beaches. Oh my, the beaches. He says he wants to take the whole family over, and I want that as well. I know envy is a sin, but MAN I am a serious sinner!

I'm especially proud of my husband for setting a good example of our faith to his friends. He said he was so tempted to have a beer with the boys after they'd been on their bikes all day long. And that's saying something, because Martin has not had any problems with the Word of Wisdom since he was baptized nearly 12 years ago. I know it can't have been easy for him to stick to Coke. So well done, baby!

Pretty sad stuff going on at work. My boss's daughter-in-law was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, and they think it might have come back. She's currently in the process of scans and biopsies and is on Morphine for the pain. She is younger than me, and has two little boys aged 7 and 9. Elaine is doing school runs and swimming lessons, and she is very upset. Understandably so, of course. I just hope I can help out enough in the office that she doesn't get too stressed out about work as well. Fingers crossed.

So that's the news from 48 Fleetgate. Just one more tidbit--I am considering going back on the happy drugs. I've been seriously sad and tired for the last month or so. I'm going to wait until I've had my new Mirena IUD fitted, as it does have hormones and it has just about run out. So maybe the sadness is hormonal. But I may be back on Prozac in the next six weeks or so. Any thoughts?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dear Martin,

Dear Martin,

I hope you're having a good time on your mountain biking holiday in Turkey. I just thought I'd write you this letter to let you know how things are going at home.

The kids and I are basically just sticking to our normal routine. We are doing school runs, swimming lessons, baths, shopping, housework, etc. In addition to that, I have been doing a little bit of DIY, going to book club, and squeezing in some work during school times (my boss, Elaine, has been so wonderfully accommodating).

The bed that you made is fully finished now. I stained it, then waxed the wood. It's a beautiful oak colour. I also managed to finally hang the bed curtains properly. I think you'll be pleased with the effect.

Dylan and Edith have started a new reading competition with school, this one lasting until the half term break. It's only 4 weeks away now. They have both read every single night, as they want the reward. This time, it will be a trip to the "ice-cream parlour" that the school will be setting up. Last night, Edith even read her scripture in the Book of Mormon with no help from me whatsoever. We are really very lucky that they both love to read!

Things have been quiet around the house. I've been very organized in the mornings and we have actually been ready to walk out the door BEFORE the alarm's gone on my phone every day this week. Dylan was a little bit concerned at first that I wouldn't remember to do their pack-ups, but he's confident now that I will make his lunch!

I've been going to bed early--never later than 10:30 all week long--and getting up earlier, too. The house is staying cleaner than it normally does. Things are running more smoothly since you left for Manchester airport on Tuesday morning. No shoes left lying all over the house, no dirty dishes in the sink every morning. No bread crumbs left on the counter, or cupboards being left open. No giant piles of laundry on top of the laundry hamper rather than in it.

I hate it!

I miss having you home to make packed lunches. I miss your noise and your mess and your serious lack of punctuality. I miss you waking me up when you get home from work. I even miss leaving that plate of dinner on the side for you. Every single meal I've cooked this week has had an extra portion left over!

I really missed you on Wednesday, when we would have normally had the day off together. I've come to count on those days with you, when it can just be the two of us, no kids, for a few hours. You help keep me sane and happy and healthy.

So yes, I hope you are having a great time with the lads. But I hope the next four days pass quickly. Because even after all these years, you are still the person I most want to see every day. Going a full week without seeing your best friend is tough!

All my love,


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Daddy Doug's visit...

My relationship with my biological father has always been a strange one.

He and mom divorced before I was even a year old, and she was remarried by the time I was two (and a half!) to a wonderful man who I grew up calling "dad." Mostly because he IS my dad. He has never treated me any differently than his own flesh and blood, and did an excellent job of raising me. Well, I think so anyway.

My relationship with "Daddy Doug" didn't develop until I was 17, for reasons that I completely understand now that I know him well. We met, it was awkward, we developed a relationship that was completely on my terms, and we had contact as often as I initiated it. Slightly dysfunctional, but still nice.

Then, his wife got sick. Rae Dawn developed Alzheimer's disease about the same time I had two children just 19 months apart. All of a sudden, we had a whole lot in common. His lovely wife and my beautiful children became the sole focus of our worlds, and we talked, laughed, and cried together about the way our lives were going. In short, I guess we bonded.

Then, just last year, a miracle occurred. He called me. For the first time ever, he picked up the phone and initiated contact with ME! It only took 17 years!

