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!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Have I done any good?

It occurred to me today that I have nothing to blog about that is breath taking, nothing that will make anyone reading it gasp or cry, feel and sit still and pray.
Isn't that great?
I read a blog today, followed a link to Tuesday's blog and my heart is so full. What can be done to help parents having to live with this kind of pain? What a difference this one little girl will make to so many lives as people across the world pray for her and her family. She is a baby and in such a short time is changing lives. Her parents write so beautifully about her.

How is it that we can enter into peoples' lives with a click of a mouse and read such intense and heartbreaking stories, feel the pain and hopes of people we have never met and will never meet?
How amazing that we can pray for people across the world, hope for them and send messages of love and support.
Sometimes I feel I am intruding on these most intimate and life altering times, I can feel uplifted, discouraged, helpless all in a short space of time by just reading the words people share.
I have used my blog to share such secrets, to relieve so much pain and sadness and I am so grateful that life for me right now isn't sad.
I am waiting on a date for another tribunal and today I realised that I am not interested anymore in proving the state of my mind. I am not interested in trying to convince strangers that I am depressed to the point of being incapable. I felt enormous relief to decide that I am not going to hold back on life anymore in case someone thinks I am lying.
I don't care if they stop money from me, in fact they already have, for weeks we have been living on reduced money because until I prove I am useless, they don't believe I am.
I'm not useless, let them keep the money. We can cope, we are coping, we're doing it and you know what? It feels great to know that if I feel like stepping outside that fear controlled hole I have lived in for years, I am going to do it.

If I want to try something new, I will, if it's scary..too bad. If it fails, so what, I'll try something else.
Too many things have kept me strapped into a corner, too much life has passed by with me holding back, holding in, waiting for disaster.
I read some of these blogs that are full of courage, bursting at the seams with such bravery and real fear and I feel so small. I have nothing to hide from, nothing to fear and every chance to take what life I have and make it count.
I want to make it count somehow, to do good and change something.

I love the Hymn, have I done any good?

1. Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone’s burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

[Chorus]Then wake up and do something more
Than dream of your mansion above.
Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,A blessing of duty and love.

2. There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by, saying, “Sometime I’ll try,”
But go and do something today.
’Tis noble of man to work and to give;
Love’s labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something helps others to live.
To God each good work will be known

It's been so long since I did any good, put myself out to change someones life, even in a small way, being so wrapped up in how sad my life was I forgot to look and see how I can brighten someone else's day.
On monday we talked to the boys about service, about how doing little things for others can make a difference in someones life and make our own so much richer. Then we took them to do a couple of little things to show them how easy it is.
It is easy and I hate that I forgot that for so long.
I am grateful to the internet for the way I can travel the world, enter lives, learn about how others live. See how great my world really is.
I think that maybe I am better, that at last I can see how sad those things were that I experienced, that I saw, that I had to hear and feel and endure but they are over. I am sure that my trials aren't over, they never are, we can't learn if we don't have to fight sometimes. Those trials are though, they can't make me sad any, more because they are done, finished, over.
There is so much good in this world and I want to get out and see some of it. I want to do even more of it.
Sometimes, all we can do is pray, for little girls like Tuesday, so many children facing such huge battles.Sometimes prayer is all it takes. I believe in miracles. I have seen so many.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Is there such a thing as TMI on a blog?

Personally, I don't think so, the more gory, detailed and personal, the better as far as I am concerned, I love to read a tale of humiliation and personal mortification.
The blogger in me is so strong that very often, when faced with a situation that many would want to ensure would stay secret for eternity, my first thought is pretty much always ! Heh! That'll be such a great thing to write about.
And so today.
I had to go to the doctor, the backache and belly ache, peeing and not peeing and constipation and not, it was all too much and has been going on for too long ( 4-5 weeks now) Everything pretty much hurts in my mid section and when pain makes the whole family miserable and I find myself throwing bottles of water across the room for no apparent reason other than I FEEL LIKE IT SO SHUT UP! It may be time to see someone.
Also, where is my insomnia? That tool that helped me get so much done? It's gone, darn it and I miss it. I now fall asleep at midnight, wake up at 6-7 and then, when the boys go to school at 8.30 I go back to bed and usually do not wake up until 11 at the earliest. This was a treat for about a week but now it's ridiculous, my life is passing by while I sleep, I get next to nothing done and I am still tired. All. The. Time. That's not right is it?
So, I went to see my lovely doctor. She is so gentle and kind to me, never makes me feel like an idiot and I am rarely embarrassed when I am speaking to her.
So, with all my details of where the pain is, what is working, what isn't working, etc etc of course she wanted me to 'hop up on the couch'. Ugh.
I've had 6 babies, 2 miscarriages, innumerable smears, checks, internals, poking and prodding, I don't get embarrassed anymore. Funnily enough, not even when I drop my drawers and go to 'hop up' on the couch and realise that I am standing right in front of the window, the net free, blind free window that looks right out onto the street and the florists and hairdressers over the road. I just laughed because, well TOO LATE! To worry and what are the chances of anyone having looked up right as I dropped my knickers? If they did, I won't ever know about it ( I hope!)
So, it would seem that my pelvic floor is perhaps not made of iron as I so often brag but perhaps a saggy rubber. I have me a prolapse that can only be rectified with surgery, although it is not a severe one and is not by any means hanging out ( oh my!) Losing weight will stop it getting worse and having babies, so many and so close together is what caused it, along with getting OLD! Not only my face is sagging darn it all. I still don't pee when I laugh or cough though ( unless Cathy or Jenn is in the room and then all bets are off, they could make a mannequin piddle.)
Funny how we never really believe that all that ageing stuff will happen to us.
I really didn't think it would hit me and I am still nowhere near ready for it but here it is, it's getting me. I can only pray for grace as it overtakes me, or a glorious disregard for all things elderly and be disgraceful with pride. ( Which sounds more like fun to me)

I had the most unsettling dream last night, my dad was here and he was hurrying me along, standing in the doorway telling me to "hurry up, come ON, will you come ON?!" I was stuck and couldn't follow him, I was trying to follow him but all I could say was " I can't find my SHOES!" and he left. I woke up with a migraine fit to explode my poor head. It shook me for a while.

So now I wait to see if I still have that UTI hanging about and hope that I will soon feel better. Although Doctor appointments can be pretty great blog fodder.


Monday, January 26, 2009

If you can't say something nice.....

Get on your blog and whine all you like, you're allowed to, it's the law.

I am stumped, blog wise because I can only seem to think about how much my back hurts. I had to go shopping today and as I leant on the trolley and shuffled behind all the old ladies stocking up on tea bags and women's weekly I felt a strange kinship with them. It'll be thick stockings and a blue rinse before you know it.

I have no idea what is going on and truth be told, I am a little afraid of finding out because it is definitely something strange.

I can't tell if it's muscular or if it's internal but it hurts, whine whine. Every evening when it hurts so much I actually whimper a bit I resolve that tomorrow I am going to see a Dr, then tomorrow comes and I talk myself into waiting a bit longer to see if it gets better. You could say I am taking it like a man!

Actually, if I were to give in to my tree huggy tendencies, ( the likes of which are getting stronger as I get older) I would say that the past few weeks I have been holding myself tense for some reason, I am battling some kind of slide into depression because I am sick of heading that way. It would be so easy to shut myself off and settle into that somewhat comforting nothingness. When I get tired , it feels quite nice to shut off, I just don't think I have any reason to feel depressed, so I am trying not too. That's quite hard work when for years you have given in to the clouds.

Actually I am sure that January makes most of us feel like switching off, crawling back into bed and waking up in April when the dreariness is over. Please.

I think also that not having something really great to look forward to makes it harder to just get up and get on with it all.

Things are great, they really are. I cannot complain, there are things happening that I never hoped to see, miracles in fact. I believe more readily that good can happen, I still have the tendency to wait for it all to turn to crap. I heard a phrase on the Simpsons today and it said it all " I am wallowing in my own crapulence" That says it perfectly.
Sometimes we can do no more than just enjoy the fact that we are crappy and grumpy. If it's not making other people miserable, just enjoy it, have a good whine, grumble, mutter as you drive along the road, swear at the wobbly trolley in Asda and then just get the hell over it.
I hope I get over it soon because I am getting on my own nerves, I want my funny back please and I want rid of this hurty back while I'm at it.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Prickly round garden things.

