Are you ready for this?

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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's only me.

I am in a marvellous sort of cloudy place ( floaty, as opposed to grey and gloomy) I will try and explain why and hope that it doesn't come out wrong.
Tomorrow we set off for our trip. I have mentioned it without too much detail because it is precious and important and HUGE. When we put that kind of thing out in the cyber world we leave it open to ridicule and discussion and things that would make me sad. In order to explain some of my floaty dreamy ahhhhhh emotions I will have to tell you more.
Going to the temple is special in that it is a priviledge, it can't be bought, not anyone can go just because it sounds nice. You cannot buy a ticket, no matter how much money you may have.
In order to attend the temple you need to 'pass' two interviews, you are asked various questions about your integrity, honesty and general church living.
Of course the opportunity to go to the temple and be sealed for eternity IS open to anyone and everyone but it has to be worked for and towards. There are requirements, the same for everyone.
So, we have had these interviews and we have our recommends signed by the 2 priesthood holders with the authority to do so.
What makes me glow in a simply splendid way is the fact that so many people have been cheering us on.
It's just me. And H, of course but this is my blog......
I have that feeling of head swivel, you know when someone wolf whistles and you turn to see who they are whistling at and's you.
In the interviews we were made to feel as though these people were somehow honoured to be doing this for us.
Everywhere we go people are talking about this trip and so many are coming!! I truly thought that mum and Leah would come and maybe my sister and her husband but no.....people want to be there and travel all that way.
Friends I haven't seen for years are coming, from all over the country.....last night someone so lovely said that they would be at the temple at the same time as us and when I was excited and said we would love it if she and her husband came in with us, she was so thrilled and said she wouldn't miss it but really, did we WANT her there?? As if that was suprising. It's only me.
Why is it so easy to believe when people are mean, when they say unkind things we naturally believe it is true, that they mean it , that they are right? When someone shows us honest to goodness in your face love and say fabulous things, somehow we find it hard to believe...sad isn't it?
It occured to me today that although this is bigger and more imortant than any civil wedding to us.....I haven't given any thought at all to any details, I did order the outfit- that I don't like, so won't wear and that's it. Isaac has his clothes because we had to make sure that he was happy with what he was wearing.
It took him 3 weeks to try it on....but look, he loves it.

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The rest though, hasn't even entered my mind until tonight, when it is too late. I am actually thrilled about that because none of it matters, all that matters is that we are there and we are sealed. We have seen more expressions of love and friendship this last week or so than ever before.
I am so humbled and excited in the calmest way. I look at H and just know, this is right. I look at my little boys and know that there will be no chance at all of getting through friday without crying buckets of emotional tears. I wish my big kids were coming, maybe one day they will. It's not over til it's over and eternity is a long time!
All this joy, the excitement, the purest delight of so many people because we are doing this and still I mutter ' it's only me' . How fabulous to know and see and actually believe that I am truly loved, even if it is only me.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Though I say so myself....

My insides a bit beautiful. Almost a shame that they aren't visible to all and sundry.
I had my scans today, abdominal and you know, the other sort, with a wand, ewwww. I am thrilled to say that my womb is quite splendid. Empty of course, apart from a tiddly little fibroid that is embarrassing in it's patheticness.
My Left ovary is beautiful and round and uncysty, my right one was shy and hiding behind my bulky womb. We were doing so well until she said bulky. Thick. Ack.
I think my womb is angry. When I saw it today all empty and lonely looking, yet plump and ripe, healthy and strong...I think it was telling me off for denying it the chance to just keep making divine babies until it fell out or something. I am very good at carrying babies, I conceive them incredibly easily, for which I am eternally grateful, I am one of those women who back in the day would have been pregnant every year, drop a sprog and back scrubbing the stone floor by tea time. We won't imagine what I would look like or admit the fact that I would probably have been scrubbing said floor with pendulous great bosoms that would never have been reduced to pretty ski slopey ones on the NHS. They'd have had to be tucked into my bloomers and hope for the best.
Lucky then, that in this day and age we can choose when enough is enough. I am sure my body is more than capable of having glorious offspring, my heart isn't. My patience certainly isn't. I'm such a grumpy pregnant lady and lets face it, it's all very well saying that we can make lovely babies....but then we have to actually look after them. For a long time, forever.
So, lovely womb or not, it will stay empty. It's job is done and it did it very well indeed. Thankyou.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas is coming....

And my cards are made! Email me your address is you simply can't live without a sample of my homemade love and festive tidings!! even if you think I have it, send it anyway because I lose things and if I have them all in one place it will help my befuddled mind!

I am sort of excited about Christmas but it is gallopping up on me quicker than I would like. I have a mountain of chocolate and the boys are bought for, does anything else really matter I ask myself?
I shall be decorating in a completely over the top and probably not very tasteful way when we get back from the temple, I always get excited about that. This year we have a HUGE house that is begging for olde worlde type decor. I threw away our fake tree last year, so we will buying a real one that will smell divine and make my arms blister, only once a year, I shall be brave.
I feel that we have been celebratory giants this year, I rather like it, next year we may even make up our own things to celebrate, although today is passing without so much as a mention. I am hoping we make up for it while we are away getting married again. What do you think my chances are?
Email me your addies I am ready to address envelopes and lick stamps and everything.
Tomorrow I am going to the hospital to have my empty womb scanned, I made the mistake of reading the info sheet, seems it will involve semi nakedness and a wand thing, yikes, ewwwww. I suspect they will see a weary womb that is relieved to be empty but a little bit sad at being so old and useless. They might find some left over fibroids and some baggy sides, I hope they don't find anything else, a miracle baby would be lovely but that is pretty much an impossibility.
My poor womb has been troubling me rather a lot lately and mayhaps it could need taking out and throwing away which would be sort of sad but also quite alright. Of course I have imagined all sorts of goings on in there, purely because the doctor feels it is necessary to have a good old root around and see what is happening due to the rather sudden and alarming
goings on.( and this appointmnet has come through worryingly quickly for the fabulous but slow NHS, ooer)
I think ( and hope) that I am just getting old and creaky. Irritating that when the doctors ask you questions they make you wonder and before you know it, all those things ARE happening when you are sure they didn't before.
I dread going for the scan and being told that they can't see a blessed thing through all the blubber, serves me right though, maybe shame would stop me eating glorious fat making things. Doubt it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

7 years and no itch, hooray.

Well, tomorrow is our 7th anniversary, 7 years ago I had been in America for 9 days with my 3 children. We were in a posh condo what we couldn't afford, with pretty bridges and waterfalls and 4 kids that should be anywhere but in this place!
I felt I was in a twilight zone, here I was with a man I had seen in person for 2 weeks and then 9 days, about to marry him and remember thinking " It's Ok, we have return tickets, if I wake up and come to my senses I can go home. " I have no idea what I was thinking apart from the fact that I knew he was right for me. I knew that this was a good thing and at the time, it didn't seem a bit worrying. Now I look back it was quite the most terrifying leap of faith ( or stupidity!) I'm quite proud of the fact that for the most part I absolutely follow my heart, I ignore the sensible thoughts that try to sneak in and I listen to the voice within that tells me is something is right ... or not.
Let me say that both H and I are completely different people to the ones we were 7 years ago. In our online relationship he told me all about himself. What I learned quite quickly, is that he told me what he wanted to be, planned to be, hoped to be. What he actually was, back then, was a whole different story.
We were married on Nov 27th at 11am, in the bishop's back yard, we had our 4 children and the bishop and his wife, grandpa, Mark ( H's brother) Kara and Jose. That's it. We wore our regular sunday clothes and after the marriage ceremony we took the kids to lunch. It was the simplest and most perfect ceremony, everything I wanted.
The following years have been so jam packed with every kind of trial and blessing.
Seth was conceived on our wedding night, Isaac on our first anniversary! We have had 7 homes. 3 babies. One heart attack, one breakdown, many tears, much laughter and are just beginning to know each other.
H is, now, pretty much the man he told me he was. Thank goodness.
I have learned infinite patience, learned that there is a way to get H to do what I like, sometimes. He is so stubborn he makes me look like a walkover.
He is a man of very few words, today I heard him give a talk in church, he spoke for 25 minutes non stop. That is the most I have ever heard him speak in one go, ever. I actually heard his accent and detected almost a lisp, which could have been nerves because I have never heard that before.
He knows so much, is a mind of information, a walking encyclopedia of facts . He is the least 'frilly' man I have ever met ( apart from my dad) If he says something, he usually means it. If he decides something, well, whether I like it or not that is how it will be because the aspergers in him makes him immovable. The good thing about men like these, is you know where you stand with them. If he says he loves you, he does, he will always love you and you'd better be ready for that because he ain't going anywhere.
If you cross him, he will take it and take it and take it...and then if you cross the line once too often, you're done. He turns away and nothing will bring him back on side. Ouch.
He is the most patient father, he listens and he remembers and he promises things he can deliver. He doesn't give in. He seems to really 'get' what matters. Elijah jumped on his laptop today and smashed the already cracked screen. "Oh dear" he said. Quietly. He sees that it doesn't really matter, I see that 'HELL!!! THE SCREEN GOT SMASHED ......ARGH!!!' I never cease to be amazed at the way he can be so calm about things that make me erupt. He loses his cool over things that I could care less about, I think together we might actully get through this parenting lark and have some pretty alright people at the end of it. Chalk and cheese, black and white, horse and carriage and all that.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean.
And so, between the two of them
They licked the platter clean.