He's just spent the last two weeks with us here in Barton. I drove him to Manchester airport on Tuesday to fly home. We had lots of fun, going out to eat, visiting some favorite places, and just hanging out. The kids miss him already. I miss him, too. Because even though our relationship is strange, I really do love him.

It's nice to have the house to myself again though. Because one of the things this visit taught me is that I am becoming a bit of a hermit. When Martin first started working at Stables, I nearly went mad. I was stuck inside every single night, with nobody to talk to and no chance of leaving. Now, though I am still stuck in the house every night with nobody to talk to, I really enjoy that. My evenings are my own. Once the kids are in bed, I can literally do whatever I want (as long as I don't leave the property). Four years on, and I am finally used to Martin's working hours.

Daddy Doug is already talking about coming back. I am already looking forward to that. And not JUST because he brought me a whole bunch of Macaroni and Cheese :)

Always a bridesmaid...

My lovely sister-in-law Cathy is getting married on Saturday. She and John have been together nearly seven years. They are so in love and make such a great couple. I'm so pleased for them!

I went to Cathy's "home hen do" on Saturday. She had another one, a boozy trip to Benidorm, that I was going to attend until it conflicted with Edith's birthday. Bit sad about that one, but Martin has promised me a later holiday as he is off to Turkey next week. Ooh, check out our jet-setting lifestyle!

But I digress. Back to the hen do!

It was in a little tapas restaurant in Cleethorpes. I picked up my saintly mother-in-law and drove us both in. There were 22 of Cathy's female friends there, including her future sisters-in-law, and we spent a delightful evening together, just talking and laughing and (most of them) drinking. Then Martin's mum made a little speech, and there was a Mr. and Mrs. game.

The support for Cathy in her marriage to John was almost overwhelming. Everyone there was so pleased for her, and they all know that Cathy and John will be so good for each other. It made me think back to my own wedding and bridal shower.

When I married Martin, pretty much nobody thought it was a good idea. My dad insisted he was only after a green card, and everybody else was just disappointed that I was marrying outside the church. None of them really knew Martin very well, and they hadn't been around me for years so they couldn't see all the ways that he had influenced me for the better. They only knew that I was marrying a non-member foreigner. How could they have supported me in good conscience? They were there, and they were happy for me, but the overwhelming feeling was that none of them were truly glad I was marrying Martin.

Several years down the line, when we were sealed in the temple, it was different. Most of those same people--aunts, cousins, and sisters--came to our sealing and went to the park afterwards for a picnic. They were happy for me then. I was happy for me then. But that initial support would have been lovely.

As I watched Cathy, in that little room completely surrounded by a loving and supportive network of women, I was more than a little bit jealous. It was like she was being cocooned in their approval and respect. It shouldn't have made me sad, but it did.

I have never before regretted anything about my marriage. Now I regret this. That I flew in the face of all of my family members. That I didn't work harder to seek their acceptance for my choice. That I didn't make sure they all knew Martin for how wonderful he truly is. Because it made our wedding seem all about defiance instead of all about love. And marrying Martin really was all about loving him and wanting to spend the rest of my life with him. If only it had felt that way at the time. Then our wedding would have been a joyous celebration, as Cathy's is likely to be, instead of a sad day for most of my family.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Mothering Sunday...

It was British Mothers' Day on Sunday. Historically, this is a very bad day for me. It involves Martin working all day long, me taking the children to church by myself, and making sure my mother-in-law has a good mothers day since her son isn't available.

This year, we bucked the trend!

The kids each brought me a gift and a card first thing in the morning. We had a great time at church. I took us all out for lunch, and they were well behaved throughout. Then they let me take a quick nap when we got home. We headed over to the in-laws' house in the late afternoon and had a wonderful visit and a light meal. Then it was home and into bed for the kids, and I curled up with a good book for the rest of the evening.

As Dylan and Edith grow up a little bit, having children becomes more and more what I expected from motherhood. And I love it. Weirdly, I am especially looking forward to having teenagers. What fun...

Edith's birthday was also good. She was at school all day, but she opened a few gifts before she went. Then we had a family dinner when she got home. She requested paella (her favourite, apparently) and a strawberry cake. I obliged on the paella, and compromised on the cake with a warm vanilla flavoured butterfly cake, decorated with buttercream frosting, fresh strawberries, and fresh blueberries.

As per usual, Edith was very spoilt by all of her aunties, uncles, and grandparents. She got some lovely clothes, which she loves. She got some fun toys, which she is already playing with. And we got her a new bike, which she is learning to ride with confidence.

My Edith is such a joy to me. I love her to absolute pieces. She is a little ray of sunshine to me. Celebrating her birthday is a real privilege, just as having her for a daughter is.

