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!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nearly there.

There is much excitement in our house this evening, Grandpa called to say he is coming for Christmas, we love grandpa and we really love to have him come and stay. I love getting ready for his visits and always try to make his room cosy and welcoming, have the house tidy and warm. It all goes to pot very quickly but as long as it is clean when he gets here that's alright with me.
Sophie and I are leaving for Boston on Thursday, our bus leaves at 5.45am, we get to the airport about 10am and out flight isn't until 4 in the afternoon. Time usually goes quickly enough and nerves help to keep me busy. I am excited when I manage to push aside the thoughts of the flight.
I have a fool proof way of preparing to leave H in charge for any length of time, I make sure every stitch of clothing is washed and ironed and that's it. I don't go around cleaning and making beautiful, I don't tidy and organise, I have leaned that when I go crazy making everything spotless and then I come home to chaos ( because H can clean or he can take care of 3 little boys but both at once? Not so well!) well I get cross and the trip I had seems spoiled, so I leave it untidy and I come home to nothing having been changed and all is well.
So, grandpa is coming and would you believe it, he is arriving the same day that Sophie and I get back from Boston. Uh oh.
We get back at 5am and Grandpa arrives at 12.30. H always takes the bus to meet him from the airport, he loves to do that and I think it is important, when you have flown all that way to have someone meet you. The bus trip is long and after 10 hours on the plane, then had to go though the customs and immigration it is just comforting to have someone with you to get on the bus and make that last leg of the journey.
So we have a couple of problems, one is that there is that gap between Sophie and I getting back and H having to leave to meet his dad. ( I am pretty sure we can get that worked out easily enough though)
Then we have the problem of getting the house clean and ready for grandpa....Sophie and I will have been travelling for 15 hours by the time we get home, we'll be dealing with jet lag that is crippling on the way home ...last time I pretty much slept for 2 weeks. What fun it will be to get back here and have to clean the whole house, move Seth in with the littler boys and turn his room into a lovely escape for grandpa. I think I might do that before I leave and shut the room so they don't get in and wreck it again!
H could do the room and I know he would quite happily but he won't do it the way I would.
( control freak? Who? Me?)
I am just beginning to actually allow myself to think about going back to Boston, it was such an overwhelming experience last time. I wasn't ready for all it did for me and it took a long time to come down from the high and to believe that I had been lucky enough to be there and share in that time. To be able to go again is a huge blessing, I really don't take for granted being able to do this, I haven't allowed myself to think about it until now because it is SO exciting! I hardly know what to think about first....actually I do, the very best bit of the trip is meeting the people, that first moment of seeing those faces and the undiluted joy of it all is indescribable. Last time, of course, we had never met before and it couldn't have mattered less. The minute I saw them felt as if I had always known them and they were all exactly as I imagined.
Julie and Jenn had driven from Canada and were planning on creeping into the hotel, having a nap and then calling us to let us know they had arrived. Heh....they didn't plan on my walking out of my room just as they came out of the elevator. I was SO thrilled to see them, in my normal thoughtless way I wasn't about to let them go and relax before I squeezed them and squealed like an adolescent girlie!
Meeting Cathy was like just meeting up with my oldest and dearest friend, Cathy is the newest kid on the Babyzone block and while the rest of us have 'known' each other for years online, Cathy only found us last year and we are SO glad she did. She is the kindest, funniest person you could ever hope to meet and I can't wait to see her again THIS WEEK...I am intrigued to see Sophie and Cathy together and am pretty sure that it will be a sight to see and hear. Oh yes we will hear a lot of Sophie and Cathy when they are together.
I am sad that some of the wonderful girls that came in June can't make it this time, we will miss them so and we will talk about them remember their fun and glorious selves the whole time.
We are holding our breath waiting to hear if Rachel can join us, she has her ticket and her room is booked, she is also 34 weeks pregnant and has to get the all clear to fly, this baby girl is so special to all of us, we so want to see her mommy and rub that belly while she is still inside. Rachel was my room mate last time, I love her.
I am so looking forward to seeing all the Christmas decorations in the stores, can't wait to go shopping in Target. Walking around the outlet stores, eating in the food hall, going out to eat in the evenings. Ahhhhhhhhh. Bliss.
The thought of those few days of not having to cook, clean, even having my bed made for me, is a little piece of heaven. Such a treat to stay in the hotel, heaven to be able to walk away from all the daily drudgery of buying bread and milk, replacing toilet rolls, emptying bins, picking up paper and socks and empty cups. All the planning and scrimping and saving, all the headaches and hand wringing is so worth it when we get there!
Please can we have the next one in England though? Can we? I would so love to be here and being the one to welcome and plan and chauffeur. Lovely thought!
So, rather than spend the next few days pottering about and slowly packing I am now going to be rearranging rooms, trying to do whatever I can before I leave that hopefully won't be undone the minute I leave! I have to pack and decide what clothes to bring with me. The sensible thing would be to take very few clothes and buy new ones as I am right at the point where I should dump what I am wearing now as they are big and unflattering, I'm sure if I were to start wearing clothes that fit I would look slimmer...I'm not sure I am ready to do that yet though. Who knows why the idea of letting the weight loss show is so worrying to me? I think it may be that in the past, whenever people have started to comment on my having lost weight I stop...something in me panics and I have stopped losing weight. I don't feel the same anymore, I don't feel as though that will be an issue this time at all but still I feel wearing smaller clothes is a big step. Maybe I just want to be able to wait until I can wear much smaller clothes, not just a size or two but go from huge and baggy to look at me! Skinny! ( wouldn't that be great, to somehow hide losing weight and keep wearing fat clothes and then one day just getting up and putting on regular thin peoples' clothes?)
My jeans are falling apart, I really have to let them go soon because they just aren't good anymore. I'll look when I am over there and hopefully find some that make me feel good. I really like the feeling of wearing clothes that are really too big! I was ironing some trousers today and thought " hmm, I have lost 6lbs since I last wore these" that was a good thought to have and I hope to keep thinking that way.
I have to go to the council early in the morning and try to get the whole mess of the rent cleared up, I hope I don't have to jump through too many hoops and that they get on the case and issue that money to me before I go away, it really does mean the difference between managing and being able to do what I want to do for the boys' Christmas. Never a dull moment around here is there?
Eli was so much better today, his tummy seems to be fine and isn't bloated anymore, thank goodness for that. We need calm and stress free days until Thursday and beyond..please!

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hoorah and bugger it.

Hoorah. Laptop is mended and on it's way home with a new something board and all working and splendid.
Bugger it. Stupid, stupid people who messed up my benefits did not straighten their mess out and so the rent was not covered ....big mess in the bank account, gaping holes where money should have been.
Hoorah...had the money to pay into the account and get the rent paid.
Bugger it. It was my spending money for Boston, I now have enough to pay the hotel and eat and if I am very clever, maybe buy a few tiny gifts for the boys' Christmas.
Hoorah. There is a chance that I can get it straightened out before thursday.
Bugger it...the chance is pretty slim.

On a separate note I began exercising yesterday ( I know, hell's teeth!) small start but goodness me it hurts! I am not going to say what I am doing until I am better at it. I will say that when the pooh hit the fan today and I sunk into despair at having, yet again rob Peter to pay Paul (and Peter was so looking forward to just forgetting all the scrimping and saving just for a few bloody days ) I did not resort to eating the grumpiness away...I actually did a little exercising instead
( who IS this person? WHO?) while my laptop has been away I felt strange sitting here in the evenings without it in front of me, I was restless so every evening I have been making things and writing cards etc. It's been really very good for me, I am going to be making and doing more from now on.
More and more I see food as something that is there to keep me going so I can do what I want and need to do, less as something that I crave or need to think about all the time. Often mealtimes arrive and I find that I have to make myself eat, it would be very easy to skip meals but I am so afraid of halting what is working for me that I eat. It is incredible to me that I can feel like this and I really want for this to be how I feel from now. Always before, doing this has been about getting thin, and this time of course I long for that but it is so much more, it's about feeling differently. It's about not being ruled by anything, about being in control. Heaven knows I want to be in control of something in my life, the rest of it is one big helter skelter of who knows what's going to happen.
I was so worried about Eli today, for a week or two he hasn't been eating, saying his tummy hurts after a couple of bites of food. He has been himself in every other way, happy and busy but just not eating much. This evening he was the same and after a hair cut and a bath, Seth said " Hey, Elijah is actually really fat!" which seems a strange thing to say about Eli, who is anything but fat...but his belly was really distended, hard as a rock and he looked every bit like a little starving baby. Then he has the worst diarrhoea , 2 or three times, his poor little tummy. After that he was as right as rain, he said his tummy didn't hurt anymore and it did look less bulgey. The doctor didn't seem concerned and said that as he was otherwise well to just watch him and see how he is tomorrow. He just seemed so little to be that uncomfortable and I saw just how small we all are in the scheme of things. I really hope this isn't a rotten bug that is about to knock into us all, the timing stinks as much as the poop if it is! On the other hand, I hope it IS just a bug and that Eli is better when he wakes up.
All in all it's been a pretty shitty day all things considered. It's nearly over and I am glad about that!
I shall be at the council offices again as they open on monday and I will be the squeaky wheel that gets the oil, or the rent cheque in this case. I went at 8.30 on monday to make sure that this very thing didn't happen and was assured that it would all be fine, amazing how they can stop the money in a heartbeat but cannot ever seem to rectify the mistakes they make in less than 2 weeks isn't it? Amazing and unbelievably annoying.