Sometimes, I look at us and think we must look an unlikely pair, I know I look at him and wonder how in the world it all happened . How did I meet this man who lived thousands of miles away, who looks so different to anyone I had ever given a 2nd look to? How did I use a computer when I hadn't got one, how did I get to THAT website, find the courage to post my profile when I had done nothing but say what a terrifying thing it all was? How out of all those thousands of people , did he see me? What made him write to me and me reply?
How, after 5 months did I believe that selling everything and just taking my children to the USA was an alright thing to do?
Who knows. I do know though, that it turned out alright so far.
These days ( I am so giving away my age by using that phrase) it is so easy to get out of a marriage, I don't think anyone can understand just what marriage is until you're in one and then it's like getting smacked upside the head with a sledgehammer.
It is the biggest wake up call when you understand exactly what this means, so much more than awwww, you can wake up next to that lovely person who you fancy and want to look at every day of your life.
So much more.
Like ....imagine, they have opinions, opinions of their own ( I nipped that in the bud with the first one I can tell you, this one though, he has a mind and even uses it, darn it) and sometimes, they don't even like the sofa you want and they want to call the baby you carried so patiently for all those months, something like Johnny-Rueben and absolutely will not entertain Silas. the very cheek of it.
The giddy rush doesn't last long which is where so many marriages go awry, it's easy to live for the rush and when it's stifled by pregnancy, bills, colic, fear of more pregnancy well sometimes...well you know what happens.

I worry that H and I will forget each other. Some days he goes to bed and I can't remember of we even looked at each other in any way than the vacant sort of 'help me' stare, that parents of several young sprogletts develop.
We have this wonderful, yet worrying silence that gets us by, a routine that works but sort of leaves 'us' behind. He gets up at 4am, he comes downstairs and sits in the dark in his chair and 'rests' and waits for the first early boy to get up. When they come down he is here, they snuggle in the dark and one by one the others join him. When I get up at 7.30, all 3 are up and have had breakfast, he has read scriptures with them, or at them, because with the exception of Seth, who loves it because it is history, these kids are heathens, they get that from me probably.
He doesn't read the actual scriptures, you know the King James bible, oh no, he has re written them into kids speak, with pictures and stuff, laminated and storyfied. Mind blowing.
I stay up late, when they go to bed is when the mummy fairy wakes up and cleans and tidies, gets uniforms set out and lunch boxes packed. Toys put away and kitchens cleared, laundry done and eventually, I crawl in beside him and just listen to him, I reach out and touch his arm.
I laugh and say that by the time these little boys are old enough to give us 5 minutes to breathe, we'll be past it. We'll go from raising kids to old folks' home in matter of weeks.
I am reminded too, that these little boys are different they have special needs. I forget sometimes because we have it all so worked out and run a steady ship, the 'Isaac days' are fewer and I kid myself that probably he isn't any different to all the other kids. Then we have a day like today.
In primary (at church) we are doing a presentation in 3 weeks, today we began the rehearsals, this meant that instead of the regular routine everything was different, kids sat on the floor, we didn't do the normal things, we sang and told the children who would do what and when. I sat at one end of the room next to some children who thought this was a hoot and ha ha look, if I push this kid she will fall over because she was sitting cross legged and LOOK I can pull her skirt over her head! That kind of kid, you know the sort, mine usually.
Anyway, Isaac was on the other side of the room and he sat on a chair because HE SITS ON CHAIRS NOT THE FLOOR WHAT IS GOING ON HERE PEOPLE???? and as the hour went by I watched his face go from blank and 'hmmmm what?' to completely bereft, by the time it was over he was inconsolable, shaking and sobbing and actually heaving because " I don't like that happening, because I don't know why they did it and I don't feel very well and I just want to sit with you I hate that happening " It went very quckly from not liking it to being beside himself and I didn't see it coming. He was close to grandma the whole time, which is what made me think he was OK. It hits me when these days happen that he will always feel this way. I can only hope that somehow he can learn skills that help him deal with those fears when things change.
H goes through it but he shuts down, sometimes he gets cranky when he is worried, once he had a heart attack. Scary stuff.
I wandered a bit there, I do that, you should try sitting with me an listening to me talk. No going back and deleting the nonsensicle bits, you get it all! Stick with the written word, it's for the best!
The point is, 7 years. So much has passed and yet it has flown.
This week we are going to the temple to have our marriage sealed for eternity, no more 'til death do us part'.
Wow. Fancy that!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

At last..

A picture or three where they aren't being goofy!!

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( Ok so this one is a bit goofy but quite sweet)

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I just love my baby's hands!

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Oh I hate this....

Landlady is downstairs in the flat because they told her they have no gas....ack ack..of Course Hitler H is out, so I get to tell her what is going on and ask for more money...why is that always the case?? She said the gas board told her that 2 hours a day morn and eve would be £5 a week for 2 people, what about 4 people and 24 hours a day heating?? I am cringing, she said she will get back to me in a minute....hope H gets back and he can deal with it, except he will yell, because he does that to people that aren't related to him. ARGH!!
I hate confrontation but I also hate paying for other people to be warm when I'm NOT!
Will update later. Unless I have shrivelled from shame and embarrassment.

All is well, mama bear dealt with it and we managed to do it without getting heated ( I am so funny, ha) I think we are all happy, actually I liked getting to go in the flat and nose around, looks lovely, warm too, even without the gas on!
The people who live there are very nice, Polish, not that that makes any difference, not sure why I felt I should mention it, rather like feeling it necessary to say Dan is gay...why? Being Polish matters only in that a) some delicious smells waft up from downstairs and b) it is darned difficult to chat.
The landlord / landlady's partner obviously felt the same way because he was shouting, with an accent that wasn't polish but not English,
that kind of thing, I kept muttering how sorry I was, how it was H, all H and where was he when the time came to sort it hey? Landlady kept glaring at shouting partner and saying
" oh it's ok, really, we understand" to me... and poor cold Polish people who pay their rent on time just stood looking puzzled. Still, all's well that ends without H shouting or me crying and we all still live in our lovely houses/ flats, Hoorah.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Between that rock and the hard place.