I'm all aglow with the joy and happiness of motherhood. Kind of sickening, really. And just because I wrote it, tonight is probably going to be a crappy night with the kids. But I do love them both, more than I could ever express. They are a blessing to me, and they were well worth the wait!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Proud mama bear...

For those of you who HAVEN'T seen the video on Facebook, Edith learned to ride her bike with no training wheels last weekend.

That girl is so fearless! I told her she might not get it on her first try, and that was just fine. Then we took her out, she got on her bike, Martin supported her just a little bit, and away she went. First time out of the gate.

She'll be turning five on Tuesday, and she's getting a new bike for her birthday. She is so very grown up. Where have the past five years gone?

Dylan's teachers were on strike yesterday, so he and Martin had a little father/son bonding day. They bought Edith's birthday present, had lunch together, and went to the cinema. I had a PB&J sandwich, watched The Goodwife on Netflix, and had my "ladies' cancer screening" at the doctor's office. Who do you reckon had the better day? You're right. It was me!

Dylan loves his dad so much. They both do, really, but Dylan idolizes Martin. He was so content with all the attention that he'd received all day long that he was as good as gold when it came time for bed. I love that!

Oh, and I got Edith those new school shoes. She loves them.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Getting into the groove...

I'm in my second week of work now, and I'm starting to enjoy it. I got paid today, so that kind of helps. But more than that, it's kind of nice to have a bit more structure to my days. It forces me to plan my week out and keeps me on task, knowing that I won't have those two days at the end of the week to get things done. And I like being able to contribute to the funds, if only a little bit!

Of course, there are down sides, too. Like last night, when Dylan told me that the parents were invited to a Sports Relief fundraiser at the school the next day. He got a little teary when I told him I couldn't go because of work. And Edith needing some sports kit, which I could have gone out and bought then delivered to the school for her if I hadn't been at work. I'd imagine there will be more of those moments, but I can live with them.

So yeah, everything is fine over here. No more crying myself to sleep at night over my job. Just slight annoyance about having to get out of bed and go to work!

Tomorrow is the Stake Relief Society activity day over in Hull. I'm teaching a choir workshop, which could either be really fun or a total nightmare. I'll be teaching "God Is Love" from the hymn book. The kids will be hanging out with their Nanna. Slightly put out that I'm missing my life drawing class for it, but hopefully I will get blessings for my efforts.

In other exciting weekend news, I shall be buying Edith some new school shoes as she has grown out of hers.

Oh yeah, that's the way I roll!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Working nine to five...

I'm at work right now.

How weird to be saying that, after nearly 7 years of no job outside the home!

I got a job at a local garage, Beck Hill Motors. It's just part time, working from 9am to 4:30pm every Thursday and Friday. Today is my second day.

The people are all very nice. I've not had any irate customers to deal with yet. The work is not hard, though there is obviously a learning curve and I'm a bit nervous about screwing something up. But yeah, it's pretty ok.

Martin is so thrilled that I have a job now, and I'm happy about that. But it changes everything about the way my life has been for the past 6+ years. Something about going to work outside of my home feels like a betrayal to my children and my ideals. I am a little bit emotional about the situation. In fact, I totally cried about it last night. I'm almost crying about it right now.

But it's extra money in the bank and two days a week out of the house and talking to grown ups, whether I want to or not. And, most importantly, it's a happy husband. If Martin is better for it, I'm willing to do it. Whether I like it or not. Because, to be fair, he's done it for me since Dylan was born. It feels like the least I can do.

In other news, watch this space for a photo project I am currently working on. It's going to be titled "30 days of bed-head." Yes, I AM taking a selfie every morning when I get out of bed to document the awesomeness that is my hair first thing in the morning :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The value of a girl...

I am a podcast addict. Seriously, there is hardly any music on my iTunes profile. It's all about the spoken word. Talk radio, too. I just love listening to people talk. Maybe it's because I spend so much time alone? But that's another blog post.

I was listening to a podcast about gender selection during pregnancy, and the podcasters were talking about the fact that female children are undervalued. I remember listening to one 'cast about all the "missing" women in China, mostly due to their one child policy and the fact that nobody wanted to have a girl, and all the problems that caused. And I thought about how much I wanted another boy when I was pregnant with Edith.

Here's the thing though--it wasn't that I didn't want to have a daughter. Had Dylan been female, I would have been thrilled to have a girl. But I grew up with all sisters (love you, Jace, but you didn't come along until I was 17) and I loved the dynamic there. It was us girls, all together. If I'd had a girl first, I would have wanted another girl. But since I had a boy first, I really wanted another son. I wanted to be the only girl in the house. I wanted my kids to bond strongly with each other. I wanted it to be me and my boys. Then Edith came along!