Oh and Hoorah...I have such great friends, in 4 days now I will be with them in Boston.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

One day, we'll laugh about that!

Oh my.......the day went so well today, I was organised and calm and it all came together so beautifully, shopping with Sophie, food all coming together in time, smelled glorious, looked fabulous, no rushing. We even had time for a quick trip to the reclaimation yard where I found, to my absolute delight a 5ft Singing and dancing Santa, still in the box, all wrapped up and working perfectly for a mere £20. Could the day be any better?
Dinner was set for 5.30 our guests called to say that it had all gone to pot and they weren't going to be able to make it, oh bum....H asked if they were sure and said how sad that was but hey! If there was a miracle and they could come, stop by and there's sure to be leftovers!
Oh, see now we're a bit flat and look at all this food and I KNOW! Julie! Call Julie and Berian and they can come and they are family so you can do that "hey the people we really wanted can't come so you'll do...there's food! Now..come NOW!" And they did. And it was good.
We ate and we ate some more and because it is Thanksgiving to hell with the kitchen and YES we WILL pile all that food not eaten in heaps on top of each other and be totally unaware that there are starving people in the world ( although stock and good meat was saved and refrigerated immediately because we have limits) but those roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes that no-one will want anyway, leave them there.
So , phew, stuffed and just getting that snoozy feeling, about 7.30..guess what! Go on!

Yes, our lovely friends arrived....HOORAY!
Oh HELLO! Oh I am so glad you made it ( shit, shit NOW what, quick, go and find food as if you saved it and .....OH NO!!!)
Then, in the kitchen, whilst doing that stupid jiggedy dancing thing where you almost stand in one spot but your whole body is going in 12 different directions in sheer panic because LOOK....lovely bacon and stuffing rolls in the BIN and potatoes all lovely with dirty dishes ontop....all we had was turkey, ham that wasn't successful when hot was totally unappetising cold ( will make a pie or something but couldn't put it on a plate right then)
Julie came out and was sort of whispering and bending down and whispering again" What will you DO? Um....get some potatoes and make chips ( no oil!) oh mash then, make some mash and there could be some, um ,er........oh what can you DO?) H came out and suggested a sandwich and that's a great idea as we always have beautiful crusty bread...not today, for the first time in probably 2 years or more we had 4 dinner rolls and more turkey. So our guests had 2 dinner rolls, sad little warmed up rolls with turkey. And pie, 3 slices of pie because we HAD pie cherry, apple and pumpkin( and then I learned that lovely man guest has diabetes so he gets a coma as a bonus prize probably right. about. now)
It could only be worse if someone at church at some time has given them my blog link and then they can read all about it and know how horrified I was that they did get here when I so clearly thought they wouldn't. Steve and Norma, I love you.....please come again and I will actually FEED you next time, real food, that is hot and maybe we will even have a real napkin instead of a bit of paper towel. Oh no it really WAS horrible and I know that somewhere I have napkins with turkeys on them and little wheatie things, real thanksgiving ones.
Good pies though and entertainment from 3 little boys on a sugar from cherry pie rush and Santa, who performed beautifully and I can tell you that we can even plug the iPod into Santa and he will sing with mouth moving and head turning, he even jiggles his arms....Isaac had him grooving to Johnny Cash and insists that he dances much better to him that those piddling christmas ditties, he likes to get on down does Santa. Isaac sat with Santa a lot today, he loves him and is very keen that he now go back in his box until it is nearly christmas because ' one of those others are going to BREAK him!'...Elijah ( can you imagine) actually did punch Santa in his fat belly to see what happened and what happened was Isaac told him that he was absolutely going to get a LUMP OF COAL NOW !! and Eli sat in a huddled heap in a corner and wept with remorse because he didn't MEAN it, it just happened and he is so SORRRRRRRRY!
So Santa is safely packed away, with his legs up his jacket and his head in a plastic bag. Phew.
When I am a little unsure if what to do...I talk. I can hear myself talk, my head is yelling at me to SHUT UP NOW! Naturally my mouth never listens to my head and so I talk and talk and just keep bloody talking.
The very best, most splendid part of an evening like this is when it ends, when you say goodbye in that overly cheerful voice and say how you must do it all again and how LOVELY! Then you shut the door and cringe a lot while you get your 'jamas on, while you cleanse your face and clean your teeth and then sit on the sofa next to your lovely husband of 9 years and you don't have to say a word, just hold his lovely hand and snigger every now and then and he knows what you are thinking.
I am so glad I married H, we talked about how freaky those first years were and how this was all so not our idea. I look at H now and I absolutely cannot imagine him joining an online singles site, nothing is futher away from his idea of a good plan! I did it because my mum asked me to, for one month, had a message from H the next day and was married to him within 5 months. We are both amazed that it happened and also laughed about how for at least 2 years we both stuck with it because we knew it was right....not sure why or how but we knew it and knew that it would work.
It really does work, as time goes by, I like him more. I have always loved him but I didn't know him for a long time, the more I know him, the more I like him and I am very happy to be his wife.
I am thankful for many things. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wow...that'd be great!

Well, I went to get weighed today, feeling not at all hopeful...the past two weeks have felt hopeless and really I thought that I had fudged up, the thing is, I am so used to eating to numb any feelings, old habits die hard, take yesterday for example, I was rushing and it got to 5pm, I popped over to mum's house and thought " well, I will pick up some fish and chips, it won't hurt..." I didn't of course, we had chicken and roasted vegetables. but the thought had been there, several times I have stood in the kitchen holding a packet of crisps....and then put them back. I crave the salty deliciousness of chips and crisps, I love them! I have learned though that 2 cracker breads at 16 cals each with a thin scrape of peanut butter gives me the same satisfaction. I lost another 4lbs! I can tell you I walked out of there on such a high, the nurse was great and is beginning to get excited for me. I told her that the next weigh in needs to be in 3 weeks as I am going away ( I am! Boston! Next week!!) She said " Oh have a great time and remember you are on holiday, if you can just stay the same I will be thrilled! " Stay the same? I think not! I absolutely intend to eat delicious food, I will choose whatever looks good at the time but I really don't want to use the tip as an excuse to slip back into old ways.
OH!!!! I just went over to my diet blog, I kept it even when I went and gained all the weight back, I never knew why I didn't just wipe that out, delete it, every time I log on to write this blog I will see the link to that one and for nearly 2 years I have been so cross at myself for giving up, mad that I gained all the weight I lost and more, I still kept it though and I am SO excited, I went back and read it.... first of all, I see that I didn't gain back all the weight I lost last time and most exciting of all is that I am now 5lbs lighter than I was back then, when I felt so good and as though I had achieved so much! I look at the picture I took when I felt so much better and can't believe that I am 5lbs lighter now


I read how these jeans fit me and I was excited...and shhhhhh, guess what, these are the ones that I am wearing NOW, that I can get on and off without undoing. I had no idea that I was here, at this point. I don't feel like I did then, I still feel big and embarrassed. I do know that I have still been wearing my big clothes, the same ones I wore before I started this new way of living. A couple of old favourites have gone because they were uncomfortably baggy but I still wear the huge shirts, hiding away in them. I think it may be time to start wearing some smaller ones.
I know my PJs are huge, gloriously swimmingly loose and comfy, I love that I still pick out something to wear and am surprised when it fits and then is comfy and then even too big.
I am glad that I still feel as though this is the beginning, I don't feel as though I am slogging my way though this.
I know that this IS still the beginning. I can keep going, keep being excited to find new foods
( and also some old recipes, I forgot about some of the great meals I made last time, I am so glad I have that diary still there. I thought I had been doing this much longer than I actually have this time....oh I so wish I could bottle how this feels, I would be a millionaire!
I am excited about thursday, we always have a thanksgiving dinner, we invite friends over and we always have a great time. This year we have invited a lovely couple to come and eat with us, the husband visits us every month as a home teacher from church, he is such a humble man, a real gentleman, kind and funny and I actually think that he is the closest thing to a friend that H has had for many years. I am so excited to have him and his gentle wife here in our home, to be able to relax and get to know them more.
I have done all the shopping for our dinner, turkey, baked ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped stuffing, green bean casserole, biscuits ( American dinner ones not cookies!) good old Asda! We will have gravy and cranberry sauce, I am making pumpkin pie and I bought cherry pie and apple pies too.
I intend to eat whatever I like, I don't see myself eating dessert because I really don't enjoy that any more, I will eat everything else though because I can! I will cook it all the healthy way, no dripping butter etc, I realised today that this is a way of life, I think this is how 'normal' people live, eating sensibly and eating good food and sometimes splurging...not the way I used to do it, which was the opposite, binging with the odd day off ( if I was sick!) I really do eat everything I enjoy and I enjoy everything I eat. I still go to eat some of the crap I used to eat and then I catch myself and give myself a good talking to, or rather, I just remind myself that I don't need that anymore, the comfort I used to get from food comes from elsewhere now. I have done things differently this time in learning, as I go along, what various foods do for, or against me.
Oh how I hope this doesn't stop anytime soon!
H is really impressed and is, can you believe it, not stingy in his praise, good heavens! That helps, when you're told how well you are doing it certainly makes you inclined to keep doing it. I love that he is joining in too, I fancy his shirts are a bit looser too, of course he is nowhere near as splendid as me and he still eats crusty bread and butter, he can't help it, some people just don't have the iron will do they?
So, a good day today, a little more hope and a lot more enthusiasm to keep on keeping on. Marvellous.
Look, I had to go and look at more pictures that were taken last time, this one is to me, unbelievable...I know I don't look this thin now..yet I am 5lbs lighter? I will have to have Sophie take pictures tomorrow and put on a tighter T shirt, I don't believe it at all!