Argh, don't you just hate it when something has to be done and either choice is just, well, horrible?
Bad legs, getting worse, but the idea, the very beginnings of thinking that maybe I am really going to have to trudge my way back to the chinese man with mean yet magic hands.....miserable. I have become a complete Mary Ann about going there, each visit made me more nervous and dreading of the next one, having my substantial drawers make a hasty retreat during the massage ( however pleasant) was the last straw probably. Having then to hand over cash, actual money, was like rubbing salt in the wound ( and some of them were open after all, needles and stuff)
I am going to go and see a holistic therapist and discover the inner me and all, I'm told that will help, but the immediate problem of ankles that feel as if they are about to snap and legs that do the hokey cokey unaccompanied is one that I wish I could solve ( without needles and bruising preferably)
I suspect that my being rotund doesn't help with the ankle snapping feeling, poor things, most likely the daintiest part of my body and yet they are expected to bear the full weight of me and bend and everything. My head is telling my heart to get back on the happy track, stop the self destructive chomping and stop while I am still ahead. Clever head. Shame then, that I just don't seem to be listening and am quicker than quick hurtling back to right where I was this time last year. Dagnabbit.
I really think I WANT to stop this, I'm sure that I am no longer depressed. I definately still have days when my thoughts are miserable but don't we all?
I think that this is just laziness. I psyche myself up and them, well it's a rip to london, thanksgiving, a trip away, then Christmas. It would be all well and good to just say ' wait til the new year then' but by then I will have gained it all back, what a waste, even more fed up with myself.
Wouldn't it be great to not have a clue why this is so hard? What would I give to be a natural thinny, to have no idea why this is an issue for so many. I often hear of alcoholics and wonder why they don't get a grip, smoking? Stupid...just stop. Actually I don't think that, I know how hard these things are to stop...but I do wonder why people start those habits, everyone knows what smoking does to you and those around you..why start? Eating though, we have to do it and it's so nice. Eating is such a big part of our lives, I love to shop, cook, share, the whole shebang. The healthy thing is just as satisfying, in fact more so, it's very time consuming though and you just have to have the right frame of mind. You have to like yourself enough to stick with it, when did I get mad at myself again?
Boring, to keep going over and over the same feelings and year after year be in the same predicament. Will it ever be a thing of the past I wonder? Let me know if you have the answer.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Smashing that was.

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Jordan smacked his head on the sticking out turkey, this was the only Elijah proof place I could think of for Terry the Turkey and somehow he looks at home there, although the colossal lump of blue tac up his bottom probably didn't make him feel very thankful.

awww, look at H's face, can't you just see how clever he thinks I am to put leaves on a branch and pretend the whole idea was mine?
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The whole day was just about perfect. The boys went to school and playschool and took some mini chocolate cupcakes for their classes, they were so excited to share with their friends and the school has been great, they talked to the class about what thanksgiving means, the boys made some turkeys at home on monday and on the feathers wrote the things they are thankful for, they took them to school and showed them to the class. The came home at lunch time so that they could feel the day was special.
The food, though I say so myself, was delicious, Turkey, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, roasted parsnips, sprouts, soft rolls, stuffing wrapped in bacon, carrots, gravy, cheery pie, ( that should say cherry of course, but I think I like cheery pie better) pumpkin pie and COOLWHIP!
Did I say that I invited a couple and their children that I knew online? They were posted to Cornwall from Italy, with the US navy in August, we met today and the children were divine, lovely to have a little girl around for a change, she played trains and rock stars and the boys were hardly seen as they entertained such a beauty.
They bought 2 pumpkin pies and real honest to goodness coolwhip, perfect.
We catered for 9 adults and 6 children, there is still a ton of food left, bubble and squeak tomorrow then, yum.
Everyone left at 5.30 and then I had a meeting to go to at church, the very last thing I felt like doing was go out but when I got there, it was great.
H is being a skinflinty old misery gob about the heating, not suprising as we are truly having the hardest time keeping up with the cost of the gas, £60 a week, the people in the flat pay the landlady £5 a week ,which she gives us every 3 months..... £55 every 3 months we pay £700!!! We are afraid to put our heating on they have theirs on 24 hours a day, 4 people, adults, living in that flat, taking hot he turns the gas off at the mains at 10pm and again throughout the makes my skin crawl except today, we have used half the gas. If we can't have the heat on, why should they? We are the ones paying for it...until we hear from the landlady, who hasn't returned our calls, I guess old scroogey 'get a blanket' will keep turning it off!
We have a company that are coming to insulate the loft, draughtproof the doors and replace all out bulbs with nifty energy saving ones. Apparantly, we have no insulation and all the heat we are scrimping to pay for is whistling its merry way out of our roof, yeay. PPTTTTHHHHHH.

Life with our little cuckoo is proving interesting, I feel as though I have a permanant look of incredulity across my crumpled face, I see that she is one of the 'sweet and smiley' 'say the right thing but then do whatever the flipping heck you want' brigade, typical teen in that if she takes it off it stays where it falls because, surely someone will pick that up and wash it and put it where I need it next time?? Actually she is right , but it's not me...Sophie is her personal picker upper, incredible, she has taken it upon herself to do it.....and she is the one that grumbles at Danielle and has quiet words with her ( that are completely ignored!!) I am almost entertained by it all because it is just so totally unbelievable and unexpected! I heard her yelling at her mum on the phone today, had a blood run cold moment because , ack had all that with Sophie for too long, bloody teenagers and bloody mothers who just give up and let someone else deal with it.
Jordan is coming through his funk about the army, he is back in charge of the kitchen at the pub again and working long hours earning good money. Hooray, I hope he finds something that is more satisfying for him soon though.
Now Thanksgiving is over we can concentrate on going to the temple next week! NEXT WEEK!
This month has been non stop and horribly expensive, of course December isn't going to be much better but we'll do it, and enjoy it and before we know it it will be 2007, blimey.
I had a good day, I hope you all did too.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Manners maketh man.( edited to add something sort of funny

Funny how as we get older, things take on such different meaning. When I was 13 and at grammar school, I had a teacher that, at the time, seemed older than the hills, she was petite and wore buttoned up blouses, tartan skirts and she was probably about 40. She was so 'old' though, she used to boom in her terribly proper voice, "MANNERS MAKETH MAN!" and " Will you take that portmanteau off the desk young man!" We laughed at her, almost as much as we laughed at the german teacher who lived with her girlfriend and looked like a midget with incredibly bad hair.
I remember Miss Lobb because the older I get the more I understand what she was saying, manners kind of do make man, I am more drawn to people who have good manners and who speak nicely. I am less tolerant, the older I get, towards crassness and vulgarity.
I have always used words like splendid and glorious, I would tell my children their nappies were perfectly ghastly rather than 'gross'-- Not that it has made the slightest difference of course, to the way my teenagers speak, my ears are still regularly insulted by slang terms and phrases of the moment.
I have the most serene mother, she speaks beautifully and on the very rare occassion that she felt angry enough to swear she has reduced us to tears of mirth because, really......the worst she can belt out is 'bloody' and it sounds so fabulous it doesn't seem like swearing at all. We sat one afternoon, my siblings and I, trying to get her to say a word other than 'breasts' because get with it and cool, we eventually got her to say boob but gave up because it just didn't sound right.
My H can't swear, he tried once too, either you've got it, or you don't I suppose.
I love it ( can you see that this post is working up to another 'thankful for' post?) that because of the way I was spoken to, I have been able to live in many different situations and feel at home, fit in, adapt. I worked and lived with a family who worked and mixed with the leaders of our country, the lady of the house said to me one day " Helen, wherever you go, whoever you mix with, you will never be out of place, you have been raised beautifully. " Praise indeed. We had no money growing up but every now and then we would have tea in a cafe and would have to eat as if we were at the Ritz. We knew which cutlery to use, how to eat, how to speak.
I think my children know that too....I know they know it, it's such a great thing to teach and an important thing to learn.
I don't think I ever consciously thought about whether it was important to me to be married to someone who had the same manners...until I was married to someone who didn't. I was horrified to feel ashamed of my first husband and his lack of any idea on how to behave in public, he was incredibly funny and the life and soul of the party as long as it was in the working mans' club. ( SNOB she screamed! absolutely! Marvellous.)
To be married to H, who is the epitome of a gentleman, is heaven to me. Sometimes I think he may be a bit too quirky with his insistance that the youth of today call us MR and MRS and "how dare you use my christian name you young whippersnapper?"
It has taken 7 years to find something that Sophie can call him without his head turning purple, she calls him H, for real, just H, because it's not his first name and it's not Mr ..... and its not dad ,because that just didn't work somehow.
Amongst all the other things I am grateful for on the day before thanksgiving, all the obvious things like my health and my family, I am really really thankful that my whole life I have been surrounded by such gentle people who speak to me so nicely and who have shown me such respect by teaching me how great we can feel when we hear gentle things said to us. When we hear such speech, we feel worthy of good things.
I am thankful that I have such a love of the English language and a true belief that words have such power, just by speaking we show who we are and what we stand for.
I don't usually make resolutions in the new year, every now and then I just think of something I want to do that will make me a better person and try and do it. Lately I feel I want to work at how I speak to people, use better words, it amazes me how children pick things up when we don't even realised they are around. At Jordan's workplace they are all working at not swearing ( he works in a pub remember) he said it is the funniest thing to hear all the barstaff and the manager substituting swear words for whatever comes into their heads, I would love it hear it too, I guarantee that before long it will be a habit for all of them to say Fishsticks instead of another F word. That'll be a great pub to go to won't it?
So, thankyou mum and dad ( who never swore until he was on his death bed when I heard him say BUGGER, hysterical, he would say " Oh FLUFF under the bed ) I wish my kids could say the same but it's never too late is it?
I love hearing H say 'dagnabbit' he sound more of a man than any other man I have ever had the priviledge of fighting with.
Manners maketh man indeed. Spot on Miss Lobb.