Oh I want some sunshine.
The winter isn't too bad, we don't have snow ( apart from a 7 minute blast the other day which was enough for me. ) We're having some rain, on and off. I know people are having it tougher than we are here in lovely Devon but Oh my, I am so tired of the dingy greyness of it all. The dark mornings, the dreary afternoons, the dim evenings.
H and I went out for lunch ( I know! Imagine! ) last week Jordan, Mel and I stumbled upon a great place that is as close to an American eatery as we can hope to find here, beautiful food, incredibly low prices and all you can eat salad and breads with your meal ( and £4.99? Come on, that's incredible!) the drinks are £1.25 too, I knew that I could get H to try this and so I took pictures and brought home a mini menu so he could SEE I wasn't making it all up. H doesn't eat out here unless he is forced to, he can't help but work out how much the meal is costing in $s and then he can't help but compare the quality and quantity to the places he is used to and lets face it, England is never going to come out top in that competition, so he bows out and says he will be happy to stay home.
He loved it, he was as enthusiastic as we were last week. Hoorah.
So we ate and then joy of joys the sun came out, just a feeble little ray fighting it's way through the grey clouds. Oh I felt my spirits soaring, just at the little glimpse of brightness.
We decided we would walk along the river and here is where I remember that H and I are similar in some things because neither of us will ever be one of those people who pull on their sturdy boots and go hiking over the moors in a blasting gale to blow away cobwebs! We like cobwebs as long as they were spun while we sat in a cosy corner waiting for summer. H and I would be more than happy hibernating, we could easily sit in a warm corner, not speaking or moving until the sun shines.
I sometimes feel a tinge of guilt for dragging my husband away from his sunny Californian roots. Then I remember what an almighty miserable struggle it was to survive never mind get ahead in California, sunshine or not ( although I will readily admit that struggling while the sun shines is infinitely more enjoyable than slogging away in the drab of an English winter)
I look at how well we are doing here and I know that we did what was right for our family.
So we walked and we linked arms and we both tried to really enjoy this natural and uplifting, binding experience. I lost..or did I win? Anyway I cracked first " That's enough, let's go back....did we do it yet?"
Oh I felt the joy and relief course through him soul..."YES! Yes we did it, we're done, it's cold, let's go!"
"Did you want to go to...."
"No, no I don't, home, let's go home, no, no thankyou, we're very done!"
That's my man.
Is it a good or a bad thing that I can see, really clearly how we will be when we are old. In fact I think the only difference will be that we won't have kids here and then heaven help us both, we might just find our bones fuse and our bums take root in a chair in a corner somewhere. I'm not sure we will ever move if we don't have to! Unless the sun is shining.
I will sit and chunter on to myself about the good old days and he will nod, or not.
Every now and then we will look at each other and laugh because we do that a lot. I laugh at him all the time, I mean with him and at him and sometimes for him when he doesn't get one of my jokes. I found it hysterical today when he couldn't remember what a hedgehog was called, and then I laughed at myself because I knew exactly what he meant without saying the word hedgehog, we'll be a couple of old biddies sitting opposite each other laughing at what no-one else understands. Prickly round garden things. You know, those.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On yer bike!

So I went to get weighed today. All I can say is I am SO glad that I haven't been weighed since Christmas. I have lost any weight I gained over Christmas but am the same as I was 4 weeks ago. Still the same.
Which is GREAT...if I think about how I could be heavier than I was, I can't help but think of how I have wasted those weeks.
This road is so long and if I had reached an ideal weight I would be thrilled at how easy it is to maintain this weight! This has shown me that when I reach a weight I feel good at, I can stay that way. I know now how to do that.
I am nowhere near an idea weight though. I haven't 'chosen' a weight I want to reach, I am doing this one week at a time, hoping that each week is a good one and one that lifts me a step higher in my quest for a greater self esteem.
I have, I would imagine, at the very least 70lbs to lose. If I could lose a lb or two every week that would be great, it would take a while but I would get there and I would slowly but surely see a progress. I have seen a great change so far, my health is much improved, my happiness is greater and firmer, not shaken so easily.
I have been static for too long ( again, I am reminding myself that I haven't been static I gained and lost again.)
I have to start again, go right back to the absolute beginning where I didn't keep telling myself that 'this little bit won't hurt'. For me, right now, every 'little bit' hurts what I set myself as a goal.
I have to exercise but weight bearing exercise really hurts, I know if I lose more weight that will get better.
I need to get an exercise bike or rowing machine and I have to make myself use it, when the weather is better and I am lighter maybe walking will work better for me. I just can't quite bring myself to pay for something that may well end up as a clothes horse. I know, I know, if I buy it maybe it will encourage me to use the thing.
I know I have to do more than just watch what I eat now. I also have to watch what I eat now!
The past 2 weeks I have been bored with the vegetable soup and so I have eaten other things, I have also been eating bread again. Not huge amounts of bread, not even a lot of bread, maybe 3 or 4 slices a week, that is too much for me, it bloats me, it makes me irritable but OH HOW I LOVE BREAD!
I have to go back to what works for me and give up those things that take me away from what makes me feel better.
There are days when it all seems so HUGE, when I have days like today I just make myself look ahead a year, I could be further along, lighter, healthier, thinner.
I could be exactly the same as I am now.
I could be fatter, slower, more miserable, less healthy.
The next year is going to happen, whether I like it or not, it will pass, it's how it passes that counts.
The great thing about that is I get to choose, it is entirely up to me. Hooray!
The grumpy thing is it doesn't sound like fun to me right now.
What I need to do is change my way of thinking again. I have to try and get back that positivity, rather than this awful dragging my feet feeling.
I'm not going to try.
I am going to do.
I am going to work out tonight, when everyone has gone to bed, a plan. A new approach because clearly, I have become weary of the one I have been following for the past few months. It worked until recently and now it is soooooooooo boooooooring.
A change is as good as a rest, they say.
I can allow myself to feel hard done by, or excited.
I can feel miserable and resentful, or blessed.
I can whine and grumble, or sing.
I can do it, or not.

It is unbelievable to me how my mood is directly related to what I eat and how I feel is directly affected by how I think. I just forget exactly how much control I have over all of this. I slip back into the poor me mentality without realising.
Poor me, I am so fat. Poor me it's so hard. Poor me I want to eat THAT and I CAN'T because POOOOOOOOOR ME!
Well, poor me nothing. I live in a country where incredible foods are easy to find. I am able to buy whatever foods I like, I do not believe that it is too expensive to eat well....chocolate costs more the cabbage, crisps more than pears per unit. I can cook, I can and do make delicious healthy meals, there is no poor me here. There is nothing stopping me eating chocolate and crisps, chips and pizza....I can do that if I want to but I can't eat it and then cry because poor me, I am still fat and this is so hard and so impossible and I can't doooooooooooo it.
I can choose. I want to choose and I am here to remind myself that I want to choose to continue to be successful, I no longer choose to crumple and give in.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Wonder what I can eat tonight....just kidding!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Another day...

Another ending!
Whoohoo, I mended my machine. I knew it had to be something fairly simple because this is not a terribly old machine, I think 3 years. It was not a cheap one either, we bought a good one so that it would last. Big capacity, low water using, low energy and super spin to get as much water out as possible.
It did this same thing when we lived in the nice town house, we moved to the barn and didn't use it because the barn had a washer already. When we moved to stinking devil house it miraculously worked again for a little while and then stopped emptying and spinning, I discovered a hidden magic thing and when I unscrewed it the hose / pump thing ( you're impressed aren't you, with my technical knowledge?) was there...absolutely stuffed full of coins, fluff, elastic bands, tiny toys, buttons etc, when I cleaned it out my machine was like new.
2 weeks ago I undid the screw again and found...nothing, lovely clean pumpy hose thing. Gah! Foiled.
So for 2 weeks or so I have been stopping, skipping, emptying, spinning, kicking, threatening people who use towels and dump them, 2 at a time, in front of the machine every time they were even mildly damp.
Today I wasn't about to let it go. I need that machine and although I could have perhaps ( as Julie suggested) tried freecycle, no-one really gives away a machine that is worth having. I am not gentle on my machines, at least 2 loads of laundry a day means that it has to be a good one and whilst I am really happy to have second and pretty much everything, underwear and washing machines have to be new.
So, I tried again. I took off the cover to the pump filter again and removed the plug/ filter again, still nothing but I wasn't about to give up that easily, I put my fingers in and poked about and VOILA right across the outlet was a pretty big piece of clear plastic, blocking the whole drain part.
It is mended, all fixed and running again. Oh the relief!
It took all weekend to do 2 loads and I have done another 2 loads this evening, without having to move that dial even once! I even stood ( and dare to admit I made H watch with me the first time) and watched it go right past that point at which it has been taking a break for weeks.
"Look!!WATCH....SEE? Awww, look it went right past, all on it's own, clever machine and clever ME!"
On another note and a funny one at that. H was talking to the boys this evening about ( we have a gripping life here, steady now) How, through the ages different things have been used to record history. Paper and material and even metals. Yes, important facts have been engraved onto precious metals so that they were preserved and because we believe in fun, H made some 'metal plates' for the boys to engrave something that is important to them.
Cardboard covered in tin foil. Very impressive cardboard and the smoothest and unwrinkled tin foil you ever did see and he had some engraving implements for them to use.
Isaac and Eli were beyond thrilled to give this a go, Seth? Well he looked at it very closely and he turned his metal plate over and looked a bit closer and he said " Yes, well. I'm not sure this is actually going to last and I think it might even split when we try to 'engrave' it."
H, ever the optimist said "no, I am positive this is going to work very well"
Seth... " Yes dad, you be positive and I'll be practical "
He said something at the end of church yesterday that I have to say had me doing the old lady whistle laugh right through the closing prayer. I can't say what it was because actually it probably shouldn't be laughed at and also I'm not altogether sure who reads this that goes to church. Better to be safe than sorry but the kid is a comic genius, his timing is impeccable and
I so look forward to seeing how he matures because when I think how much Dan and Jordan make me laugh and think of how they developed that as adults, I can't imagine how funny Seth will be as he gets older.
H and I are working really hard with Seth lately because he is one of those children that are easier to ignore when they are revolting, disciplining Seth is horrible, he is alike a terrier with a rat, he does not let it go, he can scream and yell and demand the world listen to how he is right for hours. And hours. In Seth's world, Seth is right, his opinion is the only opinion ( there aren't even any wrong opinions in Seth's world) he has been becoming more and more difficult and mean to the other boys. So far, the best thing to do is have him go away from us, not arguing with him, not getting into discussions with him, just sending him elsewhere until WE say he can come down. He is a master of manipulation though, if I didn't have the experience of Sophie under my belt I would give in. The thing is, I have learned that much of what Sophie has done as a teenager has been a bigger version of what she did as a child ( and got away with) I'm not about to make the same mistake twice! It makes a world of difference to be in this with H instead of trying to work it out on my own, all the difference in the world.
Not at all a sad day today...all is well.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's a very sad day.