If I do look like this now.... well whoobloodyhoo that'd be just great!


Monday, November 24, 2008

That'll do for me.

My goodness, what a few days. I discovered that I am always going to be faced with demons. I keep telling myself that I am BETTER...look at me, all well, not a care in the world...yeay!
That's great because I am feeling that way more and more. I do know though that there will be times when things don't feel OK. What I have to work out is how to deal with it.
The little boys are getting bigger, really quickly. It seems every day they grow more, they want more independence, they are leaning more.
H is a great dad to these little people, he seems to know what they need when they need it. Bit by bit he is allowing them more independence, little things, allowing seth to run ahead on the last stretch of the school run. wow, big boy ( Oh Dear God, what if, in those 2 seconds someone is in a car right at the 'right' moment and they snatch him and then ....)
He lets them go around the corner to retrieve that lost ball, wow big boys ( Oh, oh but what if there is a pedophile that lives in that house on the corner or a workman with a white van waiting to grab him and take him away and never bring him back)
Tag rugby tournaments after, grown up, sporty boy ( but I don't know who else will be there and what if they actually hurt him and do unmentionable things to him while we are sitting at home thinking how great it is that he is so into these things?)
Every morning, instead of going back to bed, I make myself busy, laundry, cleaning, moving things, moving things back that I see H come home and behave normally and then I know that no-one got lost in those 3 seconds, no-one was snatched and damaged, no-one is dead. Phew.
For a while there I was way back when, reliving how terrible it was to be rehashing and what if-ing, blaming and loathing, remembering how bad it feels to know that while your child was being abducted and abused, well you had no idea, you were going about your business as if there wasn't a care in the world ( and in fact I was at the hospital having a 10cm wound reopened, but what they hey, still had no idea what was happening to those boys.
Right back in 1990 hearing word for word what happened while I was oblivious. Remembering exactly how it felt to know that this was real, nothing could undo it, nothing I did stopped it. I was so careful, so cautious, so totally determined to do it all right, even doing everything I could....I didn't keep them safe ( and yes, I do know that actually, because I was at the hospital and I wasn't the one that put them outside...blah blah....none of that matters when the demons take over) So what control do I have now? With these children?
That has been my last week. Frozen anxiety attacks, unable to move or do anything but cry, very quietly so no-one sees. I can't let anyone see because they can't help, if they try and get it wrong...much worse, so all done so quietly. just to release that terrible hurt and then on we go.
Then, yesterday I got that video and can't you just see how my mum and dad were with us, look how gently they carry us and look at us, we were so precious and I knew, as I looked at that chunky little girl that was me, that I was so adored, so cherished and I still am.
At 6, my house was filled with people that are mine, huge big men people, little noisy boy people, grandbaby, big happy, well girl. Mine.
The front room was filled to bursting, bodies everywhere and in the middle, a chunky baby, with a face so alight with joy it was impossible to not feel it....he was so thrilled to be surrounded by all these big people, the noise was unbelievable and I looked at them and I saw just how happy these people are, I listened and I was overwhelmed by what I have now. What enormous treasure there is right here.
As quick as lightening all those terrible feelings went away. We can't change what will be, we can't alter what has already been, we just have what is, right now.
I'm sure that for always, I will have flashbacks to way back when, I hope that I can always do what I did this time, deal with it the way it works for me, when it's over explain to H why I was the way I was, bask in his calm back patting and thrive on the fact that right now...things are alright.
I have a flight to get through and only 10 days until Sophie and I have 6 days of fun and memories.
I took pictures today, of the loud ones and the littlest boy with the biggest smile....when I can get on H's laptop, if I can work out how to do it, I will post some. Priceless.

OK. so here they are, touble is...well you'll see, if you ( or I ) were hoping for beautiful posed pictures, you know, with gleaming smiles and tidy hair, everyone looking in the same direction....well good luck with that!
Take for instance, my saying " don't just all sit there...DO something!" You'd think I would know by now......wouldn't you?


but the laughing....there is so much of that, give me that over perfect smiles and tidy hair.

At least I got one picture of beauty, one of people looking serene and..... I didn't give birth to either of them.



Sunday, November 23, 2008


Oh my goodness, this is too glorious! It does however age me in the most terrifying way, would you just look at those cars!! This is me, aged about 10 months, my bother David and sister Julie taken in 1963, I love the bit with my dad, jumping for joy and then digging in his shirt and tie!
I was a beautiful baby, though I say so myself.
Do you love my brothers shorts?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Please sir....

What a day I had today, nonstop all day, the whole day flew by and I managed to get a lot accomplished. First thing I called and set up travel insurance for Sophie and I, pretty good price and always strange how you can buy that hoping you never need to use it! I went next to the bank to get Sophie's money and change it to $$$, while in the queue I spotted a flier that proclaimed anyone with an Advantage Gold account can use travel insurance free, hmmm, must be a catch, that seems to handy, and FREE? Nothing is for free.
I have had this account fo 4 years, I pay a £12 fee every month and every month I tut and sigh about that fee, darn banks, robbers and thieves and ne're do wells. So, I called the freephone number when I got home ( because the website is hopeless!) and get this... " why yes, you travel insurance is covered and you know you have full breakdown recovery service too, don't you? Homestart, it's you that is covered by the way, whatever car you ae in, whether it is yours or not, we will send someone to fix the car at the roadside or tow you to a garage free of charge, also if you are at home and your car won't start, we'll send someone to see to that for you, no charge, it's all coevered in that £12 fee you pay each month, Oh know you have cell phone coverage too? Yes if you lose you phone etc, we will replace that for you. Mrs do know that when you travle, if you call that number I gave you, you will get a 10% discount on your holidays? How about when you buy a new appliance you get an added years warranty?"
I had the best time, I got online and I cancelled the RAC breakdown service that I pay for every single month ( for 4 years that I didn't have to pay it!) The foneshield insurance, every month....the travel insurance I paid for only this morning...Ka- ching! I am not thinking about how much money I have spent in the 4 years, I am thinking about how much I no longer need to pay! How often do we get off the phone from the bank feeling we have come out winning? Quite. Thankyou Nat West, I shall no longer tsk tsk about that £12 fee every month.
I had my hair cut...great deal, one of Jordan's friends is in college and she works in a salon 2 days a week, so she cut it with the head stylist checking her every move, she did the best job, I love it and it cost £10!!
I downloaded christmas music the other day, the boys love it and earlier I heard them playing it, I went into the room and oh my heavens, 3 little boys doing the chipmonk dance from Alvin and the chipmonks....tomorrow they want to get their Elf costumes from the attic so that I can video them doing this dance, it is the funniest, cutest thing ever! I am enjoying these little boys so much at the moment..long may that last, little gits.
Good day, we like that vey much. Please sir, can I have some more?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like.....