Of course, it can always backfire on you, this very evening, after I had posted, Seth was sitting with me and was wriggling about in the chair behind me.
"Hey! Steady! Careful..I'm behind you, don't squash me, I'm here and from where I am ....well shall I say you are looking very rotund"
The kid is six.... SIX! Little stinker.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A photoshoot.

What can I say? I should probably start my own business or something because, well......perfection.

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I actually quite like this one, not sure how that happened!

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and my pretty branch that stayed still but doesn't look as pretty here as it does in my hallway, oh well.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

I do so love it when it goes so well.

When I was a youngster, say 14, I pretty much knew that all I wanted was to be a mum, have a husband that thought I was a bit lovely and a home that people liked being in.
The last couple of days has been a time of smiling and inward nodding because right now, it's just as I knew it would be / hoped for/ dreamed of.
Dan called yesterday, he had just passed his driver's course for the police and was on his way to a shift where he would be the nee-naw driver, for real.
He also said that he and Shawn had had a row and did I want to go to Iceland with him for 2 weeks on wednesday. Hoorah, I have a son who calls me, even though he is a successful and trendy gorgeousness with loads to do and he really WOULD enjoy 2 weeks with his mum in a country that is...what IS Iceland? Cold I suspect, but anyhoo, mums always know that holidays are best with people your own age and anyway his row will be forgotten by today.
Then at 11.30pm, Jordan called me, he was at his friends' house and they have a 3 year old who was screaming inconsolably, advice given, medicine sent around and today I am a hero there too. The friend came round today with the 3 year old ( who rather sweetly followed me around saying " what a doin' now lady??") and her 5 month old baby who is deliciously fat and smiley and I had a splendid smooch with her and handed her back, oh what bliss.
I have a home that people like being in ( even though it has a grumpy old fart in it who could be perfectly happy without an endless stream of teenagers and teenagers friends but just sort of sucks his teeth and mumbles about how many dirty cups there are and then goes for a walk because really...must we have even MORE kids here?) My kids trust me, they even quite like me even though I say no sometimes and say stuff they hate. Very good.
Tonight while I was chatting with some lovely people and they both made me see that stuff I was fretting a bit about was all a load of guff and tsk, let it alone.
I had to leave our chat because Sophie called. She had missed her last train because the timetable has switched to the winter one and the last one is at 10pm..... I went to pick her up and the 3 kids with her , we got almost to our home and she said " can you drop Sam at her house please?"
It's great to be able to say "no." She couldn't quite believe I said no until I pointed out that had they got the train home, Sam would have had even further to walk from the station. I am soft but not completely stupid! I have kids that aren't afraid to call me, they have friends that feel safe in our house.
I am on top of the housework and have the kind of home back that feels right for me, everything where it should be and looking pretty much tidy. We have a load of people coming on thursday and there isn't too much that needs doing, just touch up stuff and the cooking, that's the way I like it!
I always used to say that I would have 5 children.....I did that and a even got a bonus baby, I pictured the house I wanted and here I am.....the details were never really important, the feelings were what counted, the feelings I imagined when I was 14 and dreaming are almost exactly how they are in real life, except the real thing is even better. Being able to look around me and see, to touch what I imagined for so long, is more precious that I can properly describe.
There is so much to be grateful for at the moment and how fortuitous that we can take a day this week to stop and think about all the things we have to give thanks for.

Count your blessings.

1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings;Name them one by one.
Count your blessings;See what God hath done.
Count your blessings;Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings;See what God hath done.

2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?Count your many blessings; ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

4. So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856–1922p

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just thinking.....

I am at home, during church time...I was up at the crack of dawn ( after going to bed just before 2am.....aiting up for a teenager that isn't even mine who texted me at 2am to say she wouldn't be home after all!!!!) I had everything ready, dinner on a slow cook, boys organised, showered, hair done.....went to open my bedroom curtains and COULDN'T MOVE! The right hand side of my back just started to cramp up and within 30 seconds I was a hunched over, pulled sideways like an old lady unable to move an inch. I am dosed up with a hot lavendar heat pad on my back...H had to go to church to teach a lesson and I told him to leave the boys here ( in some twisted kind of fear of being left alone?!) they are wearing white shirts with pens in the pockets and are being my doctors and helpers with the exception of Elijah who is taking every opportunity to tip bottles of juice out and make a mess because , hey this is hysterical, she can't even yell really because she starts and something makes her face screw up and all she can do is whimper " ah, oooh, little git" Just now he did something revolting and said ( in a pained kind of voice)
" oh..oh, I tan't do diss." ( which is what I whimpered when I was trying to mop up the blackcurant and apple juice he had just poured over the table and floor)
I kept him home because he has the booger of all snot noses and the medicine I gave him will knock him out as it dries up the streaming nose. Give it 30 minutes and he will be napping wherever he falls because there is no way I can get him upstairs! ( marvellous, he is already cosied on the sofa, thumb in mouth and blanket in hand, that stuff is just great, tylenol and an anti-hystermine , snot gone and sleeping child. )
H will be home as soon as his class is done .
My family have such compassion, as I hobbled to the bathroom, Sophie was all but snorting as she told me how I looked like an old girl, I had to stop myself from sniggering too ( ouch, hurts) because it IS a bizarre walk, twisted to the left, hunched over and right leg swinging outwards.......almost a new dance move if it weren't so slow!!
Anyway being still gets you thinking and I was thinking about Christmas and how we ladies, married ones with children at least, seem to get the short end of the stick when to comes to actualy presents, wrapped under the tree, bought and thought of and kept as a suprise just for us.
In the past I have received from my 2 husbands ( both as hopeless as each other in the gift giving department) A toothbrush. Anti wrinkle cream. A knife, fork and spoon set . A kneeling pad for gardening. A spoon rest and saucepans. My mind has shut out the rest because if I remembered I would probably have to use the frying pan I got one year as a weapon and cause mass destruction.
( ooh heating pad is in exactly the right place causing heavenly wave of comfy muscle that heating pad)
So, 2 things,
1.what have your most jaw dropping gifts been? And
2. if the christmas elves and Santa were to get together and just for one year, tell the kids and husbands that this year it's all about the mummies...what would you put on your list??
Here's mine.
1. Sewing machine. I love to sew and make things, as my thoughts and enrgoes are more and more turned to my home I long to sit and make beautiful things again, I want to learn to quilt and make window dressings, bedding, cushions. Lovely homey stuff that will make us all happy to be here and cause gasps of wonder when I show off and tell people that I made that, oh yes I did.

2. A really good camera, a top of the range jobby that will take pictures to treasure for always. I used to take great pictures and would love to really learn how to do it well .