There are many thing I can live without, some things I hope not to have to live without and a few things I never want to live without.

I'm talking things, not people or relationships, down to it stuff, trappings, frills.
I can live without the big posh house ( wish I didn't, but can and still be very happy)
Live without the big flash car ( am so happy with my little Renault that even now I get in it and smile and tell it I love it)
Clothes and name brands and designer? Ptthhhhhhhhhhh.

I can't live without a washing machine. I say I can't, I can but I am very grumpy about it.
My washing machine is dead. It's been coughing along for a year now and I pat it and tell it it's being splendid but that darn thing went ahead and just died anyway. Ungrateful wretch of a thing.
I always fed it the best washing powder, in fact tablets thankyouverymuch, tablets so that the machines drawer doesn't get all clogged and horrid. Best fabric softeners, you name it that machine has had it. Not a grain of cheapo shop's own stuff ever been in that Hotpoint.
I have spent the past few days manually turning the dial and respinning it 32 times for every load, it has taken me the entire weekend to do two loads of laundry. I am on the verge of stamping my feet and screaming in as dramatic a way as possible because OH I LOVE CLEAN LAUNDRY!
I love washing and drying and folding laundry, I am a freaky laundry snob who loves white whites and little boys in pristine white school shirts and socks that look as if they have never been worn before.
I love to stand and iron beautiful clean clothes and smell that fresh smell.
I am mourning my washing machine. I wouldn't be if I thought I could get another one but I can't and I'm not at all sure when I can.
The benefits people have screwed up again, not entirely their fault this time, they wrote to me to say the last screw up was all fixed and I read that and threw the latter away without reading it all ( because those letters are so blah blah, I had just spent days sorting that mess up out, who'd have thought they had come up with something else?)
So I didn't read that they want details of Sophie's employment , I didn't read it, so didn't send it and so immediately the benefit was stopped.
On Dec 23rd I took in all the paperwork they needed.
Phone call after phone call and they tell me that those few days over Christmas have put them WEEKS behind, WEEKS I tell you.
So, I am having to find that money out of our every day money until the mess is unmessed and it hurts.
No money for washing machine, and that hurts even more.
Funny isn't it how there is never a backlog or delay when the money is stopped? That money stopper person is on the ball, s/he doesn't take a day off, believe in public holidays, doesn't sleep or eat, probably should get a raise any day now. Or a kick in the moneystopping bum.
Oh washing machine I miss you.
I have done all the tricks I know to revive poor washing machine and they haven't worked. Poor old thing. It has been moved 4 times, unplumbed, replumbed, unplumbed again. It has washed and rinsed and spun and cleaned.
I miss it.
The end.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thank God.

I wonder why somethings are so hard to say. Impossible even. Is it because they are so important that to even try you risk screwing it up so badly that you let it pass, make it wait, try to forget it?
I have so much to say to Sophie, so many important things and I have no idea where to start.
I never imagined I would ever give my children 'things.' Money has never been a part of my life and I don't much care about that, it has never been important enough to me to make me want to sacrifice what I do have to go after it and gather it. I would love more money, who wouldn't? I just don't want it enough to chase after it.
I always believed that I had everything my children could need. If I didn't have it, I would somehow get it, find it, borrow it, make it.
Life is so fleeting, the older we get, the faster it passes us by.
When I was carrying Sophie I knew who she was, I really did. I knew she was my girl ( and back in the day we weren't told the sex of our babies) I knew Dan was a boy and I knew Sophie was a girl. I knew she had to be called Sophie. The first one was adamant that she wouldn't be, the more he said No, the more determined I became that she would be.
I think, even then I knew she was going to be mine.
I lost a baby right before Sophie, an unplanned baby, I found out it was on it's way and lost it very soon after. There followed a muddling time, a doctor telling me that I hadn't lost the baby and a call to make an ultrasound appointment, a 2 week wait for the ultrasound and then...well it was bizarre, 3 ultrasounds on 2 machines and then I was told " Hmmm, well we can't see a baby, er, yes, it looks like you did lose that baby.....hmmmmm!"
Weird! Oh well, get over it, get on with it.
No period. Another month...... and another. Eventually, because I had a rotten gall bladder that had been so excruciatingly painful and had mysteriously stopped hurting, I went to my G.P and told him that a miracle had occurred, pain all gone and "Oh, by the way, funny thing, after I lost that baby, I don't seem to have had a period, how freaky is that? It's like 10 weeks or so now, surely should have had one by now ...surely?"
"Ahhhh, now Mrs super-womb, here's the thing, when you had that ultrasound, the technician was baffled because there wasn't a 10 week fetus but your womb..let me see, yes it says ' no evidence of fetus but womb shows every sign of early pregnancy, it would appear that you did lose a baby and then conceived in the 2 weeks before the ultrasound, Congratulations!"
Oh the first one was SO angry, he was vile. He yelled and he spat and he cursed. I did point out that this baby had no been placed there by the fairies, nor did I do it all on my own, he didn't feel that this was a valuable contribution to the conversation so he went out.
So that was the pregnancy, pretty much. He pretended it wasn't happening and right after Sophie was born I discovered he had help pretending none of us existed.
When she was let me go back a few days.
The first one's mother came to stay right before Sophie was born, the plan was that she stay and help and she would be there to look after Dan and Jordan when I went into labour.
She and I weren't the best of friends, I was young and she was tactless and a sandwich short of a picnic. She would rearrange my house and I would damn well put it right back where it was, thank you and then she would ask the first one WHILE I WAS RIGHT THERE "Will you be alright with her when I have gone?"
She would say things like " does she always do that first one?" and I would say " Yes, she does, especially in her own house"
Now, I would just shut my mouth, move everything back when she was gone and laugh...but I am old now, I know stuff.
So, she came to stay and I was tired, I was 39 weeks pregnant although I had been pregnant for a year in fact, with a 2 week break in the beginning, I was tired of being ignored by the first one and first one in law would follow me around the house, 6 inches behind me all day long saying " is there anything you want me to do Helen?"
Could she not see 2 little boys needing help, did she not think dinner needed cooking, did she not notice laundry or dishes?
4 days before I had Sophie we went to town, a gold 45 minute walk, we shopped, we came home and she asked me again if there was anything she could do, I told her that maybe she and the first one could clean up downstairs, I would do upstairs. Long story short, I spent 2 hours cleaning, they spent 2 hours cooking bacon sandwiches and making coffee. I was a furious pregnant lady when I saw the mess downstairs, as bad as it had been when I went to clean upstairs and more on top.
I exploded, oooooie it was impressive, she stood with her back to me saying " what's the matter with her first one?" and then he said ( oh yes he did) " Ignore her mum, it's hormones!"
Oh. He honestly did.
I kicked open the door to the room they were in, I had an overflowing bin in my hand that had nappies and apple core and all kinds of revoltingness in it and I threw it at them and screamed
" Have those fucking hormones and pack them in your bags, get a bus and piss of out of here..BOTH OF YOU!"
Stunned silence.
I left for the day and when I came back they ignored me. Completely. For 4 days. Until the very minute I went into the hospital. If I walked in the room they would both turn their backs on me, if they were sitting down they would scoot away if I sat near them. He didn't say a word to me for 4 day and neither did she.
I went into hospital and he spoke to me but it wasn't a cosy time, he left to check the boys and when it was evident that Sophie was pretty much out, he came back.
He was excited when she was out, he jumped and yelled and punched the air, the nurse asked if we had a name and I told her it was Sophie...and had her write it on Sophie's wristband.
He realised an hour later that she was called Sophie and I told him it was too late to change it.
He came to visit twice, he brought the boys the first time oh and his mother who ooohed and ahhhhed over Sophie and ignored me, he brought half the street when he came back the 2nd time, then when we came home, he stayed out.
He left when she was 10 weeks old after a truly miserable time.
She was mine. Has always been mine.I take all the credit and I take all the blame.
I thought I had all the time in the world to teach her all the things she needed to know, I thought she would just 'know' that she was the most precious thing to me.
It's never too late to make up for past mistakes but sometimes it happens late enough that horribly sad things happen in the meantime.
I would give the earth to undo the sadness that little girl has felt in her lifetime. I was so busy making sure she didn't kill herself jumping out of windows and running into roads, dealing with schools and doctors and hospitals, little boys who I thought needed me more than this feisty little gob on legs, I didn't see how sad she was.
I would come home from a church meeting ( the only reason I ever left them with a babysitter) and I would hear how good the boys had been but how Sophie had headbutted the babysitter, split her lip and ripped up her homework ( Sophie was 4 by the way) Sophie can remember me coming home and kissing the boys and putting her to bed, she can't remember why..she was 4.
I had a call from school when she was 8, saying she had had an accident, I got to the hospital and she was getting stitches in her head, arm, backside and leg...the teachers said they had no idea how she hurt herself that she was lined up with all the other kids and as she walked past them to go inside after lunch they noticed she was bleeding. They rushed her to the hospital and on the way she had just said " I think I may have broken the toilet.
She had climbed on the toilet to look over the top, playing hide and seek with her friend...when she got down the cistern fell, smashed the toilet, sent shards of porcelain into her backside, arm, face and leg and she just walked out into the playground, lined up, dripping with blood and walked in with the other kids.
I got a call from the school, asking if I could pop in on the way back from the hospital, when I did they showed me what she had done.....after we waded through the flooded hallways that is.
How she wasn't killed in beyond me, there were shards like daggers, she smashed that toilet and it looked like someone with a sledge hammer and massive grudge had been in there.
When she does something, she does it so well.
I don't know details of the 16 months she didn't live with me. I can imagine, I try not to.
I can see how she is slowly beginning to see that she has so much before her, that she can be and do and go and see, that she is welcome and that she is truly loved.
I do know that when we walk through town and every other step some sleazebag calls her name, they all know her and she knows them all, I feel like a mother tiger when someone even looks like they might try and touch a tiger cub.
I also know that the pull to be back amongst these low life people is still very strong, she still likes the 'excitement' that surrounds them.
A huge part of me wishes we could move far away, to where she doesn't know anyone, where there is no history but in truth I know that isn't the answer.
When she was very little and every single day was filled with trying to contain this child, when we would go shopping and more time was spent rescuing her from under things, on top of things, between things, when I would appear to not notice that she was swinging from clothes rails, when I would tell people that I had to pick my fights and thank you for their concern but this/that/the other was not a big enough deal to start all out war over, when people told me to smack ,her punish her, MAKE her behave. I would tell them that I knew, if I wanted to, that I would be able to break her spirit, I would be able to turn her into a good kid that sat and did and stayed and didn't but something was telling me that THIS child was going to have a huge fight in her life. I would say over and over that there would be a day when I would look at her and KNOW this was it...this is why I had allowed her to fight and win.
This is it.
I can tell myself that if I had beaten her down as a child that she may not have got into the situations she did. I don't believe that though. I think there are some kids that are born to kick against the pricks, that some come out of the womb ready to fight, to make their mark known, do it their way. I truly believe that she was always going to have to try things that most of us wouldn't dream of. I think there may have been a way to help her make better choices. I think I could have taught her so much better than I did her value as a child and as a woman. I did fail there but it's not over yet.
I have seen her fight and I am watching her win and quite frankly, this is one of those times where to say " I told you so" is so sweet it's almost nauseating.
I had no idea that she was this glorious. Every day is like watching a butterfly emerging. A very loud, scantily dressed butterfly but a beautiful one nonetheless.
What seems to be right at the moment is waiting for an opportunity to arise and then just slipping a nugget of wisdom in very quickly. I don't think either of us is ready for a heart to heart and maybe that is a long way down the road. I am confident enough in my ability to know what to do as we go along, when I look back at all the huge things in my life, all the times I have been in a situation that I really should have no clue how to cope, I have been picked up and carried, I have been whispered to and guided and so far, we have always come out on top.
I don't take the credit for knowing what to do and I admit to so many mistakes, but I do take credit for hanging in there and for following the guidance and direction I have been given.
YEs, thank God. Literally.