My laptop died it's death after weeks and weeks of spluttering along, I am using H's laptop, that means I have to sit in the wrong place, wait for him to not be using it, try and work my way around an unfamiliar computer ( why is the delete button never in the same place?) The R sticks, I keep having to go back and redo all the words with the letter R in it.
It's all too much like hard work for me and so today, I determined that I would use my time more wisely, it is just TWO WEEKS until Sophie and I fly to Boston, when we get home it will be 2 weeks to Christmas and if I am anything like I was in June, those 2 weeks will be spent in a foggy stupor, jet lagged and completely stupid.
I decided that this year, I was going to make all my own cards again, I want them done by the time I leave for Boston so I can mail the US ones over there ( because I am tight fisted and hate to pay more for the postage than the card. Postage to the US is ridiculous, I went to mail a small box of chocolate last week and they wanted £40 for it! Nope, not happening, no way no how!
So, I have started my cards and so far have made nearly 50, I am very pleased with them because now I can send cards that say what I want to say.
Making the cards has reminded me just how much I love to do this kind of thing. I found some other things that called my name, oh I am feeling so festive! I even downloaded Christmas music and the boys are in seventh heaven listening to ' Grandma got run over by a reindeer', 'The redneck 12 days of Christmas' and 'I want a hippopotamus for Christmas' I am getting more excited about this year's celebrations.
I love the fact that we are setting traditions for our family, every year I buy matching pyjamas for H and the boys, this year I want to buy some for Sophie and I that tie in with that, with our new tradition to eat our big meal on Christmas eve, we can stay in our PJs on Christmas day until we feel like getting dressed....the boys love having H wear the same PJs as them, especially Eli, I want to make the most of that while they still think it is fun. Too soon they will start to think it's naff.
Actually, it might be lovely to buy Jordan, Mel and Joshua matching PJs as well and after our dinner on Christmas ever we can all open our PJs.
I am amazed that Seth still doesn't seem to have a clue about Santa, he stated a doubt or two about the tooth fairy and last year he wondered about santa but this year, he is so excited about it all....wonderful.
I will be missing for a while, until my laptop gets back from the menders, last time it took a month and then they lost it, I got a new one and then the old one came back, I hope that isn't repeated, I love my laptop!I do like however, doing more with my time.
( oooh, think I just cleared that 'R' darn crumbs!!)
I feel better, I am so relieved, feeling so sad is just awful, it is so crippling to feel so helpless and unable to function. I know why I felt like that and that always helps to fight it, for a while I just seem to crash, get swamped by all the emotions and once I can work out what has made me do that, I can reason my way out of it. I can't change the things that cause the crashes but I can battle my way out of it ..usually!
It will do me good to get out and about more, I love this time of year, I love to walk around garden centers and look at the Christmas things, get ideas for decorating. I will use H's laptop when he goes to bed but otherwise will probably not get online too often and I don't think it will hurt me too much at all. I feel stale and uninteresting lately and hope to come back with tales to tell and ability to tell them in an entertaining way....hopefully I will be stunned by the speed with which my laptop returns to me and joy in the fact that I will no longer have to hold the laptop upside down, wiggle the lead that charges it and then prop it up with Princess Lea's boobs ( a McD's Pen that the boys got with a happy meal, we discovered her boobs were the ideal height for holding the charge lead up so it worked! Oh to have a laptop that just WORKS!)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saying it as it is.

I just read this quote from a woman who lost 100lbs in 17 months....inspiration is what I need!

This 15 months would have passed by no matter what I did, but it was the little day-by-day, moment-by-moment, workout-by-workout choices I made that added up to big changes, not some huge, one-time life-changing event. No magic pill, no easy solution - just baby steps and a fundamental shift in thinking about exercise and eating.

See, this is what I need, she said what I have been trying to say in that, however long this takes, well that time would be passing anyway, if I can lose even a pound a week, well eventually I will get there. If I don''s all downhill!
She has some tips and I am looking into some of the things she did..oh by the way she has TWELVE children. I wish she had a blog! I know that the key for me is now exercise, I have to find something that is doable for me and that may well be more cleaning, scrubbing, car washing, anything that feels worth doing and gets me up, out and moving.
I sent the letters off that I wrote yesterday and feel very much better, I also made a couple of those dreaded calls to arrange some payment schemes for bills that have got way out of hand, it'll be tough but at least I have peace of mind and some idea of how they will be paid, no more hiding letters that arrive and ignoring phone calls from 'withheld' or 'unknown' numbers ( actually I will still ignore those, if you don't want me to know who you are before I speak to you, I am not going to speak to you!)
I've been sliding down the can't pay won't pay slope, I am pretty good at only buying what we have the money for, keeping outgoings to a minimum etc but every now and then some bills get overwhelming, I can't see how I can pay them and I shut my eyes to them for a while, all the time worrying more about them than if I just faced up and found a way to deal with them. Our water bill is huge, I got a letter, after signing up for low income social capping, saying that payments were £16.15 a month, COOL....set it up at the bank and have been paying that every month. Seems that was a wrong calculation ( and lets face it, I think I had a clue!) so I started getting " you haven't paid us" letters...which I ignored because I couldn't pay more.....anyway today I called and now have a much bigger, tougher amount to find each month, I will do it. I just won't like doing it! Now I have to get brave and tackle an outstanding gas bill....soon. Maybe!
I can hear " how does she go to America twice in one year then?" Well because twice now I have decided that I wanted to. That's it. I did it in June.......when I got home I felt so bad because I really shouldn't have done it. We don't have the means to do this kind of thing without seriously sacrificing and the fact that I did do it made me feel dreadful. I played serious catch up for 3 months when I got home and phew, did it. All straight!
Then, before I knew what I was doing I started a whole new lets do THAT again....and I am going to say here and now that unless I win the lottery or miracles happen, this is the last time I will do it. It is ridiculous to pretend that this is an OK thing for me to do. It really isn't, it is selfish and impractical ( and also completely wonderful ) I can justify it by saying that while I am there I will be spending money that I would have spent on Christmas anyway, I will be buying what I would have bought anyway.
I have a husband who insists that I do it, he refuses to even hear a word about it being selfish, unnecessary etc, he says it IS necessary and he loves the women I go to meet, they are the exact kind of friends he would have me have, he loves them because they love me and because they make me a better person.
I am also justifying this trip by telling myself ( and now you!) that the time I will be spending with Sophie will be worth even more than we have spent on getting there and doing this. She needs this time with me and I need the time with her. I am praying that when she experiences the bond that is between us all as friends, when she sees what real friendship is, what true and unconditional love between friends can be like when she sees and feels that SHE is worthy of this kind of love....she will continue to see that the way she is taking her life is worth all the work she has put in, that going back to her old life will never be something she wants to do.
She is having a rough time right now because it has taken a lot for her to get this far towards this trip. I wanted it to be tough, I wanted her NOT to have any spare money, I wanted her to put everything in to get to Boston and she has. It is just 2 weeks an 2 days, we'll be there. It can't come soon enough for her ( or me) now.
It IS a good thing we are doing. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.....bring them on!
When we get back though, I am going back to being realistic Helen. I like sleeping easy, paying bills, being thrifty. I don't think I chose to live this way, given the choice my life would be very different. I think though, that life has a habit of giving us what we need. I am very glad that I am able to make what we have go a long way, I will look on these trips with such fond memories but I have to admit that I can't keep doing it.
I shall make sure that this trip is one that Sophie talks about for years, until she is old and grey....I shall make sure that we both have a blast, how could we not when we are meeting the people we are meeting?
Oooh, lets make it a great one!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

I do.

I had an interview this week, in fact receive a recommend to entitle me to visit and attend the Temple. Anyone is able and welcome to attend our church, we love new enter the temple though you must be a full member of the church and hold a current temple recommend.
The interviews are quick, a few questions to make sure that you are living in a way that is in keeping with entering a sacred and holy place. Of course, I image that should you be a member of the church and want to go to the temple, you could lie and answer the questions the way you know they should be answered, it's easy enough to know what the 'right'answers are.
The thing is, there is a feeling in the room, an incredible, emotional, spiritual feeling that is impossible to ignore. I can't imagine how anyone could possibly sit and lie in the face of the good men asking the questions.
I sat in a little office and I listened to the questions and I was so overwhelmed by the simplicity, the beautiful simplicity of these questions and I was so thrilled that I was able to answer 'I do' to them.
Do I believe in the Atonement of Christ? Yes, I do, without reservation. I know He lives, I know He was here and such was His love for me that He gave his life, he endured unimaginable pain to ensure that I can return to my Heavenly Father.
Do I sustain the leaders of the Church? Yes I do, I know that these are good men, Godly men, men who live their lives with integrity, you only need to be in the same room to know that these men are doing what the Lord would have them do.
Do I strive to live my life and keep the covenants I have made? Yes I do, many many times I fail and I just get back up and try to get it right. I love that we are not expected to be perfect, I am just expected to try.