3. A long weekend in London with H--- and for the fairies to make him love everything I choose to do while we are there because, well the idea of fast treks through every museum? Not really my cuppa tea.
If that's really too much to ask, a long weekend in London with the girls, who would find the air tickets in their stockings and child care all arranged too. ( I would give names but I know I would forget someone and that would be horrible and unintentional but I'm sure you know who you all are!) This is more likely to happen than H enjoying shopping in Harrods and a show in the west end !!
Ow, pain meds are wearing off, am beginning to twist sideways again, had better go and lie down with legs bent and watch helplessly while Isaac and Eli use my lovely plant as a jungle for the toy leopards and lions, buggers.
I am sure that my Christmas list is considerably longer...will be back later to add to it, look forward to seeing your lists!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This real life thing?

Honestly, the more I do it, the more I remember how I used to enjoy it before sadness and fear took over. Every day that finds me out and living and feeling and enjoying helps me see just how much I was hiding before.
I am still jittery inside when I talk to people I don't know well but the thing is I CAN DO IT!
Today,we went to a fun day for the kids, pirate themed and several workshops from costumes to cooking.
The day started on an iffy foot because Isaac, well he doesn't do fun well, not spontaneous dressing up fun anyway and it took nearly 2 hours to help him understand that I would be there with him, he didn't have to dress up, he didn't have to join in if it was too scarey but he did have to come and just be there.
An incredible day for Isaac all in all, I'll tell you why later.
Seth agreed to a stripey shirt but bandana? Ptttttthhhhh, belt or buckles? Nahhhhh, wanting to know every detail of who, when what and how and then he was ready.
Elijah? Get me dressed up, point me in the right direction and watch me go baby, I can't believe I didn't get a picture of him in a red and white spotty bandana because truly? Bloody beautiful, gold dotty sash and stripey shirt and he was beyond heavenly.
Isaac stuck by me for a while and then he stayed with Seth and did EVERY workshop ( I ran the costume one so he was happy to be able to say " I don't have to join in do I? " and just look at every one else trying costumes on.)
He made pizza and ate it, he did a treasure hunt and ran with
the other kids, he watched the pinata bashing and asked several times if he had to do it, stared at me with those eyes and made sure that he really wouldn't have to go and stand in front of everyone and bash that treasure chest, even if there was chocolate coins aplenty inside.
Seth had no such worries though and had a good old thwack at it

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Then...imagine this...Isaac, my Isaac, asked to have his face painted! Actually asked and then let someone else actually touch him and paint his face....look see? I'm not making that up.....

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Even asked for painted arms and then he crawled around because now, he actually was a leopard.

Eli was a lion or tiger or something and it was so late in the day without a nap...look at this pitiful picture

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look at the eyes all glassy and tired!

Seth was a tiger

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Seth made pizza too and then HE ATE IT! These boys are just bounding ahead in their lives, really trying and achieving and learning so much, this little man has been so afraid of food all his life, new textures and tastes have always been hard for Seth and yet here he is...look...

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To see him attack it instead of touching the teeniest corner and screwing his whole face up? Fantastic.

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They got a bit rowdy and had a fight with the plastic parrots

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and I found them, being boys......

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and while I helped clear up I suddenly felt Isaac pull at my I went to find him...he was worried when he couldn't see me ( I was washing up in the kitchen) but no screaming, no panicking, almost more heartbreaking when I see him like this...

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Because sometimes I forget that he has such fears and feels afraid in crowds and noise.
If he can see me, he will sit amongst other kids but you can see that he switches off....

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We had such fun, such honest to goodness together fun.
I can't feel sorry for all the time I spent not doing these things because it was out of my control, I was ill and sad, unable to face life or people. I think I am even glad that I couldn't see what I was missing because that would have piled even more pressure on an over loaded heart and mind.
It never felt as though by hiding behind the computer screen, I was missing out on anything or denying time with my family, I did most of my online things when the boys were at school or in bed but there was so much I could have been doing for them, or this home with that time. No matter.

I can look back and see things more clearly and the one thing I do regret is believing people I didn't know. Only regrettable if we don't learn from the mistake, I am still learning from my mistake, not painful in any way, just embarrassing to have allowed myself to be associated in any way with such nonsense.
Vanity is what it was, nothing but the desire for that feeling you get when you are told good things about yourself, even if they are nothing but flattery and mean nothing.
The only reason I am writing this is that this is my journal, my way of recording what I do and see, what I feel and learn and this has been a huge learning experience for me, huge.

I have really seen in the past few weeks exactly what real friendship is, quiet and private words of support that aren't said to gain glory or boost an ego, simple and sincere love that doesn't seek anything back, doesn't need to be shown and puffed up and paraded for the world to see. Being on the receiving end of such real friendship has been the very thing that has enabled me to take such huge steps back into the world, I can be who I am, do what I should be doing and when I have a moment, they are there and they have been doing what matters too, still ready to say hello and share their day but not holding their breath because they know what matters too. Thankyou.

I wrote reems more, really dumped the thoughts out and then, when I re-read it, realised that it wasn't necessary, the rest of my thoughts are ones I don't care about forgetting. It's all stuff that will matter for 5 minutes and then be allowed to drift away with the other dregs.
The moral really, to all the waffling, is quite simply be careful. Always remember what is real, what matters, and the rest, the stuff that does nothing but primp your ego, take it for what it is, fluff, unimportant and valueless, take it or leave it but don't believe it.

I feel almost like you do when you almost get run over, when you nearly fall down a ladder, that gut wrenching relief that it didn't happen, that you got away with it and yet still you keep rethinking about what could have happened.
That 'what if ' thing. Then you get that great chance to breathe in, exhale and say a prayer of thanks.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Punch, anyone?

I have had an arse of a day, truly horrible and right now I am so ready to whallop something/one, there are a gazillion reasons and none of them really worth the bother of being so mad.
The trouble with having no mind numbing meds in my system is that I am no longer numb in mind, still stupid and forgetful but hells teeth, where have I been living for the past few years? I was always aware that the old me, the really old me was a houseproud, woodwork wiping dervish and sort of wondered where that person had gone but couldn't be bothered really to care. I mean, if I'd cared, I'd have had to do something about it and well.....I couldn't have been bothered, so I didn't care though, every crunched in cornflake is an insult to my tidy unnumb head.
Trouble is, this is one hell of a house and a big family to keep in order to my fastidious requirements. I am sinking people. I am also smouldering with righteous indignation that H hasn't acquired the same renewal of "ewww clear that up and now"ness. What's up with that?? How can he still sit in complete oblivion to this chaos? HOW? How can he not see that this isn't how it should be?
Ah, see.....H never saw my home, except in pictures, before we got married. I went to him, in the states.......we had a lovely condo that was ok, then we moved to Hemet and started again with yard sales and gizzits, make do and mend and pregnancies one after the other, different homes and then living with grandpa. He didn't ever see ME, the real ME, homemaker, fussy want it exactly just so thankyou me.....never. Then we came back and the big depression, another new baby, more depression, his heart attack, 3 houses.....and now. ME.
This home is it, my dream, my everything I ever wanted home. My head is clear, my needs and standards are crashing back and ack, damn and blast....NO-ONE ELSE GIVES A FLYING FART.
They are all looking at me ( except Jordan and Sophie who seem to have a startled look of recollection on their faces and good grief, appear to be almost stirring themselves to help in their own unhelpful way) the others, well they all have this look of 'what the hell?' on their faces. Shame, they'll get the idea soon enough and I'm sure they will love living in our squeaky clean and sparkling house.
I have to find a way to get H in the groove, because otherwise, well..... Eli commented on my slamming a door earlier and I explained that it was either that or punching someones head.....kind of bizarre to have all these extreme emotions forcing their way through me, I can only hope that a happy medium will be found at some stage ( soon please).
Let me explain that we haven't been living in complete squalor, no furry pizza boxes on the front room floor, no crusty toilet seats ( heave) but chaos, toys, crumbs, handprints, that kind of stuff that I must not have been able to see, or care about.
I cannot stand it, I love having my home be a place where people drop in, where they can turn up unannounced and feel welcome. If I'm not comfortable, how can they be? It's just that after so long being so complacent, it's bloody hard getting back in a routine where I can get it all done and also...doing it while there are other people here NOT doing it, well my dears.....punch and more punch and who cares about Judy?
Do you have any idea how many cups 3 teenagers can use? It is a physical impossibility it would appear, for a teenager to reuse a cup, or rinse a cup. They use one, leave it half empty /full.. walk away get another one and one and one and one. Eli finds the half full ones, every time...slop, spill, squelch, slip, swear.
Crisps, everyone eats crisps, no-one puts the packets in the bin.
I put my bags from my trip in Jordan's room ready to carry done to the store room....awww, bless he moved them for me. HE PUT THEM IN MY CAR!!!!! Rather than get my keys and put them where they should go, he put them in my car, which is parked right outside the store room.
People find things they don't want anymore and rather than throw it out or give it away they dump it, in my room or in the kitchen or spare room. I am throwing away, if they put it down where it doesn't belong I throw it out, or dump it right back where they moved it from.
Laundry. Yesterday for example. Jordan did some laundry, put it in the drier, went out, Danielle did some laundry took Jordan's out of the drier, dumped it on the floor, put hers in went out. Sophie did her laundry took Danielle's out dumped it on the spare bed.......put hers in and went out, you getting the picture? Meanwhile of course, 3 little boys are being little boys and making enough laundry to make a mountain.
H does all the dishes, well I say all, he doesn't do any that the big kids have come along and messed after dinner is cleared up, midnight pasta bake dishes can sit there until a new antibiotic has been grown for all he cares. I understand that logic behind not doing them but ...... teenagers are blind, they can walk past dirty dishes and 37 cups with mould on them without a flinch or pang of guilt or even recognising that hey, maybe I am supposed to do those?!? H can ignore them and stick to his guns and the boys, as if they would care, but it makes my eyeballs melt and my brain screech every time I walk in the kitchen and see it. 73 times a day. I will wash the damn things because, well life won't grind to a halt, it is to short to go through the endless and rounds of......
Oh. OH never mind, all is well, just had a phone call saying there is a girls' evening tomorrow, laughing and food.....who cares about the mess? I shall clean and scrub all day and then walk away for an hour or 3. Sorted.