Monday, January 12, 2009


Probably the best thing I ever learned in my many therapy sessions is this. People are going to hurt you, it's human existence, if we are, we will be hurt, it's unavoidable. We can only be damaged by that hurt however, if we allow ourselves to be.
I used to visit a therapist almost second hand, on behalf of the boys. When they were so fragile, so damaged and hurt they only ever spoke to me. You cannot take a child to a therapist and say " you have an hour, tell the nice lady everything that troubles you" It doesn't work that way.
My boys would behave like normal boys ( almost, sometimes) they were normal to me because I hadn't had any other 4 and 2 year old boys, I hadn't had 4 and 6 year olds, 0r 8 and 10 year olds so whatever they did was 'normal' to me.
Dan would line toys from his bed to the door every night, for 3 years, sharp toys, noisy toys, lego bricks ...every night I would go in and trip on them and tut and then pick them up, put them away. I never said anything, it was just what happened until after 3 years, when he was then 7, he said one morning " Mummy, every night I line toys up on the floor in my room so that if a stranger comes in, he will trip on them and wake me up and I will be able to scream and he won't hurt me anymore..every morning I wake up and they are is SO weird because I don't know where they go"
Jordan was never naughty, from the age of 23 months until he was 5 he was quiet and obedient, he sat still and he was good. Unless he couldn't see me and then he would scream, deafening screams until he could see me again. He came with me to the toilet, to bed, to eat, to shop, to church, to the kitchen, to the front door. That was because ( at the age of 2) he was told that he was BAD and that he was WICKED and that if his mummy or daddy ever found out how BAD he was...they would send him away.
Dear God.
Things would happen and I would deal with them and then, every monday I would go to see a child psychologist and would recount every sordid thing that had happened to my children. ( and for the record, I will never ever write them on this blog because there are so may freaks and perverts out there, you wouldn't believe what people google that brings them here, if I were to describe what happened and what they told me, I would be swamped by filthy child molesters) wants or needs to know the details. ) I would tell her what they did/ said and what I did / said back and she would tell me that I did the right thing and what to do if A B or C happened.
Those boys would remember details of what had happened to them for 3 years, out of the blue, something would trigger a reaction that would make my blood run the store, at the park, at nursery school ( but only if I was there, if I wasn't there they would see 2 little boys who would sit on a chair and wait for me to collect them, Jordan started nursery in January and in October they wrote to me to say they had seen him smile and also that HUGE NEWS! He got off his chair and picked up a book and then she sat back down again and held the book until I came to get him) Suddenly they would scream a blood curdling scream and then the verbal diarrhea would begin....streams and streams of unpunctuated vomiting of 'oh and thens' they would remember and they would tell me and then, as quickly as it began, they would stop. FLICK. Over, back to playing and being a regular kid again. Wherever we were I would have to stop and wait, listen to every single word and then I would do whatever seemed right at the time.
One day I went to see the shrink with all the answers and whined for 30 minutes about how totally useless the first one was. I cried about how he let the kids down, how he didn't turn up, how he would constantly disappoint me as a father.
She listened ( so patiently, honestly therapy is the best they can't tell you to shut up, they are paid to listen, heaven!) and then she said the one thing I needed to hear, the thing that I have remembered and used and tested and used again and it has never, ever let me down. Not once, in 19 years.
She said "Helen, he can only disappoint you if you expect more than he is capable of delivering. Stop expecting anything and you will never be disappointed again. He isn't letting you or the children down, he isn't capable of being what you wish he would be. He CAN'T do it or be it. Let him off the hook"
Oh my goodness. It works, it REALLY works. Stop wishing people would be or do or say anything particular, just accept people are human and enjoy what they DO bring to your life. It is quite honestly the single most valuable piece of advice I have ever been given in my life.
From that moment whatever the first one did, or didn't do I would look at him and say to myself " well of COURSE he did/n't do that, it's what he is, it is all he is capable of" if perchance he did anything that was splendid ( and surely to Betsy in 19 years he must have, mustn't he? I can't recall specifics but no-one can be totally useless for that long can they?) I would accept it as a marvellous miracle and tell myself how splendid that was ..and remind myself that it was sure to be a one off and not wait with baited breath for it to happen again!
Throughout my life I have used that advice and it truly takes the pain out of feeling let down.
Rather like the lady who after having been married for 75 years, answered the question "what is your secret" by saying " It's as simple as this, you get married and you decide that he may have 3 irritating habits, when he annoys you , look at him and say " He's allowed that one, that's one of his three" and you let it go.
"How wonderful! And what are the three annoying habits that you allow your husband?"
"Oh you see, that's the never actually decide that. Every time he annoys you, you just tell yourself that it IS one of his three and you let it go."
There is something so wonderful, so liberating in letting it go. All the stewing and festering never does hurt the one you are angry at. They are likely to be having a rare old time not even giving you a second thought whilst you are giving yourself an ulcer fretting over what you can't change.
Let it go. It feels great.
I had some lovely emails, comments, instant messages and phone calls last night after my blog post. I am so lucky to have such lovely friends and they were so concerned, what I want to say is, I learned so well how to let it go. I really have, I needed to write that blog and I needed to say what I felt and I did and then I was better, honestly I am.
No-one needs to choose and nobody needs to worry that I am still sad. I'm not. I made a decision and it was absolutely the right one for me. No-one needs to leave a lovely group to show me solidarity, I know you love me, we have our own places to be and meet, all is very well in my neck of the woods and trust me when I say that I really have let it go.
Probably the best feeling in the world.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just walk away.