I know that I appear to be flippant, that I make light of so much in this life. It's my protection.
I don't show the real me often enough, I think I have hidden behind my laugh a minute exterior for so long I forget that sometimes, often, it is OK to be gentle and real, to be emotional and spiritual. It's there and it's very real...ask me and I'll show you. I truly believe that when I allow the spirit to guide me I am a better person, I know that if I shared with you the beliefs I have, you will feel it too. The thing is, when I talk about the love I have for the Lord, for my saviour Jesus Christ, I cry. Always, it is impossible for me to speak about the strength of my faith without being overwhelmed..sometimes I can't let that happen because I am so emotional about so many things, it's that old worry of thinking if I start to cry about one thing, even such a great and happy thing as my love for Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ, well I may not be able to stop and before you know it, you'll be staring at a puddle of complete nonsensical weeping. Shut it in, block it out.
I am aware that for some reason ( and I honestly don't know what that is) I am smack bang in the middle of another slump. I wake up sad, I wake up holding my breath, I think I am waiting for some catastrophe that isn't even coming ( I hope!)
The past 2 weeks have been so tough to stick with the healthy living. I have done it and I am so pleased that I have but it has been soooooooo hard. Eating has been a way of comforting myself for way too long. It is automatic to me, to reach for food when I feel sad or worried. I am not going to give in to that anymore. I am breaking the habit ( if it kills me!) I am going to start doing the opposite when I want to cram the food in to dull the pain. This house is going to be a sparkling palace...instead of eating I am going to clean something, wash something, move something, change something. Do anything to keep myself from falling back into that miserable trap because it feels good to be in control. I love feeling my clothes get looser.....I'm not giving that up!
Gah...look at that! I started to write a lovely blog about how good it felt to have that interview, I was going to say how great it was to have this wonderful man tell me what a great family we have, how he can see how H loves me and my children and look at that....whining and griping about depression.
Funny how, having spoken to H before me, the lovely man who was talking to me, told me how happy H was, how he loved me and our can bet I had a word with H about that, H's reply ..." Oh come on, you know you love a man who tells you how much your husband loves you" whilst looking relieved that someone else had done all that ahem, you know, emotional stuff.
I know H loves me, he shows me every day but sometimes, just every now and then, how wonderful it would be to be romanced, surprised...swept off my feet for just a moment.
Oh well, I shall have to make do with a wonderful dad, kind and patient husband who not only agrees to let me swan off to his own country leaving him behind..but positively encourages it. tough life isn't it?
I have a confession to make......I rather like those Wii do-dads...Jordan has one and the boys love it but I..yes ME, I love the look of the music machine game and the Wii fit sounds like a blast ( but pretty sure I would lose interest in that quick enough!)
Also....we are close to having an allotment! Heh! Can you picture that? Me in wellies digging for Britain, planting cabbages and carrots? Organic home grown vegetables. Actually we are most likely going to share my sisters with her. We shall help with the digging and share in the spoils. I have to find something that gets me moving that seems to have a purpose, I just can't seem to make myself walk here and there and run on the spot.
A you think that how you feel affects the amount of weight you lose? I ask because even though I am sticking with the diet, I don't feel the same, I swear I am gaining weight ( can't weight myself so it's just a feeling) I feel that horrible miserable loathing and I hate it.
I am not cheating, although I really want to, I am doing what I need to do but I am not enjoying it, it doesn't feel good right now, it just feels miserable.
I hope it doesn't affect the outcome because hell, if it isn't twice the effort when I don't feel all gung ho about it all. I just feel like my misery is clinging to the fat, it's holding onto everything that it brings with it, everything that helps it grow..and the fat is misery's best friend. I swear I can hear my misery laughing and saying " don't go you ugly fat, I need you to make her feel worse ....and worse, don't let her feel good!"
I am disheartened that this is going to take so long, that the results are so slow, so unshocking and minuscule. What giving up would do is nothing though, just make me feel more's just a damned frustrating place to be right now.
I made a batch of vegetable soup yesterday, delicious, however, I put red cabbage in it, it has dyed the whole soup purple, I can't tell you how bizarre it is to eat purple soup. It's Bizarre.
Not as bizarre though, as the bush tucker trial which just happens to be on right now. Oh my goodness, why am I laughing so hard as I watch these people try and chew, then swallow, scorpions, crocodile eyes.......oh my, the gagging and the running on the spot, the watery eyes, the drool.....nothing on earth would make me do that. Why do these people ( not celebrities, really, a few people I know from years ago and then footballers girlfriends? I think not!) why do they do this show? I know that there is a minuscule chance that they might revive a flagging career but for heavens sake...the things they are made to do are just incredible!
Is it an English only show?I'm a celebrity get me out of here? Is it a world wide show like Big Brother? It is entertaining, even if you have no idea who these people are, they deserve to be on TV for a few weeks!
Now they are eating crickets and cockroaches! Heh! Silkworms and witchetty grubs...alive of course! Whoops..gagged right along with him that time..oh my dear, urppppppp! Oh look, dessert is a crocodile penis ( and scrotum) and Kangaroo scrotum. Yum. They have to chew at least 5 times. Insane I tell you.
I love a good reality show. I wonder if a show of my life would be a best seller? I don't think people would believe it somehow! Would someone like to write that screen play? I wrote my letter of disagreement to the benefits people today, I was impressed with myself and thought if there was a job out there that involved writing impressive letters, I should go after that one! Now I sit and wait to see whether they will make a snap decision and revoke the stupid doctors decision or if I have to go once again to tribunal....ho hum.
Screen play anyone?


Friday, November 14, 2008

Phew that was lucky!

Emma tagged me ( I would link to her blog but she's private and unshowyoffy, unlike me, I am a tart for readers, show me some love!) Great to be tagged sometimes, especially when you are all out of blog fodder.
The thing is, I am supposed to print the 4th picture in my 4th album and talk about it...wouldn't you know MY luck...want to see what the picture is? Sure you do.

Wow....that's a great shot isn't it? What a dull picture. Amazing that it has me in tears isn't it? No idea what has got into me this week but the darndest things are making me cry. This picture is the view from our room at the barn, before we moved in. I stood in that doorway and took that picture and I simply could not believe that we were about to live there.
We moved out over a year ago, I still drive past it, often, I still long to drive into the crunchy gravel driveway and shut the gates behind me and shut out the world.
I want to park right here...


and I want to run up the stairs and see this....


and this...


The barn was so posh, it was a dream home and I loved it there, not because it was posh but because for the first time in 18 years I felt safe. I slept every night, all night. I woke up happy, I loved coming home.
We had so many people over in the short time we live there. Our doors were always open and so many people came and ate with us, played in the garden, we had water days, bar-b-qs, birthday parties.
I would stand and look out of the window for the longest time because I loved what I saw.
The barn smelled so good, all that beautiful oak wood, I don't think I will ever forget anything about that house.
It is still unsold, we could still be there if the landlady from Hell hadn't pushed and shoved and sent us to the house of filth and stink.
The price is coming down because nothing is selling lately.....£329.000 now, £50,000 off the original asking price. Sometimes I make lists of what I would do 'if' you know, if dreams came true....and that house is always at the very top. Not a mansion, not a huge rambling house in acres of land...that one. I long for how that house made me feel.
Watching the boys running out in the 'wilderness,' all that freedom whilst so safe behind those 10 foot solid gates.

If that were ours, we would plant fruit trees, clear all the land and have it all available to play in, grow food, I would have a summer house for reading in, taking naps, painting. Right at the bottom left corner, away from the world.

I am pretty sure that this ridiculous rushing around and 'going' places would stop, I wouldn't need to go, because I would be home. I am so tired of feeling at a loose end.
People say that money can't buy happiness, but sometimes, I think it can. I do know that H and I consider ourselves blessed in that the only thing we DON'T have, is money. I mean that, I really do. There is nothing else I hanker after other than a home, in fact this home.
I am sure that somewhere, there are other homes that I would love as much, of course there are. It's the feeling I had in this one though that I crave. I have never felt that way, not since I was a little girl and was safe because I was with my mum and dad and had no worries.
I loved one other home, one in Wiltshire, when I was married to the first one.....I loved that home and loved cleaning it, making it beautiful, coming home to it, then the first one left, ruined it all, the boys were snatched from outside that house and my hell began. That was 18 years ago and from that day I have never felt safe since. Apart from that 8 weeks.
I loved the house in the town too, enjoyed making that home, I can't say we were happy there because so much anger was there, so much tribulation and stress. I walk past that house often and feel kindly towards it, but don't wish myself back there.
I wonder what it is about some walls that make a place home. Funny how different homes make different people feel as though they belong there isn't it? So many different abodes and each one has a family meant to belong in it.
I often walk into other peoples' homes and feel as though I belong. You can feel the spirit in it, feel the peace and comfort. I love that. I miss it for me though, I just can't seem to get it here. Actually things are improving here, little touches are making the difference, spirits are lifting.

So, Emma....look what you did! I'm glad you came to the barn and know what I am talking's one great house isn't it?
Kind of makes a person feel like this...


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Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's all about communication!