Seth says it again.

Seth, 6, has the sharpest and wittiest mind, he delights me often, his timing is always perfect.
Elijah has just done his first poop in the potty, just sat down did it and then said " LOOK! LOOK what I duss done!"
I, of course, clapped and yeayed and whoohooed.
Seth looked over, shook his head and with the most perfect expression said
"That is the most disgusting, yet beautiful thing I have seen in my whole life"
Here here Seth, here here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The stuff that really, only mummies do.

I know I was only away for 3 days, amazing what can happen, or not in such a short time!
My biggest worry was that H and Sophie would clash...not so, they got on famously, with my girlie one helping out and taking Eli-oh out for the day on monday ( where he went all day without a single accident, no pull ups, hoorah! we do believe he has cracked it at last!!)
I didn't get a single phone call , not one, texts from sophie just saying she missed me, a skype from H that didn't work because my laptop doesn't have a microphone! Apart from that they all let me just do what I was doing, heaven.
H is magnificent, sort of, domesticated in a masculine way and helpful. Observant where housework is concerned though, nah... he is a man, he sees not those things that smack me in the face and make me do them, little touches like changing the bathroom towels, cleaning the sink, emptying the bin that fills to capacity every day in this front room, oh and bathing the kids. BATHING the kids.....3 days, well actually 5 because somehow we missed 2 days before I went away and so I know I said that they really MUST have a bath. They were wiped clean with baby wipes I suspect, I know H would never send them to school with dirty faces, he is a bit obsessed with the morning wiping and hair combing thing.
We still have our house guest and it's unsure how long she will be here. Sweet little thing who most of us love but don't quite 'get.' Sophie, get this, SOPHIE is having a hard time because Danielle can talk, really talk, leave Sophie in the shade talk!
SO funny to hear Sophie take a sharp breath in and almost groan because she is in for another session of talking! She is weary of finding her stuff used, or moved or missing, I even heard her say something about cups and plates left in her room...ha ha!!
I feel sad for this little girl because she really IS just a regular teenager, she did argue with her step-dad but nothing more than any teenager will battle for what they feel is right.
She wanted to meet her 'real' dad , he left when she was tiny and her mum decided that she didn't need contact with her dad. Last year she said that she wanted to find him, meet him, get to know him...her mum was so angry that she told Danielle to leave, so she did and lived with her dad who really had no idea what to do...he told her he wanted his life back ( and his room, he has just a 1 bed appt) social services put her in a place that was so scary for her filled with kids that have made really iffy choices, she was so scared that her dad took her back for a while but soon enough told her to leave.
She isn't very well right now, she has a UTI and is run down, she has battled with bulimia in the past and I'm not sure she is over that completely. I feel so sad that her mum has no other children and a 5 bedroomed house just 4 miles away and yet there has been no contact for months and months.
She is constantly asking if we are sick of her yet ( and we're not, but being asked all the time kind of makes you wonder!!) every girl this age should have space and 'stuff' of their own, she has one shopping bag with clothes and that's it. She has a boyfriend who I have yet to see, who calls her when she is asleep at 11pm and she gets up and goes to him, almost every night.
What happened to common manners? What about keeping her safe? Why can't he come and meet her or walk her home? She must think she is worth crap really.
What a huge responsibility we have as parents, even when they seem or think they seem all grown up, we still have the responsibility to teach them what their worth is and if we can't show them that ..well then they are headed for nothing but heartache, allowing everyone around them to treat them like dirt.
If their parents can't be bothered and turn away, how can they think they are of any worth whatsoever?
I am the last person to talk about the joys of teenagers because really, they are pretty revolting, but if you can see that they are just very big, very loud children, thrust into a hormonal hell of insecurity and uncertainty, if you can somehow look past that bloody awful me me me obsession, they are sort of sweet in a terrifying way.
Personally I am sort of looking forward to the day when this phase is something we look back at and laugh. We are winging it with style in this house where the big kids are concerned, thinking on our feet, keeping the larder full and the our ears open and hoping beyond hope that we accidentally get it right. If we do, I shall write about it all as if I knew exactly what I was doing because, honestly? I am practically perfect in every way, but you'll know the truth and that is .... we are bloody brilliant at sounding as if we know what we are doing and even better at making them believe it. If my kids leave home feeling sure that they are splendid and can hold ther heads up and look both themselves and other people in the eye, I'll feel pretty damn good about this parenting lark.
Actually, I already feel pretty good about it, it isn't a bad old job really.

Actual conversation we had not 10 minutes ago.

Me. " Who would like to go to Mac Donalds for dinner?"
Seth. " Me, I want to have chicken nuggets, the correct name for nuggets is Testicles"
Me. " you know what the correct name for a willy is?"
Seth." Weener"
Me "well, no the correct name is Penis"
( much snorting and repeating of name.)
Isaac. " What do you have then?"
Me. "Ladies have vaginas"
( much hysteria because let's face it, that is a funny word)
Seth. "VAGINAS! VAGINAS! mummy has vaginas"
Me. "Just the one, Seth that's always been plenty"
Isaac. " you so haven't got a vagina, you just have a mane."
So, there you have it.

The Army.....

Said no.
Poor Jordan. Remember when we were in the old house, living with the black fluffy walls and he got that lung rot? Well, because of that he can't join the army.
He can reapply in 3 years but we hope that by then, he will have found something else to do that makes him feel as fulfilled as the army promised to make him.
Of course I am relieved for me, but for him? Crushed because he was so ready to do it, live it, breathe he is lost again and can't think what he can do instead.
Damn Army.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home again home again, jiggety jig.