When I was 15, I was bullied, horribly bullied. I was incredibly naive, innocent and lived a glorious sheltered life.
I signed up for a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, I forget exactly what it entailed but it was a lot about passing tests and challenges. One challenge was to go camping, for 2 nights I think, with the bare essentials and survive. Oh how I hated the thought of doing that, even way back when, I hated to be cold, uncomfortable and this was not my idea of fun at all, to pass the test I had to do it though, no alternatives, do it or fail.
I signed up with 2 girls, one a friend and the other was HER friend, I really didn't know this girl except that she was worldly and so far from anything I knew that she was a little intimidating, nevertheless, I loved the other girl, Debbie, who I spent a lot of time with, I had been to her home and her family was as ordinary as mine, it would be fine.
We set off on our trip and as the evening began, as it started to get dark, to my absolute terror, I discovered that Debbie and the other girl ( whose name is forever branded into my mind and heart but is so unusual if I even write the first name, she would be led right here if she were to google her own name and I am still a big poopie panty scaredy cat when it comes to this girl ..ha! She is 47 now, some girl! ) well, anyway they had arranged for the mean girls boyfriend and HIS friends to come out to where we were camping ( in the middle of nowhere, on the moors, as stipulated by the rules of the D of E awards scheme 1977) scary girl was going out with a BIKER! In his TWENTIES! and his friends were also bikers, they were bringing alcohol and who knows what else and I was told that I had better join in...or else.
I was such a good girl, I really was, I knew nothing of any of this side of life, I didn't want to know I was so afraid of what would happen and I knew I had to get away from there.
No cell phones, no public phones, no farmhouses, no civilisation, for miles.
My only choice was to walk home ( Have I ever mentioned my sense of direction? No? That would be because I don't have one, at all, none. On tuesday I went to a Mall in Plymouth, a new one I have been to 3 times, I split up from Sophie, Jordan and Mel to go and get some shoes for Isaac, when I came out of the shop I was totally lost, I could not find my way out of that mall to save my life, I went upstairs, downstairs, this way and that and it took me a very long time to get out and find the kids) anyhoo, I left, I walked the way I felt was right and I prayed and I sang hymns all the way along that pitch black road, in the middle of the moors, I sang and I prayed and I sang and I wept and the angels led me home. I walked a mile or 3 and then I saw a phone box, I called my dad and he came to get me. I was safe.
Of course, I had to explain why I had done what I had done, my parents were proud ( and I suspect terrified at all the 'could have beens') and on the following monday they took me to school and they told the head teacher what had happened.
There followed the mos miserable time of my life, to this day the smell of a school makes my bowels turn to water, I heave at the thought of senior school.
Scary girl was mad. She was very, very mad. I have no idea what her parents said or did ( very little I expect) but she failed her D of E and was punished by the school.
She was a mean looking girl, black died hair, pinched face with a long thin nose and nails like witches talons, those were long filed nails and even today I can feel them.
She was scary to many people in the school and as a result of her being mad at me, anyone who was afraid of her was told that if they spoke to me, looked at me or even stood in the same vicinity as me, they would suffer. Then she showed everyone what they would suffer and she did it often, with such delight. She would seek me out and she would grab my neck with her nails and she would punch my face, she would laugh as she did it and she would ask if anyone else wanted some of it.
Every single girl that had been in the least friendly with me would turn her back if I walked into a room, they would either all start this horrendous fake cackling laugh and point at me, or they would ignore me completely. One or two of them would look at me with an apologetic look or a shrug that would almost beg me to understand and I did to a certain extent. Oh but at 15 it hurt my heart so much more than the long nails or the punches to my face.
I didn't tell anyone at home what was happening because I knew that my dad would be at the school immediately and I thought I knew where that would lead, look what was happening because I did that once.
The boys were wonderful, they don't get drawn into stupid girls nonsense the same way, they had no axe to grind and they weren't afraid of scary girl. So they would let me sit with them at break time, I went home for lunch ( and that was torturous because I would have to go back again after lunch). One day I was sitting in the form room with the boys, we were chatting and laughing and in walks mean girl. She walked right up to me, grabbed my throat with those talon like nails of iron and she punched and she punched and she punched some more. This time while she was squeezing my neck and punching she was screaming in my face " Hit me back you bitch! What's wrong with you! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU....HIT ME BACK you STUPID COW!" and I sat there, not even flinching and as her face got redder and redder and she became more and more irate I just sat there and I became more and more calm. I stood up, I flicked her off me as if she were naught but an irritating bug and I said ( very softly and very calmly) " No, I will not hit you back because if I did that I would run the risk of looking as ugly, as out of control and as stupid as you look right now" and then I turned and I walked away.
I went right the tuck shop where my one and only remaining friend worked at break time, she took one look at me, saw my beaten face and my bleeding neck and she knew what had happened ( as well as the grapevine that had sped along throughout the school) she didn't say a word , she just looked at me and shook her head and mouthed the words "I can't"
Something in me crumpled right then and I left the tuck shop and I walked out of school, I walked home and when my mum looked at me as I walked in, I merely said " I have left school, I am not going back, nothing you can say or do will convince me to ever go back, I will explain once, to you and the school and then I won't ever talk about it again, just know that I mean what I say, I will never ever go back to school."
I forget where the meeting was held, our house, the school, who cares, I do know that I must have shown that I meant what I said and they believed me.
I was in the final months of school about to take the exams that everyone told me were so inportant, that I would need to be anything or get anywhere in life. Incredibly the school said that I could study at home, work would be dropped off and I could go to school for the exams, I was given a timetable and that is exactly what I did. I went to school , walked into an exam, took them and left.
I passed 11 of those exams, at the ripe old age of 15 and a half.
I trained as an orthopedic nurse at the age of 17-19 and got the letters D.O.N after my name.
I have never been bullied again.I have been so blessed to have real friends. True friends. All my adult life I have been loved and accepted, cherished and beloved by some really great people, men and women.
Many have stayed friends with me for more than 30 years, some have been friends and then somehow the friendships just fizzle out, no sadness just nothing in common anymore and they run out of juice. 3 times the friendships have ended in a spectacular way.
Three times. Every time it has been because I say what I feel and mean what I say and every time it has been met with fury, hurt and then some heartfelt meanness that I know is a way of, on the behalf of the injured party, simply a way to expel some of the pain they think I meant for them.
Each time this happens I am sad that my words hurt, I am sorry that I believed the person on the receiving end of my brutal honesty thought that I said what I did to hurt them.
I never, ever intentionally hurt people, especially those I call friends. I also never ever just say what I think that person wants me to say. I can't, it doesn't feel honest, it certainly doesn't feel good to me to pour insincere words out in order to please. I don't do it to family, I don't do it to my children and I have never done it to friends. I do do it to people that mean nothing to me, I can join in with the best of them with fake " beautiful! Lovely picture! " on message boards and such like, usually I just keep my mouth shut.
That would be an option in a friendship I suppose, I could just keep my big mouth shut. If someone pours out their heart to me I could say nothing, but that to me is as bad as lying.
If I see someone I love doing something that makes me uncomfortable, if I think they are making a mistake, doing themselves an injustice I will tell them and sometimes it is not appreciated.
Most times, when people do it to me ( and they do, my mum never ever says what we what to hear but always what we need to hear) it does hurt and the times it hurts the most is when that person, parent, friend, spouse is right. When they say something that touches a nerve it goes through me like a dagger to the heart. I am quite spectacular in my response to such tough love and should you be curious as to how I react, try telling me a home truth or two.
I always take those things to heart though and after a cooling down period I almost always see what that person who loved me was trying to say. I will go back and ask them what I can do to right that which was or is, wrong.
I am not in anyway trying to say that I know it all, I don't know much at all actually. I get so many things wrong and am the first to admit that. What I don't get wrong is love. If I say something that is wrong, you can tell me and you can show me how I am wrong and I will admit that I am wrong. If you yell at me and call me names, I will assume that I hit a nerve and I will hold fast to what I said.
I know when someone loves me and when I love someone back, it is going to be for always unless you give me that love back.
If you ever tell me that I am not wanted, that you do not care, that I mean nothing to you, you know what I will do?
I will just walk away.
I don't hang around to be squeezed by the neck or punched in the face.
I just walk away.
I have done my share of begging before and it doesn't work. I don't do that anymore either.
I just walk away.
I won't hate you, I don't even hate the monster that abducted my children and if I don't hate that, you don't have a hope in hell of evoking any hatred. Don't even try, you're wasting your time.
I just walk away.
I won't sneak around and try to see if you still care.
I just walk away.
I won't try and contact you or try to get your attention.
I just walk away.
I walked away recently and it was a sad time. I was sorry that I hurt my friend, I tried to make it very clear that what I was saying was with love and with the best intentions, I kept what I wrote until it became very clear that there was no going back, no forgiving, no discussions or working it through. My friendship was returned, I was given back any love that I might have shared and so, I just walked away.
I am 46 years old. I am, I imagined, so far away from that little girl who was ignored and pushed to the outside of the group as it is possible to be.
Until today when I went somewhere where all my friends hang out and once again, I was that sad little girl who was outcast and just watching the fun because one person didn't want me there.
My friends don't even know I was an outcast, they couldn't see that I was blocked from the fun, they didn't have a clue that one person had made it so that I was the nothing again.
So I just walked away.
I am crying more than I did when I was 15. Not because one person doesn't want me there, I understand why she feels the way she does, though I don't agree with the way she is reacting. I hope that she will just walk away. But because I was made to feel like that sad girl again and I have spent years building that girl back up. The first one beat her down again and yet again years more of making her right again, pushing out the voices that make me cower and loathe.

I wish her joy, I have always wished her joy. I was her friend. If I hadn't cared I would have said all the trite nonsense I think she was hoping to hear, it wouldn't matter to me what she did or does, what she thinks or what happens to her. "There there, all better. how splendid you are" Bollocks.
I am not her friend anymore. It is over, done with and I am not at all sad about that, she gave me back my feelings and made it clear that all along it had been a fake friendship, a manufactured one that was nothing worth fighting for.
I am sad that it has infringed on mutual friendships and I felt I had to leave a lovely group because I was not and am not, willing to go anywhere that brings any kind of feelings of uselessness and self loathing. I will not put myself in a situation where I feel negative in anyway.
I just walk away.
I still have all my friends, I don't doubt that they love me and accept me and my big mouth, warts and all, we are all old enough to know that the days of " don't like her or I'll punch you in the head " have long gone. Hallelujah.
I never walk away from true friends, I will fight 'til the bitter end for friends that are mutually thoughtful and willing to give and take, I only ever walk away when I am told to, when you give me back what I handed to you, when you make it clear that I have nothing to offer, I will, without a word, just walk away.
Even if I sob while I am doing it.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Swings and roundabouts.