Oh how I laughed!
The set up here is that I hold the purse strings, call me a control freak...because I am! We tried it the other way with H being 'in charge' and it didn't work, H was not good with money.
I say he was not because he wasn't and now? I think he might be, sort of. Can't be sure because things work well this way, why try to fix what ain't broke, as they say.
All our money goes into my account and I deal with it, I pay bills, make decisions ( although big things like a car, which is the only 'big' thing we have ever bought) is done together, I think, persuade, discuss and then we buy ( what I choose, obviously!) Often I have to persuade H that he wants exactly what I want and he always agrees, there are times when I have to tell him to trust me and he does and then " Hey! Look at that..we chose well!" Like when I bought the leather sofas and he was distinctly not for that idea and I told him that he would be, as soon as he saw them and saw how grand we would be and for heavens sake would you just see how I bought them for £235 on Ebay and they cost 5 times that new!! And just as I predicted, he was so proud of our thriftiness and smart auction buying ways.
Anyway, I know that when I have had times where I am not in control and have no money at my disposal I am very unhappy, I am of the belief that every adult needs to have some money that is theirs to spend, even if it is a small amount, enough to buy a magazine, cake from the bakery or a daily newspaper, it is enough to save the soul. Having no money, at all is soul destroying.
So, every week H has some money that is his to spend, he can buy whatever he likes and will never have to answer to what it goes on. He actually rarely spends it ( annoying sometimes!) he buys things like packs of go-go crazy bones for little boys that have done extra homework, he will take 3 little boys into town on a saturday I know! all 3! at the same time....give the man a medal you won't catch ME doing that I tell you what! He takes them to the library, to the aladdin's cave that is the pound shop and they go to Warrens the bakery and buy a cake each.
He buys basketballs galore and that is his job because they must be specific basketballs, not colourful ones that look good, oh no.....I gave up even thinking of buying basketballs, not worth the scathing looks I got thankyouverymuch.
He lends Sophie money....even when I beg him not too, he is a softie and is rather more fond of her than he used to be and she is quick to tell me that she doesn't even bother to ask me anymore, she goes right to him. When Sophie is paid, her money goes into one of my accounts ( hark at me! Yes I have multiple accounts, 3 in the UK and 1 in the US of ask me how many have money in them...I dare you!)
So her money goes into my account, I take out whatever she owes, divvy it out and off we go.
Last week, Sophie said " Did you give H the £50 I owed him? Only he said I still owe him £50 and I know I don't because you paid it to him, didn't you?!"
Oh arseholes.
I took it out, put it aside, paid for her ticket to Boston ( 3 weeks time we will be there!) I Robbed Peter, to pay Paul.....phew done. Until then when she reminded me that I took it out, put it to one side and then spent it, on who knows what but it wasn't anything fun, I guarantee it. Oh fluff under the bed as my dad would what? Now I had to find that as well as the myriad of other must be paid crap this month has thrown at me!
Anyway I told Hwhat I had done and we laughed and I said "so, I'll give you that back, when we've got it...heh, you know.....eventually!" All was well.
Then ...without going into boring detail, all hell broke loose on the money front and the trip is looming so gloriously close and I wailed and worried and then had the glorious idea of handing the reins to H....a bit.
Marvellous, if I go to Asda for bread, milk and carrots I spend £40 at least and occasionally I actually remember either the bread, milk or carrots....if H goes he comes back with bread, milk and carrots.....amazing isn't it?
So, I went to the cheapest supermarket there is, bought heavy and bulky goods like tins, toilet paper, washing powder and then I gave H £40 and said that I wasn't going near a shop, it was up to him....and I meant it.
Wow....thursday...nothing, friday....nothing, Saturday a loaf of bread, monday....nothing but some cream cheese, tuesday..."H, can you give me £5 for vegetables, I need to make some soup..."
" You want me to lend you some?"
"No...give it to me, out of the housekeeping I gave you"
"what housekeeping?"
"The £40 housekeeping I gave you to do shopping because you buy what we need and I buy what we want....and we have to save money"
"Oh, that's what that was? I thought that was the £40 from Sophie!"
See? He listens to everything I say.
I have never seen our fridge so empty, I was so good though, I didn't whine about how mean he was being because I was hoping he would be! He was even better at it than I thought he would be and all because he hadn't listened / heard a word I said!
He had a great day on wednesday though and spent the rest of this weeks housekeeping so I didn't say something like "hey you only needed £10 this week, cool here's this weeks tenner!"
This week I didn't even go and buy the heavy stuff, I handed H £60 and he is on his own, I am not going near a supermarket which is hard for me because I do love to shop.
H is marvellous, everytime he buys something he puts the receipts on the fridge, now if I were in his shoes I am pretty sure that is not what I would do, I would shop as cheaply as possible, try really hard to make sure some of that money was left and I would count that as my bonus.
I am told I am like my great Nana, who was married to a bit of a meaner, he would ask her the price of various foods, have her make up a list of everything she would need for the week, add it up and give her the exact amount. She then would buy ( for example) pork sausage instead of beef, small differences like that and she would save what little she had managed to knock off the balance and when she had saved enough, she would buy herself some jewellery. That's my kind of girl!
H is so into doing the shopping and I am finding little memos to himself of things he has noticed are low...I think we may hang onto this new plan, when I get back from Boston and don't have to count every penny, I think we will still share the shopping because he loves it as much as I do and it really does save money. I can't resist a bargain, I buy things in bulk because I like to feel I am saving money, sometimes it does save, sometimes I just end up buying stuff we simply do not need.
I am very ready for a shopping spree, I can do this whole not spending thing, the scrimping and saving, the look but don't buy...but only for so long! I am ready to christmas shop, Target shop, any kind of shopping. Bring it on.
5 weeks until Christmas, that's close isn't it? 3 weeks to Boston and today H said grandpa is hoping to visit before Christmas. I hope he lets us know when very soon, I love that H will get a day or two in London, he is due a break and he loves to go and meet his dad, spend a day in London and then bring him back. It'll be lovely to have grandpa here again, he hasn't seen this house and hasn't visited us here for 2 years or so, I can't wait to have him here again.
I don't even feel nervous about flying this time ( yet) I have my drugs and they worked so well last time I know that if I feel scared I shall take one of those marvellous little tablets and wake up an hour or so into the flight! I'll even have Sophie to nudge me if I snore, perfect!
3 more weeks, that's all. Marvellous.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Julie Bo wrote a poem for Cathy, she said everything I could want to say and better. Especially about the laughing, she can reduce the most stern of people to a heap of incontinent hysteria.
The thing is, Julie is more like Cathy than she knows.
Never have I been so happy to have such friends as these.
I am so blessed to know these women.
These women live by the golden rule and rarely a day goes by without them doing something to touch others' lives.
I love this group of friends, every one, that came together through the internet and somehow, between us, with each having something different to offer we have forged such friendships. I wonder what I did to deserve to be a part of such a group, you know how, when you are at school and there is that popular group, all the 'best girls' and me, well I was always on the outside....not in with the cool ones.
The difference is, this time I am in with the popular girls, right there in the middle with all these great women and this time, the popular girls are that way because they are nice, they are funny and kind and compassionate.
One of the greatest things about getting older is knowing that different things are important, friendships and kindness are at the top of the list and chances to share those things are grabbed and treasured.
We all come from different backgrounds, we all have our tales to tell. We care about each other and it is wonderful to know that whenever needed we can turn to these friends and be heard.
The best thing is that we laugh, honest to goodness belly laughing and we can forget all the day to day woes me may have.
I am so excited for Boston and to show Sophie just what it means to have real friends, the kind that everyone wants to be near, the kind that help you and love you, share who they are with you and keep doing it.
Everyone should have friends like I do..... Thanks girls, see you soon!



Tuesday, November 11, 2008


That video I posted yesterday? Um.....well seems he actually said it to his teacher today! She asked him something and he didn't quite hear and so he said it, loudly "WASSER SAYIN???" Whoops, he said she replied " I beg your pardon? What on EARTH are you saying young man?" And he had to stay in at playtime for causing disruption ( because you know the kids all laughed!)
I would think she was pretty stunned to hear that from him as he is normally very quiet and well behaved, I guess he just enjoyed the laughs he got from saying it at home.

For a few days I have had that annoying throat thing where you keep feeling like you're about to be sick and get a sore throat/ head cold but nothing comes of it. Today it slammed in, my goodness it HURTS!
Isaac has been coughing fit to bust every night, poor boy, fine all day and then at night he coughs so much he gets so mad, he is tired and naughty. Looks like we are headed for a family virus deal, I think we can say for sure that winter is really here!

I am ready for Boston, tickets should be in any day now, I have $s enough to pay for the hotel, shopping and meals, I have to get the bus tickets and shall do that this week I hope.
I have ideas for the boys for Christmas, so intent are we on making this time of year all about memories and traditions, we want to be sure to buy for the boys things that we know they will be excited about, remember having. Isaac is very drawn to a safe / money box that Seth has, he loves it, he tries to open it and work out the combination, yesterday he said how he wishes he had a safe of his own to keep his treasures in...I told him that that is something that would be great on a christmas list and his face lit up...he said he is definitely adding that to his list! Such a 'boy' gift, this year is an exciting one for me, the boys are at ages where the magic is still very real, I am sure that this will be the last year we have 3 'believers' ....oh how sad when real life creeps in and the magic starts to wane. I blow raspberries in the face of those who are so politically correct that they refuse to tell 'lies' to their children, I think it's just stealing some magical moments from a child's life, moments are so few and far between when we can believe in such things, I am all for every chance to bring that sparkle to the eye of a little person. So far I have never seen sadness in a child when the reality becomes known, rather I have seen in my children an excitement that they get to join in with the littler ones, pumping up the excitement and thrills of Christmas eve.

I am going to look at clothes for me and I absolutely must not, under any circumstances buy any grey shirts! If you look at my rails of clothes, grey, grey, black, brown, grey, black, grey, blue. I rarely wear the blue ..unless it is DARK blue, nearly black blue. I like darker colours and every now and then I get brave and daring and buy pink or red and then they hang, on the rail...never to be worn! I truly do not need any more grey T shirts though. I don't.

I am excited to look at pretty things for my house, I love the home decor stuff in the US, I could fill a shipping crate and completely decorate my home without thinking too hard about it at all, beautiful things. I can't wait to see the Christmas decorations and buy some new ones.
I need to buy Seth some Hanes boxer shorts, he is his father's son and is particular about his undergarments, he is down to 2 pairs of Hanes boxers and Santa will be bringing him new ones.