Home, at last after a bus ride that seemed to last for eternity. The boys are happy and Sophie is ecstatic to see me, H just looks tired and unshaven......the kitchen..well lets just say that NOT doing anything was a great move. H has done ironing and everyone else appears to have done laundry and then someone else has come along and wanted to do theirs, so they dragged the other stuff out and dumped'll have to imagine because I simply cannot take pictures, I would have to punch someone, probably, if I were forced to get photographic evidence of such damned inconcideration. Apart from that..hooray, home.
The time flew by in London, we loved it, I had such time to think clearly, actually think and work things out.
Before I went away I just couldn't see why I was going away and now I see just what good it did me to have some time to be utterly self indulgent....
I am recharged and raring to go, tomorrow I am going to blast through this house and change things. Here we are in this lovely home and it just defeats me, the boys have all together too much junk in their room, for one more night.
I feel ready to start as we mean to go on, until I can't go on. You know how it is.
Marilyn and I went out at the crack of dawn and saw Big Ben and the houses of Parliament...wanna see?
It is lovely to be back in dear old Devon where people take things slowly and they all talk English, I swear, the whole time we were in London I wasn't served, spoken to, driven, waited on or looked at by a single English person, not one! Polish, French, American, Spanish, German, Indian..... nobody understood me and I scarcely understood them! Now here I am where they all speak in 'debmshire' they say lover and me dear, and they chat when they serve you in the shop. Excitement is a great thing but so is normality.
So, pictures and then I am away to my shower and bed....ahhhh my own bed.

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This is our hotel..our room was at the top. Lovely hotel.

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Big Ben...

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The London eye, which is big and I think I would have gone on it, Marilyn went pale and we sort of knew that there wasn't a single reason why we should do it! So we took a picture and wondered why anyone would choose to go on that thing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oh we are so........

Tired. And EXHILLERATED and tired and HAPPY we did this.
Fabulous evening and here are the pictures and the talking about it..tomorrow, from home. Promise, cause there is SO much to say!!

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rush hour...deodorant...very good thing.

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Dinner...Marilyn...bangers and mash. Me... Faggot and chips. Gravy. Yum.

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Theatre......CHICAGO, oh wonderful and makes you think " I could do that" except they all wore almost nothing and leapt about a lot....don't even try to imagine it. Don't.
Right in front of us and 4 seats along, would you believe it ( and will you care if you aren't English??) but there he real life, Leslie Grantham who was dirty Den in Eastenders but isn't now because he was killed in the Queen Vic by his wife ( not his real wife, she was with him tonight but the pretend east-enders one). Honestly, I mix with the rich and famous. Go me.
Houses of Parliament tomorrow .....then home to hmmmmm.. I wonder, Sophie texted me and said something like "ha, luv u, have a gd time, U shd see the house it is funny widout U ha ha"
I called her, it would seem that order is not quite the name for what is happening but everyone is happy and dear H is so excited for me every time I know someone really loves you when they are at home with piddling toddlers and worried aspergery 5 year olds and they still say "YEAY" and "GOOD, GOOD" when you tell them where you are going next. I luv him 2.

We bought more suitcases.

It was very necessary because. Oh my good shopping heavens. Harrods. HARRODS. But first we did some stuff that really, we should do, London and we did......

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that and this....

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at the palace, the Queen's house, and she was in, because the flag was up and I think she saw me and waved but we didn't want to show off so we acted like we could care less......

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and we saw horses and carts and stuff and asked what that was about and it was ...THE MAILMAN!! As if, just imagine!

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and the escalator at the tube station.....

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But really, the best bit so far today....
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And never mind the shopping, which we did for HOURS til our feet were weeping and begging to just stop please......but the chocolate bar, this place....
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where we order a milk chocolate shake, and they brought

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Which made Marilyn say that she felt she should have a room, and be alone with this shake so she could moan, because it was so brow frowningly, leg jiggingly, deliciously gorgeous and Marilyn almost cried when some damn people sat next to us and stopped her licking the glass out.

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and it looks like my hair is falling out and it is wild and not all smooth and lovely but I think it must be the excitement or something, how can hair be calm when you are in Harrods for heavens sake??

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and then we came out even though we didn't want to because we had to eat ( again) and we are putting our feet up and writing blogs and repacking bags with all our stuff HARRODS STUFF!

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and then we are going out for dinner and a show. CHICAGO. Fabulous. I could get used to this. I know, you should all come here and stay and I will be your guide and take your pictures and write about you on my blog. You'd like that wouldn't you?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Me, my laptop and Marilyn..

We're here, really here in London with throbbing feet and cheery hearts, slightly lighter purses and posh shopping bags. I love it. Yes I do.
I have almost forgotten that to get here I had to sit behind the bus driver, who kept farting. Not loudly. but very noticeably in a crawling up your nostrils and choking the very daylight out of you way, dirty git.
We met, without incident, caught the right bus, found the hotel, we are bloody marvellous.
We did the tube, we went to covent garden. We ate and shopped and blow me if we didn't spend so long there we jolly well ate again before coming back here to rest our weary wallets.
Do you want pictures?
Do you?
We saw great street performers and laughed, a lot.......Marilyn said it was kind of like Santa Monica ( and I have been there and think she is right) except she said that this was SO much better. Hoorah.
We have booked tickets for tomorrow to go to dinner and a show. Imagine. We can wake up when we are ready, eat our continental breakfast in a leisurely fashion before we head for Harrods and shopping and stuff.
I already have so much to carry home, Julie Q the thanksgiving stuff is fabulous , thankyou! I know the time is going to fly. I'm a bit worried about sleeping, or not, but Marilyn says she can sleep through most things so we'll see.
I have my torch and my laptop...I can read blogs and visit people. It'll be fine.

Lunch venue, pub lunch, naturally.

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Covent garden.....

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this man was hysterical!

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this one was my favourite, he was great, sang beautfully and really entertained us.

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yes, he was wearing a thing and juggling with a chain saw.....each to his own!

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Just so English and pretty...

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My drink at dinner time, Lemonade with fresh lime and mint, delicious
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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pop socks and periods.

That's set the few men readers running as fast as their legs will carry them!
I am almost ready, I have night nurse, and how clever that I managed to get the streaming cold to go with it, sore throat, snot and good old flo.......just in time for my trip to the big city and girlie times.

I bought pop socks, I did, little black knee length tight things to wear under my dress trousers because we might go somewhere posh for dinner, we really might, like grown up ladies with time on their hands and no baby wipes in their bags. I have even dug out my lovely leather handbag that looks nice and doesn't fit economy size wipe packs. I have never bought pop socks in my life, in fact I would go far enough to say that had I imagined ever buying them, never mind wearing them, I would have begged to be locked up. I just feel that they would look so much nicer than bare legs or socks...and there is no way I can wear tights under trousers, ever. My neck hair stands on end at the thought of tights under trousers, so pop socks it is.

I have left Sophie is a weeping puddle because my GHD straighteners are coming with ME, to straighten my short hair. ( you will see pics when we take some London ones) I have new make-up that isn't crumbled and dried up, little travel size pantene shampoo and conditioner. I am ready. Sort of.
I don't know how other people do the leaving the family thing often, unless it gets easier, because I have been weepy and emotional all day. I filled up at bedtime because they were particularly squishy and snuggly. 2 nights without kissing their warm sleepy faces......I have had strange emotions all day.
It might, of course, be excitement because, oh my good gracious I am going away.
I am not for a moment imagining a restful few days, I am sure that both Marilyn and I will be loathe to waste a minute of exploring / shopping / fun time but the thought of these next few days with no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, no refereeing, just whatever Marilyn and I decided to do. Makes my knees go wobbly with anticipation.
Sophie has been a sweetie and is all set to " be helpful or stay out of the way." Ideal.
H is fabulous and has been very brave. I am sure that he will miss me to distraction, he will gaze at my empty pillow and ....stretch his legs right over to my side of the bed and he may well fart for all he's worth. Good for him.
I do wish I could stop the headline thing though. Dear life, I drive myself mad with the imaginary headlines about mothers of 6 who leave their children for a short break and ....bus crash / terrorists / muggings ..... then there's the shopping, making sure there is plenty of everything everyone likes, so if I die H, will know I love him because I bought scones before I went.
If I write on here, because I am not so bleak as to actually write a will before I dare to go away for 2 nights, if I write that H gets everything if I die and can withdraw the £3.50 in my bank account to buy day old bread to feed my poor motherless children...will that count? Will the bank release all my worldy goods?
I should probably be ironing clothes that will then be shoved in my bag, washing my hair so I can sleep on it and kissing my babies while they sleep. I've been thinking all day of all the things I should probably be doing to get ready for the 3 days I
won't have to do any of it and rather splendidly decided that if I cleaned and scrubbed and made my house all spotless so that I can leave it to be thrashed and messed... I would be very grumpy when I came home and saw it all spoiled.
So I didn't do it. I just tidied and did laundry. Well done me. I can come home to chaos and not mind a bit. Wonderful.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The eight things thing.