Some grumpy stuff
All morning I had the voices, those nagging miserable thoughts that were telling me what a waste of time it all is to even try and lose this amount of weight. Reminding me how often I have tried, and failed, how slow this is and how long it will take. A small thing started it, I washed my fleece jacket and dried it in the tumble drier, it shrunk, it is tight and the sleeves are short....oh how that made me feel like crap. That led to all the old feelings of how useless and fat, ugly and hopeless I feel.
This is when, ordinarily I would give in, oh it's too hard, why bother when it's obviosuly a waste of time blah blah. This time though, my head is fighting back. For every " ugly/ fat/ useless" thought there is a " well stuffing your face won't change THAT will it?"
For every " What's the point, you've never managed to lose all the weight before" there is a " So? this time can be different, can't it?" Even a " look, give in and go back to how it was...then what? More self loathing and misery, even if you don't lose another pound, you are better and healthier than you were 6 months ago" and so I carry on.
My legs and back have been so bad this week, so much pain. It seems that the leg pain is related to the back, nerves are trapped and so as the day goes on the nerves are pinched and send pain to my ankles and make that spasm thing happen. This week has been awful and my first reaction to feeling pain of any kind, is to comfort it with food, sad ? Eat. Hurt? Eat. Miserable? Feed it. I can cook such great food and I love to do it and I love to eat it even more! This week I have made some great dinners and a fabulous soup but I didn't give in and bake, no fluffy cakes, no cookies, no rice short blasts of heavenly comfort.
I want to kick it all up a notch but even walking makes my legs and back hurt more, the flip side to that is, the weight I am is contributing to the back pain, the more weight I lose the less I will hurt, maybe it will be worth causing extra pain in the short term to help the levels of pain on the long term.
I am such a sissy though.

Some good stuff.
It is way too cold to go out in this weather with the boys, earlier this morning I went to the workshop and brought in a box of dinosaurs that have been packed up since we moved out of the barn, that's nearly 18 months....Eli can't remember ever seeing them and Isaac was more excited than I can remember him ever being about them. They played with them ALL day, hours and hours of nice playing, games and imagining and playing some more and sharing.





At dinner time, Isaac said to Seth ( who had joined in briefly once or twice and absolutely refuses to admit he ever loved dinosaurs and knew every name of every one) "Hey Seth! SETH! Let's put the dinosaurs into groups!"
Seth looked at him with such distain and replied " No, Isaac, we won't, we will not behave like autistic people!" Heh! What? Has he looked up autism online or something? Who told him autistic people like to line things up and group them? Also, how did he manage not to comment on H's panicked suggestions that we NOT put the meat eaters in with the herbivores......NO! Lets NOT......oh look you mixed them, we should sort them out again tomorrow, bring in both boxes, keep them SEPERATE!

Sophie brought Joshua up for an hour or so, he is delightful, completely divine and getting so big and boyish. He is over 23lbs and in the 90% for his height too, glorious hair and the sweetset disposition. ( unless he is cross and then he is quite formidable)

( Grandma! Tell him! He' touching my laptop!)

(That's better, I have to check my emails.)

( yeah, OK seth, I get it!)



I love the way this baby looks at me, he has that smile that makes you feel like you are the very person he has been waiting to see. Beautiful boy.

I hope that the negative feelings I have had pass quickly and that I am able to see the wonderful things more clearly. In the meantime I shall remind myself that it is only by feeling sad sometimes that we are able to see and appreciate the good times so much more.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

That went well!

So Sophie and I actually did get out and walk today...that picture in the header, that was as we got out of the car. Why do animals like me? I kid you not, wherever I go, cats want to sit on my lap, dogs want to lean on me, birds follow me, even ponies run to me when we go to the moors, I am a Dr Dolittle or pied Piper or something, why they can't all sense my absolute disdain for them is beyond me, I like to look at dogs from afar, if they are nice looking ones, I don't want to touch them or talk to them. I quite like cats but the flea thing gets to me. Any other animal, well if you can eat it, I probably like it.
I will never be responsible for picking up an animals poo, ever, which is why we don't have any animals, I am passionate about people who have dogs and don't clean up after them. I don't feel emotional about animals in a fluffy sort of way but I am absolutely enraged by people who have pets and don't take care of them.
So we went walking, very slowly with much " Hells teeth it's SO COLD!" we met so many dogs, so many many dogs and elderly ladies, with more dogs than was sensible in my opinion and a pram, for the fat one who was old ( dog, not lady though, actually, who knows?)

Look at those dear old things, isn't being old marvellous? How splendid to just be, to wear what you want to wear and give not a jot what anyone thinks.

We took some pictures of some pretty things

And Sophie was at one with nature.


We walked a while and then turned around and walked more briskly back, the trouble is I am rubbish really, I pretty much know that the chances of me power walking on a regular basis are pretty slim, I start and then I know I won't keep it up and so I stop. Rubbish, Also Sophie bellowing "COME ON! FASTER!" makes me laugh and add to that the freezing cold and I need to pee, I am just not serious enough about it. Sophie did say that it's a good job we didn't hire a personal trainer.

Sophie was a guide or a air stewardess or something,


All in all, it was a pleasing afternoon and was better than sitting in the house, I think we plan to go again tomorrow and hope that perhaps a healthy desire to move quicker will strike me.
I feel so stuck in a rut this week, the stupid eating over Christmas is catching up with me and I feel horrible, when I saw the picture of me being stalked by the black Lab, I took off that sweater and threw it away, it really showed me that I have to stop wearing such baggy clothes, that did me no favours at all so it's gone, binned, never to be worn again.
If I could only make myself do the same with the baggy old jeans!
So, tomorrow we will try again.....Hopefully we will feel more like

Photobucket This than

Photobucket That.


On bravery and chivalry.

So the boys are back at school. We were on time, Isaac makes sure of that.
Last friday he started the count down, " 6 Days til we go back to school! Are the uniforms ready? Where are they? Shall I put mine on the end of my bed? How about now? Now? Where are they?"
Every day until monday, he told us how long. On monday
" 3 Uniforms and 2 packed lunches, shall I put mine at the bottom of my bed? Will you do it, it IS ready isn't it? What will you put in my lunch?"
Monday night
" It's 16 minutes to 8, we go to bed at 8 when it's school tomorrow, we don't have iPods when it's school, dad DAD DAD! It's 8 o'clock QUICK! Bedtime, come ON!"
On tuesday,
" 48 minutes til we leave ( and he came down at 6am on the dot, fully dressed, ready for school.)
Bless his heart he was so anxious.


I watched him as the time got closer and closer to leave and I saw real bravery. I tried to imagine how it must feel to be so worried about every day things, I remember how terrified I would be of the first day at a new school, how anxious I would feel if we were to have a new teacher but I don't think I have any idea just how deep Isaac's anxiety goes.
He feels levels of fear that I can only try to imagine and yet as he gets older he fights those feelings so hard.
In times past he would hold onto the door frame of his classroom, tears streaming but not a sound would escape him. He would hide and wrap himself in blankets and refuse to get dressed. Now it seems he is super ready, obsessively checking that things are ready. He prepares and then he tries so hard not to cry. To watch him taking deep breaths, checking his school bag, making sure his lunch is in order I am in awe of how hard just living is for him at times.
H takes him into his classroom and rather than holding onto the door he holds onto H and whispers instructions " ask Mr W if I have P.E today" H will check and then they look on the computer where Mr W has the days timetable written down. " ask if he wants to see my new History book but tell him I don't want to show him, I will put it on the table and he can see it but I don't want to talk to him about it" SO H talks to Mr W and will show him where the book is.
He holds onto H and then when the bell goes, he takes a huge breath in and then pushes H away and says " Go now!"
Imagine feeling that most days. As the term goes on, he gets less anxious. Then just as he gets to relax more, it is half term again and he has to go through it all again.
Seth does nothing for school, until he gets there when he starts with the " Did you pack my P.E kit?" and " I have to hand a form in today, did you sign it?" Drives. Me. Crazy!
H and were excited about school yesterday, usually I like the school break, I like not having to do uniforms, lunches, school runs, we have fun when they are home. This break was painful, for reasons we have no clue about, it was so long and the boys were either hyper or bored, hyper, bored. I was very ready for them to go back and be busy. H was craving the routine.
SO much so that as I waited outside the school, with the engine running to keep the car warm in this -5c weather , I looked up and saw, to my great delight and amusement that H was wearing socks and sandals! Heh! Ha. He hates getting his socks wet if he goes into the kitchen or bathroom so often he will throw his sandals on to avoid that......yesterday he was so keen to get the boys to school that he left and forgot the sandals and socks. Oh how I laughed! And laughed and then kept snickering because we went shopping right after and he had to walk around the 3 shops we went to in socks and sandals in minus degrees.
Walking around the second store, I stopped snickering ( and he started) when I saw that I had been out all morning with my T shirt on back to front. What a pair! We are a match made in Hopelessville! What hope do our children have, really?
I am enjoying H a lot lately, he makes me laugh with his quiet one-liners that are easy to miss if you're not ready for them. I feel lately that H and I are just beginning to know each other, the past years have been spent in a fog of babies and depression, getting on with it and getting through. These days we have more time to look around and enjoy what we see.
I love that he says things and then grimaces and will ask if he said 'that' outloud. I love that he is less afraid to say what he is thinking and less appalled when I let him know what I think about what he is thinking!
I am still thrilled that he is so polite, so gentlemanly ( is that a word? Yes, I am sure it is) and funny. I do love a man with manners. I might just keep him a while yet, especially since I discussed the beautiful ring with him and he said " Well, hmmmm, you seem to have the hwole thing worked out in your head already" and then agreed that sometimes its best to just go with the girlie notions at times as there advantages occassionally. Good man.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Intellectual conversation.