From the moment she was born, I started changing my mind about wanting another boy. This gentle pink haze descended on the house. The ironing bag filled up with ruffles and flounces. And all of a sudden, I had Barbie dolls on my horizon. BONUS!

Edith has been my little sunshine ever since then. She is my living doll, to dress up and fix her hair. She is also my hairdresser and makeup artist. We are shopping buddies and we love to be "ladies who lunch" together. I was actually a little bit sad when she started full days at school. I absolutely LOVE having a daughter, and I don't understand why anybody would choose to abort a foetus simply because it didn't have a penis. Daughters are the BEST!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I had an awkward conversation with Dylan the other day. He had been outside on the "ramp" (his name for the drive leading from the main road to Eagle House) riding his bike. He came in really upset, so we had a chat.

Apparently, our neighbour and his teenaged daughter were having a fight out by their car, and she was screaming and kicking the car, punching the roof, etc. Dylan, my sensitive soul, was really upset by this. So we talked about puberty and irrational teenagers, about how our neighbours are a bit shouty anyway and the fighting is normal behaviour for a girl her age. He understood, and calmed down right away.

Fast forward a few days, and he asked if he could go out and ride his bike on the ramp again. I said yes, and warned him to watch out for cars. Not eve missing a beat, he quipped, "and teenagers!"

Man, that kid has a keen sense of humour. His mind is just so quick!

We got school reports on the kids last week, and they are doing every bit as well as we expected them to do. Dylan especially is excelling academically. Edith's mainly ahead of the game socially, and also in her reading. She's going to be a popular little lady!

Martin has been working on the last little bit of tiling downstairs. I'm hoping the project will be finished tomorrow. Pretty exciting stuff. And they are doing a refit at Stables in a few weeks. It'll be exciting to see what it looks like when it's finished. Fingers crossed for a few leftovers.

And me? Nothing new to report. I did yoga today and managed a rock solid tree pose. That's about as exciting as it gets. Oh, and I'm considering reupholstering the sofa in a dark grey chenille fabric. Ordered a sample online this evening. Total rock star!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

My favourite part of winter...

It's no secret that I hate winter in England. Autumn is lovely, summer is nice, and spring in this country is the most glorious thing I have ever seen. But winter is cold, grey, and dark. I have two things that I look forward to during this long, horrible season. The first thing is the Winter Solstice, which marks the start of slightly longer days. It's such a relief when the shortest day of the year has passed.

The second thing I look forward to happened just this week. I saw my first snowdrop! Soon it will be daffodils and tulips, then the hedgerows will begin to bloom. That creeping mist of green will descend, the rhododendrons will explode with almost tropical colour, and I will be happy. It happens every year, without fail.

England is amazing--the history, the scenery, and the green. Oh, the green! But I'm just not cut out for winter here. Utah is so much colder, but the sun still shines. I miss that so much. Especially the way fresh powder on the mountains looks--like diamonds with the sun glinting off the ice crystals.

I'm melancholy tonight. I think I'd sell my soul right now to move back home. It might be easier than trying to sell my house.

It must be time to go somewhere or do something to remind myself how much I love England. Maybe a little trip to York next Saturday? Maybe Lincoln? How about it family? If you were in England, what would you do next weekend?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Running for my life...

I have been doing the "Couch to 5K" program. Not religiously, but I downloaded the app for my phone and have been running, on average, twice a week. Three times would be better, but my health hasn't really allowed for that. So here's the progress report:

When I started, I could not even run for a full minute. I was running about 45 seconds and panting/jogging until that stupid computer voice told me to walk. As of last week, I can now run for five minutes straight. Don't get me wrong, I am panting and gasping after that five minutes. But the point is, I can do it. I can now run a mile faster than I could when I was 16. It feels great!

Runner's high has yet to happen. I never get this massive endorphin rush while sweating my guts out and panting like a dog. But I do get restless some days, and genuinely want to go for a run. My legs start to tingle, and nothing else will do. And I could totally get addicted to the feeling of finishing a run. It is the only time I really push myself, and that sense of accomplishment is incredible!

I'm not really losing weight with it--probably have to be more consistent for that to happen. But my overall fitness has definitely improved. I'm glad I decided to take it up.