I have to find a Nativity scene, it needs to have at least 12 pieces to it. Beautiful but not too expensive, it is for a new tradition that we are starting with the boys. The plan is to leave a piece of the Nativity on someone's doorstep every night for 12 days leading up to Christmas, we will leave Baby Jesus on Christmas eve. The boys will LOVE doing this, they love to ring the doorbell and run away leaving a treat behind, someone did this to us one year and it was so exciting, once we worked out why we had a cow, shepherd, ox......about day 3 we suddenly worked out that this was a Nativity, we tried so hard to catch who was leaving those pieces on our doorstep! ( I am pretty certain that the family we have in mind for this year does not read this blog...we're safe I hope)

I love that we are staying in the same hotel as last time, it was a great place to stay and so comfortable, I am going to try and stick with my diet, not because I am completely marvellous and string willed but rather because I am not! If I slip for a week, go back to eating all the wrong things, I will have to start all over again when I get back, that first week or so of changing the way you eat is so painful, I am not about to put myself through that again, I am sure that I will be able to eat delicious foods without going too far from the new way of living....I am taking slimfast with me for breakfast too, I have found that if I start the day with a slimfast I am fine all morning, I know it will be a test to sit surrounded by delicious bacon and eggs, cinnamon rolls etc and not dig in but I still have a long way to go. I was weighed today and lost 2lbs... which means a lb a week, I am trying to lose 2lbs a week, which is sensible and encouraging, less than that and I feel disheartened. I have a horrible feeling that I am going to have to start exercising soon.....oh how I hate that word, even the thought but I think that my body is beginning to get used to the amount of food I am eating, it is slowing down on the weight loss, I can't eat any less without serious misery so I will have to increase the level of exercise (which lets face it, is going to be pretty easy, though not fun!)
I wish I had a cycling buddy, I love riding bikes and would happily do that with a friend along some country paths...and I love swimming, I don't love putting on and being in public in a bathing suit...but am working on that because the alternative is walking and jogging and we all know how I hate all that malarkey! Oh the whole idea of exercising makes me want to throw a tantrum!
It is now 1.07am, of to bed I go where I hope not to dream of jogging and gyms....I leave all that dreaming to H who can tell tales of such vivid dreams every single night. Me, I just snore and sleep.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

How to speak Devonian.

Lesson 1.
Seth explains how to ask " I beg your pardon, did you hear what that lady just said?" when you live in Devon.
( you may have to live here to find it funny, I live here and this cracks me up!)


Sunday, November 09, 2008

A picture paints a thousand words...

I love finding old pictures I have forgotten about and laughing or crying as I remember when they were this one...
Poor deprived children of mine who do not get to play video games..this is what happens when you let them go at it...and they do not want to leave! I laughed so hard when I saw Jordan trying to get Isaac away from this game!

Isaac again, watching Chittychitty bang bang..the child catcher scene!


This is one of the most precious pictures I have ever taken, Dan visiting his papa right before he died, seconds later he hit his knees and prayed Papa.

I took pictures of my mum and my sisters holding Dad's hands, he was in a coma and had no idea we were doing it, his hands were beautiful...when my mum held his hand he grabbed it, I am so glad I took those pictures, here's mine, holding my dad's hand.

Be still my heart, one of my big boys with one of my little ones...

Sophie meeting Eli for the first time....

Coming home from shopping to see this...showed me that this daddy drops what he is doing when someone needs him, I love this picture!

Whenever Dan and Jordan are together, there is laughter, a whole lot of laughter...

In fact, in our family there is a lot of laughter....






This might have to be one of those things I come back to, so many pictures, so little time, every so often I will do another one so I can show off my favourite memories!


Saturday, November 08, 2008

I blame testosterone.

I am loathe to admit it but I am so over all this boy stuff lately. As the boys grow the testosterone levels are soaring and good grief it's annoying. Seems when 2 of them area round it's manageable, when that third one walks into the mix, no matter which one it is, all hell breaks loose.

Why in the name of pleasantness can they just not get along?

Why, if their absolute favourite show is on can they just not sit and watch it? Why do they have to jump on each others' heads / legs/ backs ? Oh how I miss the days of High school musical, of watching Eli dance and sing and mince about like a fairy on crack.

Who'd have thought that Ben 10 and power rangers could bring such violence and NOISE to my life, untuneful noise, with no twirling?

The constant 'YARGH! Ooof! TAKE THAT!" Makes me crazy, at 7.30am.....we maybe shouldn't even discuss that.

The need to be biggest, best, loudest, fastest is so huge it's scary, the outrage if someone appears to be beating them at anything " NO!!! I got dressed first I did, not YOU" is ridiculous.

It seems they are incapable of sitting still or walking in a straight line, everything is done with leg kicks and arm chops, headstands are a must when watching TV, apparantly.

The problem with having boys so close in age is that as soon as one outgrows a hideous phase, the next one hits it, no break, no chance to take a breath and gird ourselves for the next bout.

These 3 are so different to the last batch of kids I made. The first batch was evenly spaced, one nice boy...2 years, another nice boy, 2 years a girl. That worked out rather nicely for me.

The 2 boys got along for the most part, the girl was a whole new thing, a change is as good as a rest they say.

This time, nice boy, 11 months, nice boy, 2 years nice boy. Wouldn't you think that would be alright? Oh but it's not. Now they are all here, in a big old lump it is anything but alright. Far too much time is spent seperating them,warning them, dargging them away from mortal danger as they all try to exercise the need to be the BEST, the BRAVEST, the LOUDEST.

I miss the acre of land we had at the barn, I miss the 14ft trampoline at the horrible house, I miss them going to bed at 6pm!

They are like caged animals in this house, there is nowhere for them to go and release all this energy they have......there is only so much drawing and colouring a group of bouncy boys can do in a day. As they get more boyish, I find myself needing more girlie. Power Rangers = the need for a new pillow. Bouts of kung fu like leaping = the longing for a pretty smell or a nice plant.

If this carries on my home will be one filled to the brim with Laura Ashley and floral prints.

I shall have candles and swirly things on every available surface.

I always sent prayers of thanks for having a ratio of 5 boys to one girl, that was before I saw what fun a girl can I am a little sad that I am so outnumbered by these willy wielding gitlets. I sort of long for someone who wants to shop with me, who claps hands at a new ribbon or gets giddy at the Barbie commercials.

I can only see it getting worse the older they get, they are all such BOYISH boys too ( what? Who was worried by Eli and his penchant for fluffy and pink? WHo? Me? No, I think you are mistaken!)

I have never been a frilly sort of girl, I don't swoon over scarves or boots or high heels. Make up is a light covering of whatever is needed to improve the look of the day, I hate lipstick, I get my hair cut twice a year if I remember. Manicures are a mystery to me. The only dress I remember ever buying was my wedding dress, I don't do frocks willingly.

As I age though, as I am overpowered by the masculine family I bore, I am feeling a need to make myself heard! I want them to notice that I am a woman....that there is someone here who doesn't get the whole punching, kicking, karate chopping, yelling thing.

It's almost worth crying just to see the array of stunned and WTH? expressions a family of boys/men can show at such a terrifying spectacle, just a glimse of those startled faces is enough ( usually) to drag me out of the dolldrums because they are just all so clueless!

Oh, you know what? It's time to show some pictures....some before pictures and some now pictures. I hate having my picture taken, in June when I went to Boston I had so many pictures taken I was amazed that I didn't scurry away and find a rock to hide under. I am so glad that they were taken though, because now I can compare the ones that Sophie took today, right as I swiped a sweet from Seth and stuffed it in my mouth before he could rescue it!

and this morning


And June...
( with splendid Sara, who always looks so beautiful!)

and today....

stuffing a foamy banana and doing the typical and oft seen move of a fat person, dragging the shirt away from any lumps and bumps!!

I am so thrilled to see a change! I know I can keep going, I shall keep taking pictures every couple of months so that I can see that this is working....oh please let it keep working!!

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember, remember the 5th of November.