Sophie at reastaurant
"I'm going to the toilet"
Dan " Lovely Sophie, number 1 or number 2?"
H. " Does it matter? women sit down for both"
Dan " Every time a surprise!"

I love my family.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Be ye therefore perfect.

That's said quite often at our church, the ultimate goal, to reach perfection. I hear that and I think to myself " Yikes" and then, aways it is followed by " We are NOT expected to BE perfect, now, that is, we are merely expected to be striving towards it" My head hears " We are not expected to be perfect" and I exhale and think " Phew, that's alright then, I'm doing OK " and I snuggle down with my feelings of mediocrity and carry on as normal.
Today though, I feel differently. I don't feel comfortable with mediocrity anymore and I am sure that it is time for me to strive a bit harder towards being perfect ( which is oh so far away)
The thing is, we are all going to have different ideas of what perfection is aren't we? So, in fact I could BE perfect in one person's eyes and pretty near to the opposite in another's. ( what IS the opposite of perfect I wonder?)
It is time for me to stop leaning on H and his example and begin to join in, open my heart and my mouth and let my light shine ( I am a veritable cliche aren't I?) I have to start thinking about all the ways I can improve myself and make my family stronger. I shut down years ago, I think 5 years ago, so overwhelmed by the enormity of the emotional issues I was faced with, so saddened by events out of my control, I simply stopped.
Thinking, feeling, trying, you name it, I stopped it and all I did was get up, breathe, go to bed, repeat.
I haven't been aware of feeling coming back, there hasn't been a flash of light or a day of enlightenment, I just find myself here, now ready to move on. Which is actually huge, I am still in the state of running on the spot Umming a lot and Er....hmmmmmm, I should, um, yes, maybe...I'm there. No clue where to even begin but knowing I should.
I'm sure if I asked around there would be people willing to tell me where to start, which never works, does it? Having people tell you where you are going wrong is a sure fire way to make you dig your heels in whilst yelling that they got it all wrong! There's no point asking people unless you are ready to hear what they have to say, unless you actually intend to hear and then act on, the things they think...which hurts. If I ask anyone how I could better myself they would tell me all the things I am not ready to hear, work on, change. No, this is something that I have to work on myself, think about, pray about and then get on with it.
I know that I need to DO more, read more, learn more, act more and BE more. I don't think that the past 5 years have been wasted, I have done what I was capable of doing, what I needed to do simply to survive. Getting up and breathing was a major accomplishment if you ask me, I did breathing in a spectacular way. Now the challenge is on to breathe AND do....tough call.
What am I going to do? You may well ask.
I am going to read the scriptures, properly, thinking and learning and actually using what I learn. When H reads to the boys in the morning I will be there, participating not just enjoying the quiet 10 minutes.
I want to pray more because I rarely pray. I have convinced myself that if I am meant to know it, have it, experience it, it will happen, be there anyway. The thing is, when my children are away from me, I love to hear from them. Just a hello on Face Book, a quick call to let them know they are thinking of me. I am a child of God, He may just want to hear from me every now and again, just because. Not because I need something or want something or am complaining about my lot.
I grew up with prayer such a big part of my life, my mum and dad showed us how great prayer can be, how calming and reassuring. I have seen and learned that prayer works, absolutely. We prayed as a family, we were taught how to pray and that e could pray anytime and anywhere and I so want my children to know the same things I know. Isaac has enormous faith in prayer, when we had the old black car from freecycle, it would die often, we would get into the car and it would be completely dead, not even turn over. One day Isaac and I had been out , we were tired and it was cold, we got into the car and it wouldn't start, I tried every trick in the book and nothing made that jalopy start. I looked at Isaac and said "well, we've tried everything, it won't work, shall we try a prayer?" He looked at me as if I was crazy and then said "Ok then"
I said a simple prayer and said that we were tired and cold and that we really needed to get home and asked that the car would start and we would get home safely.
The car started the very next try, Isaac was so excited, from then on every time that car died he would say the same " well just pray then" and every time he was with me and we prayed, it would start. If I was on my own I can't say it worked because I often didn't pray.
Be ye as little children we are told. So, I am going to pray more and more sincerely.
I am going to truly enjoy the things that make me happy, make the most of, glory in, not take for granted. Time flies by and so many opportunities are lost because I don't make the time to do great things.
I have a list as long as your arm ( how long is that by the way? Is it as long as that piece of string?) of things I wish I could do, I might pick one of those and learn how to do it. ( and this is where I am supposed to actually list one of those things so I can come back and check whether I did it or not. Cake making / decorating and playing the piano are 2 of those things, don't put money on either!)
I am going to think more about every day things, you know, in a tree huggy kind of way, I have seen the difference good food makes to how I feel and look, I want to start thinking more about other ways to be 'green' too many chemicals and money used in our house, I want to start using good stuff like lemons and vinegar, Dan bought me some organic soaps and lotions for Christmas ( that came packed in recyclable boxes and surrounded in POPCORN! Heh, not that we ate any or anything but so much better than that styrofoam nonsense) I just had a marvellous shower and washed with a big old lump of porridge, I am all clean and organic. Smell me!
I see how possible it is to cure myself by the way I live, rather than drugs. My goal is to be able to stop all my blood pressure medication, to avoid any need for insulin, I would love to completely cure my insomnia, for 23 years I have survived on 4 hours sleep a night, these days I am sleeping for 7 hours, every night! I still feel weary in the afternoon but wonder if that isn't a mix of habit and the fact that my body is catching up on all those years of being so sleep deprived. I am sure that as I become more active, that will improve.
Oh, Gemma just reminded me, today was a testimony meeting at church and H stood up, not something he usually does, he was very sweet and I love to hear what he has to say because he only ever says things he has thought about and means.
He said how he has goals for our family and that he so wants the boys to know the truthfulness of the Gospel and scriptures etc and then, right at the end ( when he was probably watching me trying to hold Eli still, threaten Isaac and click my fingers in a 'you'd better be quite right now or I will beat you' way at Seth, thinking I was busy and wouldn't hear him) he said " I so want Helen to know that I love and appreciate her" See? He knows how to do it, don't say it for a year and then go for it, in public...he gets a years worth of brownie points for that because everyone KNOWS how all that emotional stuff is so foreign to him, when he says that, in those circumstances, it isn't because he wants to impress the other people hearing him, it's because he wanted ME to know and by saying it right then , he showed me as well as told me? He is a genius in a quiet and understated way. I would bake him a cake if I didn't think I would eat more of it than him.
I want to find ways to enjoy the time H and I have, together. We are wont to spend a ot of time in companionable silence, which is all well and good but something tells me that maybe we could be closer if we did more than that occassionally. Of course he would have to agree to that too and he might just love companionable silence ( I think he really like silence of any kind truth be told!)
So, here we are all ready to become new and improved, to be closer to perfection and use our time more wisely. I love the new Year!


Saturday, January 03, 2009

They don't get that from me!

I have no idea where my little kids are from but there are some things that I can absolutely say they do not get from me. Like their eating habits.
Given a choice they would eat pasta with Parmesan cheese every day for dinner. They choose olives and pickles as a treat, they love vegetables ( and so do I so maybe they get THAT from me after all) They all eat until they are satisfied and then stop and you can wave all manner of treats in front of them and they will say " but I'm not HUNGRY!"
This evening I went to buy some last minute bits from Asda and got there right as they were reducing all the baked goods. I picked up some cookies, some delicious, big chewy cookies, chocolate and mint cookies, mmmmmmmmm.
You would have thought I put dog poop in front of my kids. 3 faces totally screwed up in revulsion. "Ewwwwwwwww! Get them away from me, they are BROWN!"
"No...NO! I don't like them they are HORRIBLE Ewwwwwww !"
Seth just raised his eyebrows and said "Er no. I don't think so!"
H and I caught ourselves trying to talk them into eating them " Mmmmmmm, you could put ice cream in them and make an ice cream cookie that would be SO delicious!"
Blank stares.
"Just smell it!! go on! It's a LOVE cookies!"