Church was good today. I taught Relief Society and youth Sunday School, and played the piano for R.S. and Sacrament meeting. The closing hymn was a bit dodgy, since I'd never heard it before (though I did practice it) and spent the first eight measures trying with all my might to play it faster than the chorister wanted everyone to sing it. But I've been playing in church for so long that it isn't even embarrassing any more when I mess up. Not worth blushing about--just an eye rolling moment.

Today is Martin's last day off work. He's been off all week, and goes back in tomorrow. It's been so lovely to have him home with me. I adore spending time with my husband! Yesterday, we went out and had a "normal" family Saturday--the kind we never have because he is always at work. We went to Ikea, had lunch, did a bit of shopping, then drove down to Penistone, just north of Sheffield, to see my friend Noelle and her brand new baby. He's gorgeous, and she's doing well. I got to cuddle five day old Stevie for nearly an hour. But guess what? I still don't want another baby. And now that I'm 35, it's official. We are DONE having children. Sorry to my parents if they wanted more grandchildren from me. It's not going to happen.

Anyway, I should probably go and help my husband with dinner prep. Bless him, he's cooked a few meals this week and I'm feeling like a bit of a slacker. Plus, I get to check him out and slap his bum when I need him to move if we cook together. Sometimes having a tiny kitchen is great!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Happy birthday to me...

Turning 35 ended up being pretty painless. I woke up to breakfast in bed courtesy of the kids. Dylan was incredibly proud of the fact that he made my toast himself. Then I played badminton with my husband, did the grocery shopping, had my hair cut, went for sauna with my friend Ali, had dinner with the Gilbert family, and spent a quiet evening with my hubby. Barely even time to lament the passing of my youth.

Thirty five years old. Ouch! Half way to seventy. Round up to forty. Edith told me that I am really getting "quite old." Special.

When we moved to England, I was only 26. Just a spring chicken, really. Now I'm ancient, like the crypt keeper. But I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful children, and a great life. So I'm getting old? So what? Being 35 hasn't changed anything. Well, except for the fact that I have now decided to ditch the grey hair. I am going to dye it tomorrow.

In other news, we have had to cut Dylan off the junk food. We went to Nottingham to visit some friends, and they had nibbles out on the table. Dylan ate so much food that he made himself sick. And in typical Dylan fashion, he did it in his bed. The kid is incapable of getting up and being sick in the toilet. Which of course means a midnight shower and bedding change. It was the second time in less than six weeks. So now he is only allowed to eat the food which we give him, until he can learn to stop eating when he is full. I feel like such a mean parent, but it seems necessary. I seem to recall that Velecia's boys used to do the same?

Thursday, January 16, 2014


That's me. Literally without thought. I've had this browser window open for a good five minutes, just waiting for inspiration to hit. It didn't, so instead, I will waffle on for a bit and pretend to be really deep.

Martin has encouraged me to do this new diet. Not in a horrible, sexist pig sort of way. He just read about it, and thought it sounded perfect for me. It's a variation of the 5-2 diet. This is the every other day diet, where you eat as you like one day and then fast (500 calories fast) the next. So I decided I'd get on board, and had my first fasting day yesterday. So today I ate as I pleased, and my body was not happy about it at all! I think I'll have to be more careful about my non-fasting days from here on out. But it certainly DOES seem like the perfect diet for me. It's not hard to say no to foods that are bad for you if you know you can have them the next day. It's not too hard to count up to 500 calories. It's easy to remember which day you're on. All in all, I like it. Except for that whole hunger thing. We'll see how it goes.

The running is certainly going well. Had a few weeks off over Christmas, but I'm back in the game now and pleased with my progress. When I started, I could barely manage to run for a single minute. But on Tuesday, I ran two seperate five minute stretches. Properly running, too. Not just jogging to keep up appearances. What a difference!

The kids are doing great. Excelling at school, as I have come to expect. Dylan is starting to have loads of friends now, which is brilliant. He's having a friend over tomorrow night to watch a movie with us. He is trading Match Attax cards with his friends at school. He is always talking about the games he plays with his friends during play time. Who would have thought at the beginning of his school career that he would get to this point?

Edith is really coming into herself. She is horribly bossy and demanding, but she is so charming about it that everyone still loves her. She's cheeky and giggly, and her hair is finally long enough to pull up in proper pigtails. She is my comedian, and my little angel.

As for Martin, well...the other morning, we went to the gym together. He did kettlebells, and I went into the health suite. I was doing leg press, and looked over to see a cute guy bent over getting a drink. Had a little ooh la la moment, then realized that I was perving over my own husband. Awkward. But pretty awesome, too. I sure do love that man!

Turning 35 next week, and I'm sure I'll have a few choice words to say about that when the time comes. Watch this space.