8 things you may not know and probably could care less about me.

1. I think mobile / cell phones are both a bane and a blessing to motherhood. Necessary when you have teenagers but every time I see a mother walking with her damn mobile to her ear chatting and ignoring that baby.....grrrrrrr makes me want to spit. I see babies in those little seats in the shopping trolleys, little arms and hands waggling and staring right at mummy..who is yakk-yakking on that damn phone. I see little people being dragged along the street while mummy gabbles on the phone. Precious moments that you can chat to the little person and they can learn and feel special, wasted.
Stupid phones.
When I see people driving and talk on the phone, blood boils.

2. I like my toast cold before I put butter on, I hate melted buttery soggy toast, I like it when it creaks because it is cold.

3. I hate hot drinks, maybe once a week I have hot chocolate, apart from that no hot drinks, no coffee, no tea, nothing. I love the smell of coffee, really love it. I tried it, well de-caff anway and the after taste? Ack. I love cold water and drink it fast, gulp gulp. ( and burp usually, how coarse)

4. I like bare feet, hate shoes, can't stand to have socks or shoes on in the house. I can't walk on carpet with tights on.

5. I chose my childrens' names, if my 2 husbands had named them they would be Trevor, Colin and Jane and ...wait for it....
Bobby, Johnny-Reuben and Jim. H has a son called Robby and he still wanted a Bobby. He is, quite frankly, mad. Talking of mad, it was me that welcomed another teenage girl into the house, with her phone and voice and talking and all that. My husband and I are well suited it would seem.
If I had more children I like the names Ezra, Abraham, Silas ( I fought for that with Eli but just couldn't persuade H, darn it) Ruby, Scarlett, Hannah and Phoebe.

6. I am not an animal lover, at all. I feel the need for a dog coming on but don't understand it and tell myself that it must be some weird baby replacement thing because really, dog pooh? No. Thankyou. Hairs all over the place? Yeah right.
Cats, quite like them but the flea thing? Make me hate the damn cat, fleas love my sweet blood and don't tell me about flea collars and drops behind the ears.....ick, fleas. And the smell of cat food, heave.
Any little cagey animals... I ask you, why?? What for? No.
Birds? scarey things..little tiny bones, beady eyes and flappy wings. Ewwwww.

7. Number 7 was so boring, which is funny because I am strangely drawn to the number 7. I like it, it makes me feel safe and cosy.

8. I have loved 3 men in my life. I never dated 'just because,' twice I had one date with someone that I was 'set up' with and hated it. The other men that I loved looked very much alike, the men that I liked but never dated looked the same, tall, dark and handsome. H is nothing like any of the other men I have liked or loved, not in looks or personality. ( which now I read back sounds like he is short, fair and ugly, so not true but the others? John Travolta look-a-likes, you get the idea. They could all have been in a line up looking for the same man and probably all would have been picked)
I chose the other men, I believe God chose this one.....He knows better than me!

If you read this....tag you're it.

Oh ..number 9 . I had my hair cut today. It is short. Oh dear.

How did THAT happen?

Can you see any baby in there at all? Not even a bit. This is Eli's first school picture.In January he will actually be at the same school as Seth and Isaac, big boy. He even pees in the potty, lawks.
I think I want another baby but suspect that may well be because I can't have one. My sensible head knows I am too old now, too weary and too ready to do things during school hours that can actually be done quietly and throroughly.
There is a time and season and it is now time for me to let go of all things baby and take a breather ready for being a grandma ( although not yet thankyou !)
We are thinking that in a year or two we would love to do respite care again for handicapped babies and little people, when Jordan has moved out and Sophie is more settled then we can think about that. I loved doing that and we certainly have the room.
One way or another I am sure that there will always be children in my home. I cannot imagine it being any other way.
For now though I am watching this last baby of mine grow before my eyes and I am bretahing in every second ( except the ones when he poops, definately no breathing in then let me tell you!)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

This time last year......

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Three score years and ten.
My dad is, has.He is 70 years old today. It's a bit of a shock that my dad is 70...he still works part time for a garage that repairs body work on cars ..he drives the courtsey car to the customers and picks up their bashed in car. He still runs around after people who need him and is endlessly engaged in good works.He still thinks he has to look after all of his children even though almost all of us now have grey would imagine that if your kid has grey hair you'd be safe in assuming that even if they aren't capable of getting things right they are more than old enough to live with the screw ups wouldn't you?
He is sort of impressed with my e.baying habits but is still a bit convinced that somehow it's all a bit dodgy and somewhere amongst the glorious fun and bargainess of on-line auctions there must be a catch or 12 he settles for being impressed with my dealings and very, very occassionally when a thing is just too good to miss ( like the miraculous leg cream that will banish all cramps) he will call me and I'll bid for him.
He will do anything for his children, he perhaps won't be cheerful while he is doing it and he may even grumble after he has done it, but he'll do it because he loves us.
He loves my mum and we all know it, but he finds it incredibly hard to believe she knows what she is talking about. He knows when she is tired so much better than she does and has been known to stand up, turn off all the lights and tell her she needs to go to bed.Funny how he knows when she is tired, even when she thinks she isn't, knows when she needs a doctor, ( or miraculous leg cramp cream) even if she thinks she doesn't, yet hasn't, after 47 ( or is it 48?) years of marriage learned that she is a bit feisty and gets really fed up when he tells her how she feels......I think that part of why I married H is because he is so like my dad.
If you can learn to accept and then live with, the fact that romance just isn't part of the deal, sweet and tender murmerings are only going to happen if you watch the Hallmark channel and turn the volume up at the slushy bits, accept that those off the cuff comments are more likely to make you want to choke him than make you choked with emotion ( such as saying "has someone been stripping paint? Why can I smell paint stripper?" when actually everyone else could smell delicious beef stew!! or " who's had the fly spray out?" after mum had just put on perfume) know that you can walk around in a bin bag and he won't notice ( or care)... then men like these are the ones to marry because they are so loyal and love their families with every ounce of their being ( they just have no idea how to say it!!) You can be sure they will be with you through thick and thin and everything they do will be because they think it is best for you. ( note I don't say because it is best for you, only that they think it is best for you!)He tells us when our car needs taxing, our cars have round tax discs stuck in the front windshield as visible evidence that we have paid our dues... while I was taking the boys into school one day he noticed that my tax disc was a year out of date ( actually, in my idleness I had just put the new on in front of the old one. One of the boys had just switched them around when I wasn't looking!) When I went back to collect the car, his brother was outside, pointed the disc out and I switched them over and have to drive around the block to get back to my road and when I turned the corner..there he was, in the MIDDLE of the road, gesticulating wildly..of course I knew what he wanted and rolled down the window, scarecely slowing down I yelled out the window " It's OK one of the buggers swapped it!" and drove by.
I still snigger when I try to imagine what that must have looked like ( some mad old fart with road rage yelling and waving at a seemingly impatient woman intent on hit and run)
Anyway dad, happy birthday.Three score years and ten...not sure what it means when you hit that landmark, is this counted as bonus time from here on in?Thankyou for the ability you have to cheer me up....every time I get down thinking about my grey hair I think of you and tell myself that it could be worse because at least I don't have CHILDREN with grey hair!

Who knew? I am so glad I wrote that when he was still here, when he could read it and know that I love him, when we had no idea that this year......well, this year we are going for a posh lunch together and will just think about him and talk about him if we think we can do it without howling and showing everyone just how sad we still are that he isn't here.
What would we give for the chance to give him a stupid card and a stiff hug and make him use two arms for heavens sake?
I love it that everyone who loved him is just still so GLAD. Glad they showed him, glad he knew it, glad to have been his wife, daughter, son, grandchild, greatgrandchild, friend. Glad to know that when he died he did so with a clear heart and mind, no regrets, no sorrows. Glad that we could be with him when he died, glad he had his dignity right to the end.

Happy dad's birthday to us.

Today we will be glad purely because he was.

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Mum went to visit where we scattered his ashes on saturday....beautiful.