They react the same when faced with chocolate pudding, yoghurts, chocolate desserts of any kind. They recoil in complete horror.
I wish that was catching. Let me catch some of that 'Ewwww no, may I have an olive please?"
Snort, yeah right!
Ewwwwwwww olives! Even the smell makes me twitch, I have tried to eat olives but have to admit defeat, I can live without them and all will be well.
I am actually very happy that my kids can live without mint choc cookies and chocolate puddings, it is a glorious happy thing to me, I would love to take the credit for it but really, it must be some sort of throw back from an age where chocolate didn't exist or something.
I've been coasting so far on my weight loss journey, it has been ploddy and has made me very happy, I want now to kick it up a bit, make it hurt a little so I feel like I am actually working on it. I know I can keep doing what I have been doing and it will keep working I just want to feel more invigorated by it all. January and february are such miserable months, all that feeling as though there is nothing to look forward to, summer is so far away, happy holiday feelings all gone. I usually go into a mental hibernation for the first 2 or 3 months of the year and when the sun starts to shine, when spring shows it's face I start to feel alive and wish I had done something to make wearing Capri's and short sleeves less painful, then before you know it, summer is here and I am kicking myself for not working and making the heat less uncomfortable.
This year I have already had a kick start, 2 stone lighter than I was this time last year....when I saw this picture taken by H when I wasn't looking....


I crumpled into a hypothetical heap and ate myself even fatter for 6 months.

I am so glad that I have started to change all this, not just the look but the inside feelings. I still hate to see pictures of myself, but these days, I can look at them and not delete them because I am doing something about how I feel and look. I just want to feel as though I am doing more. I think I am going to try and get Sophie to join me, she has gained weight and although she isn't fat, she could be if she doesn't change soon. On new years eve, she went out and apparently when faced with a queue right out the door for the toilets she pointed at her belly and said " You have to let me go first LOOK.....pregnant lady needs a pee!" and the crowds parted and let her and her substantial belly to the front of the line!
I love that she is so fabulously unselfconscious but she is getting weary of people pointing out how much weight she has gained. I told her this evening that she is so young she could easily drop her weight by the time she goes to Boston again and she could easily gain another stone in that time. She is so beautiful, I want her to enjoy her life and not get to the stage where her weight stops her having all the fun in the world that is waiting for her.
I like that I still feel so enthusiastic about this year and it's already almost the 4th! I knew it was going to be a good one. Sometimes you can just tell, can't you?
It was hard to think that today was a good one, the boys were completely wild, I knew that if they could get outside and work off some energy it would help but it was so cold and even they said it was too cold. Seth said he had nothing to do and H said " Well you can get in the kitchen and see what you could do with those pots and pans!"
Not 45 seconds later we heard all kinds of a din and then saw this...

And he asked if that's what H meant. Smart arse. Pretty sure he doesn't get that from me either.


Friday, January 02, 2009

January 2nd.....

Doesn't time fly? Good gracious, it'll be Christmas before we know it!
What day is it? Does anyone know? I know that the boys go back to school in 4 days because Isaac keeps telling me. I know that I have to buy packed lunch foods in 3 days because Isaac keeps telling me, I know that the uniforms are ready because Isaac told me so many times and asked me when I thought I would be getting 'round to that so many times I just did them and hung them up and now he can ( and does) pop his head around the corner and look at them all, ironed and hanging in beautiful clean smelling rows. Reassuring and ready, we like that feeling.

Today was the first full day back in normality. Oh how good it feels. Listen to me, I sound as though someone made me do it ( the DEVIL! The Devil made me do it!) was I forced to eat such nonsense ( delicious nonsense naturally?) Who was it that made me personally responsible for making sure all those walnut whips were eaten before Jan 1st? Heh, I did it all by myself, without even being told to do it and here I am spouting as though it was a terrible trial. Actually, what the past week has been has been an eye opener. Not once did I eat in anger, or sadness or with worry or guilt. I ate what I wanted to eat, because I wanted to eat it and when I had enough, I stopped. I. Stopped.
I don't know if I ever felt that before. I have the tiniest glimmer of belief that I may really and truly be learning how to deal with things without food. Shhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone.
I was worried about eating Christmas fayre because I imagined having to start all over again with the feelings of denial, the dreadful 'I can'ts' there are none, not one, no looking at any kind of food and wishing things were different, wishing I were a naturally thin person that could eat all that stuff and stay thin.
The thing is, people who are naturally thin, probably aren't. They are just able to see, eat and stop. Just like that, all the time! What I have to do is just, for a while, eat less and move more until I reach a weight that feels just right for me. I am sure that isn't a stick thin weight, I really don't think I am meant to be, or even want to be skinny, I will know when I am where I should be.

I was thinking today what I do want for myself. I am 46, I love comfy clothes, I am pretty certain that I am not aiming for a body to die for that will be draped in beautiful fashionable skin tight clothes. I would love to wear fitted clothes, rather than huge baggy T shirts.
I have been buying, in the sales, clothes that are not huge and for some reason I am still very afraid of them! I bought a really pretty top, V necked and 3 sizes smaller than I normally wear, it fits, beautifully I might add and I wore it....with a baggy old jumper over the top! What IS that all about? I have to teach myself to be alright with losing weight. In the past whenever I have lost enough weight that people notice, I put it right back on. I don't think and I desperately hope, that this isn't about to happen this time.
I have a dream, when I was younger, in my 20's I had beautiful hands ( though I say so myself) I even had a photographer ask to take pictures of them so pretty they were. I am sad every time I see my fat old butchers hands these days because although I am not a fru fru frilly girlie girl, I love rings and bracelets, bangles and jangly shiny things.
For 2 years or more, I have had my eye on a ring in the jewellers window, I stop and look and hold my breath for fear it has been sold.....and so far, it hasn't. I so want that ring.
Last week I stopped and pointed it out to H and said that for our 10th wedding anniversary I wanted that ring and I was going to make sure my fingers were thin enough to wear it and show it off to everyone that cared ( or not!).
Today I stopped and looked and it has been reduced! A lot! It wasn't a ridiculously expensive ring to start with and now it is £814.
Oh how I want that sparkly ring on my finger, more than skinny jeans and fitted shirts, I want that ring! We shall see.
I love Face book, to start with I was very reluctant and can't even remember why I opened an account, I think it may have been because of the first Boston trip but whatever, I did and I am now so hopelessly addicted, I LOVE IT! I have found old friends and made new ones. I get so excited when I get an email saying someone found me and wants to be my friend! I love seeing the pictures and seeing how people have changed, reading what people are doing and most of all I think I love the status updates. Those things are hysterical sometimes.
I can't stand the half a story ones, I always want to ask "WHAT??" when someone just hints at a secret. I am so nosy I think that's why it appeals to me so much, you can see into peoples' lives and they don't even know! Well they know if I came by because I can't help but leave a comment or 7.
Do you facebook? Do I have you on my friends list? Let me into your life and open your world to me and my nosiness! I admit I don't do all the games and the poking, I can't be growing plants or throwing snowballs, Sophie gets crazy when she sees I have 735463 notifications unread.....meh, no time for all that stuff, I need to be looking at pictures and reading where you are and what you are doing, laughing at your status updates and trying to out status Jenn who also loves to change her status multiple times and she is the queen of blasting laugh updates.
I am ridiculously easy to please.
Gossip and shiny things = smiley me.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

A new year's just begun...

And how marvellously it began!
Dan is down here and we had a mini Christmas with him, ( oh alright, so we watched him open his presents and then said " Can we get the tree down now please?")
I took the tree down and so keen was I to get rid of it, H and I rammed it into the back of the car and took it to the recycling center, H did say that he was sure that of all the days in the year, this was sure to be one that it was closed. I assured him that the garden refuse bit was ALWAYS open, we only have to drive through and throw the tree on, it'll be fine.
It was closed, huge iron gates ( never noticed those before) and a sign saying that anyone filmed dumping stuff outside the gates would be liable to fines of up to £20.000 which is excessive isn't it ( and not worth the risk because we ALL know who, if anyone would be the person to be made an example of, don't we? Yes, we do.)
So, tree is propping up the outside of our house and tomorrow I shall take it to be mulched and shredded and made into something organic and wholesome. Funny how the only time that tree gave off even a hint of pine smell was when it was flinging every single needle off in a last desperate attempt to carpet the floor with it's sharp little needles. Bloody thing. Fake next year, all the way, nice fake tree that will stay in shape and not droop, at all.
I was going to cook a roast, pork and crackling, all the trimmings...and then Dan said " Nah...why don't I take us all for lunch?" and I was convinced, so Jordan booked us in to his work place, which is so pretty. I have never been there before, but I will certainly be going back because it is so quaint and the food was delicious. Cooked by Jordan. Beautifully.


We had steaks, smoked fish platters, we had pate starters, steak and ale pie ( which by the way, looked so great I took a picture!)
See? My boy made that pie and one of the others ate it!

Look how pretty the pub is...


Jordan popped out of the kitchen to say hello,


We had great seats.


There were good drinks ( non alcoholic of course)


And there was happy. Lots of happy.

Although even that precious baby doesn't escape the banter and the teasing ( always done in a loving way of course!)

He isn't a bit simple , it was just to great a photo opportunity to miss, he was so zoned out after his lunch!

A rare picture of our family...rare because I always look and say "Gah!" and delete but sometimes you have to just go with it and accept that this is as good as it gets!

As if that wasn't as splendid as can be, how about the big kids taking the little kids out and the old people having a 3 hour nap?
Old people. What a moment of clarity I had as we sat at the table and I looked at my posterity, 3 generations of one glorious family at the table.


The old generation!
It seems moments ago that I would sit at a table with my mum, dad, siblings, Nana and thinking how old Nana was.
Now that is me.

*Insert shocked expletive here*

It's not a bad thing. It's just so unreal .... it really is. It is incredible to me that I can be the matriarch of a family like this. It makes me feel so strong and wealthy. When I sit and just soak in the laughter and the absolute love, it is indescribable to me. Enormous is what it is. And very, very good.