I loved November the 5th when I was little, such a treat to head out in the cold and watch fireworks, have baked potatoes, hotdogs, hot chocolate, feel the heat from the bonfire and watch the Guy burning.
When my big kids were little we lived first in a house right at the top of a hill, in a big city ..oh it was wonderful we would open the curtains, turn out the lights and watch a firework spectacular every year, without being freezing cold!
Then we lived in a house immediately opposite a field where the annual bonfire and firework display was held, so we'd sit out on the square outside and get ringside seats without having to pay an entry fee, we shared hot chocolate with neighbours and no journey home when it was all over.
Then we moved to America, where things are done so HUGELY and MAGNIFICENTLY, we would head out to Wilson Park in LA every year and watch hour after hour of truly splendid fireworks, thousands of people and all in the midst of sunny weather. Suddenly our little pop pop, oooooh ahhhhh deals were sad and somewhat pathetic. Luckily for me, the boys have always been scared of fireworks so we had no cause to stand in the cold and feel depressed by piddling little displays. This year though, there was excitement and requests to see the bonfire and fireworks and CAN WE? CAN WE PLEEEEEEEASE????
Jordan came to the rescue as he planned to have a few little unbanging fireworks, hot dogs and pop....he took the boys to a friends house and by 8 o'clock they were home all weary and partied out . That's good isn't it? A huge bonus to having big children and little children who love each other, I love that Dan and Jordan take the boys out and do many things that I find tougher now I am older. This whole being a parent to young children when most people have left all that behind, is a double edged sword, I am much more patient with things that drove me crazy with the big kids, first time around but much less inclined towards the spontaneous fun I revelled in in my 20's. I feel bad that I don't want to stand in the cold and watch fireworks these days, I feel bad even though they DID get to see fireworks and even though actually, they got bored very quickly and I got a call to go and pick them up! Isaac was particularly unimpressed and was I'm told, very rude. He said things like " this is rubbish and boring and I don't want to look at it anymore" and when I went to collect him he would not say thankyou to the host because, well he'd been bored, hadn't had fun..what's to be grateful for?
We had a discussion about good manners and how lucky he was that he had the chance to go and see fireworks and whether or not he actually enjoyed that experience he should say thankyou. He knows that next time, Jordan won't take him and he will have to stay behind...and he appears not to give a rat's tiny bottom.
H is getting onto my healthy eating bandwagon ( although slightly less rigid, jelly and squirty cream eating heathen that he is) I usually hate to assume anything where H is concerned but he keeps saying things that make me believe he is quite pleased with how I am doing, if I mention being disheartened with the strict regime he very quickly points out the huge change in me since I began, not weight loss alone ( that is really pretty slow but steady, it will be a while yet before it is truly noticeable to anyone but me) but my general state of mind, my enthusiasm for things, and the rapid disappearance of insomnia ( which is actually a loss to me, I liked all that time I had to myself.) These days I am almost useless after 11pm or so, what's with that??
Seth is very sweet and surprisingly for him he is very quick to comment on the good things he sees, he has noticed my arms are thinner, he says he sees a big difference in my weight....he is my cheer leading boy!
It's great to have H eat the same foods as me, makes mealtimes easier for sure. I am stunned that he is really enjoying all the vegetable based meals, happy to leave meat behind for a while, he loves fish and is happy with vegetable curries, lasagne, soups. When I use meat I supplement half the meat with veggies, especially mushrooms, we are eating vegetables we rarely used before, some we never ate. I google recipes and try them out, only one or two have been revolting, the rest have been great.
There is an unfortunate side effect of so many vegetables and beans though..yes, old farty arse has come to stay. Also, peeing, so much peeing, all that water and more water.....what can I say? I look at the trips up and down stairs as exercise because I still don't seem to have been blessed with a longing to fling my still overweight and weary body around in a fit of action. Will that come do you think? We can but hope!
Well, lookie here, another day done, my eyes are heavy and I am about ready to sleep ( not even 11.30, lightweight!)
4 weeks and Sophie and I will be on our way, headed to Boston and I am so ready! Is Boston ready I wonder?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Just wanted to say that I have indeed written a blog post every day...and deleted them because for the love of entertainment they were so BORING! Oh so boring, about food and health and blah blah blah holier than thou blah. Blah.
Suffice to say, I am still with the new life, am enjoying it, it is working slowly but surely and I hope I can stick with it long enough to feel so insufferably smug I make people hate me.
I was nearly as boring as the endless coverage of the US elections, will it really be over tomorrow? No, it won't be, I guarantee it, we will then have to see / hear/ watch re-runs and post mortems and dire predictions and .........gah!
Luckily, I kept stopping myself from hitting the 'publish now' button.
Oh well, off I go until such times I have something mildly interesting to say.
4 weeks tomorrow til we go to Boston...that's interesting.
Only 2 1/2 weeks til Christmas when we get back....that's scary.
That's it for today, I can feel the boring coming on.
I am so considerate aren't I?

Oh, except there is a new fabric conditioner out that we are to believe is so glorious smelling that it will take away all our's a Lenor conditioner and the diamond and lotus flower, pardon me for being a complete idiot but what in the name of smell does a black diamond smell like? Nothing, that's what. There is also a washing powder that smells ( we are supposed to believe) of white diamonds and lotus flower. I usually buy Lenor because it does smell heavenly but on principal I won't buy this new one because it's so ANNOYING that they think we will be suckered into such moronic nonsense.
There, enough now. Unless I think of something else that must be said.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's my party...

I am over it! I want to say that in case anyone that came to the party is reading this. It's my blog and I am going to say how horrible I have been for the last day or two I remember not to make the same mistakes next year ( when we don't do a party like this years!)
It's just over 4 weeks til we go to Boston, I am saving as well as I can and thought I had done really well, my mistake was not changing the money over as I got it but keeping it in the bank until there was enough to make a transaction worthwhile...sounds sensible doesn't it? It does unless you are like me and you throw a party, one that you want to be wonderful for everyone that comes and you keep popping out to get that one last thing that will perfect it....because you have plenty of money in the bank, right? Right...then you have the party and it seems like a few hours of complete chaos, it doesn't seem like it went well, you feel sure that it was a flop, oh well, it's done, get over it...then you go to the bank to withdraw all that money you have been saving for your trip and see that you spent way WAY more on the stupid party than you ever imagined, those trips, spending £20 here and £40 there added up and pretty much half of your hard earned cash has gone, pppphut! Disappeared on a totally unenjoyable flop of a party.
So yesterday I was so miserable, so mad at myself, so completely and utterly stumped as to WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?!?!
Well what I did now, was say to myself that no-one made me be so stupid about the party, looking at the pictures I see that other people DID have fun, I know we should have organised much more structured fun, the whole let them rip thing? Bad mistake, in years past we had a great mix of big kids and little kids and they really did enjoy just being able to have fun..this year we had over 30 little kids ( all between 4 and 9) and a few teenagers who were there because their parents told them they were going to be there and we had mayhem.
We had ripping off the walls of decorations and then wanton destruction of the same, we had way too much freedom with the smoke machine, we had too many kids with far too much sugar and ...well imagine it, that's how it was.
I couldn't sit in the front room where civilised people were sitting because I was quite keen to ensure the whole house wasn't trashed, I was also keen that the hyper than hyped kids didn't actually maim the slightly more reserved children.
I took what I had left in the bank and changed it to $s and I am going to do that every time I am paid, I will leave enough to live on and pay bills and we will be eating inventive and ridiculously cheap meals until Dec! Lesson learned, I will not be going crazy like that again, believe me.
Next year and I am sure we will do a party next year, we will have structure and set games, we will have invitations that are not handed out willy nilly and we will not have an open invite.
I did enjoy the after time of the party when one family who had arrived much later, remained after everyone else had left, I got to know them much better and I really was glad to spend that time with them.
We were all worn out after the party and for the first time ever, left the mess, that was another factor in the miserable saturday, sitting amidst chaos and mess and then seeing how little was left in the bank...that was a bad moment! I went back to bed until way after lunch and when I woke up again, H had cleaned, cleared, packed and organised, my mood lifted and things have gone better ever since.
I accept all the 'blame' for the mistakes this year, it is most unlike me to be so cavalier with money and to have not kept a close eye on what I was spending ( another factor that added to my irritation! No-one else to yell at !) I absolutely ignored all my inner promptings to set up games etc ( thinking the doughnut game and pinata would be enough ..oh foolish me!)
I am completely over my tantrum, spectacular as it was. I am happy about what we did, what I learned and am sure that Sophie and I will have a lovely time in Boston despite the fact that I will be doing considerably less shopping than I planned!
Sophie is very ready for the off, she is getting anxious to just go and have fun ( and so am I!)
Christmas is hurtling towards us and this year we intend to keep with our 'less is more' policy, concentrating on things other than gifts, the boys will have lovely stockings and 3 hearts desires under the tree, the last years have been so wonderful, with all the focus on being with family, decorating, treats unlimited for a few days, watching movies, visiting and being visited.
The boys have already made lists and I am thrilled to see that they are simple and achievable, small and exciting things that little boys can be excited about. Not a Nintedo Wii or DS to be seen. ( hooray, would hate to disappoint! Great that they have a big brother who does have a Wii and they go there and play for a while without getting stuck to the controls and forgetting that other things exist!)
Also, on friday, just as I was beginning to feel panic that things wouldn't get finished, the calendar alarm on my cell phone went off and reminded me that I had to go to the DWP ( benefits office) for what I thought was a regular review. Argh! I made it in time, onlt to discover that it was actually an interview with the fraud squad! ME! Mrs do it all by the book and don't ever risk anything illegal or fraudulent ever. ME!!
I was so past caring by this time, what with medical reviews and tribunals and more medical reviews and more phone calls, I just looked at him and said " Oh, right so why am I here then?"
"I am a compliance officer, what would you think that means?"
"could it mean that you try to find out of people like me are complying with your rules and regulations?"
"Yes, indeed, well done! " ( hmm, I wonder why there are so many posters up saying how outbursts of physical abuse will not be tolerated, could the condescending and sarcastic tone be a trigger often do you think?)
Anyway it ended with him telling me how pointless his job is, how easy it is to get away with fiddling the government and really there is precious little anyone can do when they do catch a rip off merchant and then, that he seems pretty sure I am on the level and as I looked him right in the eye, am honest and trustworthy. Wonderful, til next time. Bloody hell.
It was just a rotten weekend all in all, turned out OK in the end though and that's what matters after all. I think.
Still, it's all over now, a new week is about to begin, one closer to a few days of fun with my friends, can't come quickly enough if you ask me.

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