Are you ready for this?

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Location: United Kingdom

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Then sings my soul.....

Have you ever had that feeling? When your soul sings? Not just saying it, not just using the term to make a point but to actually have your very soul sing?
What a joy to have that feeling.
I witter on so often about how sad I can feel, how miserable my trials are, I can whine with the best of them and have been known to wallow in abject misery just because sometimes it is so easy to do that.
Sometimes, more often than I share, my soul can sing, it does sing.Today was one of those days. This week has been one of such contemplation for me, starting last week when I cried so much as I pondered on how I have made mistakes, how things could have been, but weren't. This week I have done things differently. In the short time I managed to stay in church last week, I heard one important lesson, one fact that could change how my life goes, how different my home can be. I heard that point and I thought about it, almost without thinking, I decided to try it.
We were told that as Mothers we can feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do, how huge our task can be and how often we feel that we simply aren't doing enough. Then the teacher said " How wrong we are, what we really need to do is LESS"

Imagine that, how so? How can we do LESS and yet win? How can doing LESS mean our homes are more efficient, more loving, more spiritual and calming?
Well, by listening to less of the world outside, less media, less noise, less rushing and trying to keep up with the Joneses. By leaving behind so much of the insane rushing and unimportant nonsense we have more room for what we truly need in our homes.
I tried that, I have taken my iPod with me in the car and listened to calming music, sweet music that touches my heart and leaves my ears alone! Music that gives me goosepimples and good tears. I have played the same music while I cook and clean.
I'm years behind H, who has adopted this plan for ever. I am slow on the uptake and also, stubborn, ain't no-one going to ever TELL me what to do ( not sure that anyone has ever tried apart from the rare occasions when H will sigh audibly and exude such a feeling of displeasure should I choose to watch some TV show like "Real housewives of Orange county / New York" for example and will mutter something like " what can anyone POSSIBLY be learning from watching these people?" )
H doesn't watch, listen to or read anything that he won't learn something from and he will never watch or listen to something that he wouldn't be comfortable watching with his children. He is such an example of how we can invite good and uplifting things into our lives and he is also someone who laughs when I tease all round good bloke then.
By turning off some of the crazy that surrounds us, replacing it with changes.
I am, by nature, a somewhat irreverent being. I can find something to laugh at at most situations in life. I can joke about the most serious of subjects and it has taken me far, that talent has carried me through nightmarish times and made the worst moments bearable.
I can also be serious, when it matters.

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, my words don't say it nearly as well as someone can sing it.
My soul sings because I love my Heavenly Father. Without the knowledge and faith that I have, I would not be.

"Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art."


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Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm not sure I like this.

This....the big kid, the one whose feet stink and who will spend 30 minutes trying to explain why he DOES NOT NEED A SHOWER, who has an attack of the vapours should I mention putting his clothes into the wash, yet spends an inordinate amount of time getting that quiff just right every morning. The hair is his trade mark, he loves the hair, he likes it cut every 3-4 weeks, short everywhere but that bit right in front that is dampened and then gelled with such care each and every morning.

When did he stop being a teeny little brainiac, who would open his mouth and astound anyone within earshot? When did he start using that brain and that mouth to drive me near insane? He will argue black is white, he is by far the most argumentative and stubborn little git I have ever come across. The worst part is he is SO smart, there is no winging it with this boy, one step ahead or you're going to get trampled.
I am sweating because I am pretty sure that at the age of 8 years and 7 months I am no longer able to use the " Because I said so" card. That doesn't work with Seth, he needs REAL reasons. Reasonable and acceptable reasons why he should, or shouldn't do a certain thing. The problem with THAT is that there never IS a reasonable and acceptable reason for Seth if he doesn't want to do them.

He is incredibly clever, exceptionally polite to teachers and older people, he is a popular and funny friend...and he brings out the very best and the very worst in me.
Today I remembered that he is 8 years old, he weighs 45lbs, he is not the boss of ME!
I picked him up from school and yet again, because ( due to rain and wind and COLDNESS) we were not staying behind for him to play basketball with the big kids, he started his tirade of how unfair this was, how thoughtless I am, how miserable and dull and deprived his life is. He whined and answered back, he stomped and picked on his brothers, he riled Elijah until Eli kicked and punched him.
I walked to the car and told the boys that they had blown the thursday Mac Donald's trip. Suddenly he was sorry and Eli was sad, Isaac just did what Isaac does and he sat in the car and sighed a bit and kept his mouth shut.
Seth continued all the way home to try and make me understand the error of my ways, right as we reached our road, Eli said " I am sorry, if I am a good boy tomorrow, maybe can I have Mcdonalds tomorrow?" I told him that that was indeed a possibility for him because he had apologised and he had been a good boy in the car, I also said that that wasn't a possibility for Seth because he had NOT been a good boy and he had been so rude and so disrespectful that his chance was blown until next week..and even then it was not a definite.
He was furious and said " Oh there you go again..showing us just how selfish you are"
Oh yes, he DID.
I pulled up outside our house and said " Isaac, stay in the car"
"Because we are going back to Mcdonalds, you have been a superb boy, we can drop Seth off and Eli off and we can go back"
Oh my goodness.
Seth just about blew a gasket, Eli was a little sad but reminded himself that if he is a good boy tomorrow maybe it would be his turn then but Seth? He could only see the INJUSTICE and the outright favouritism, he wept and he said how sorry he was that Isaac was a creep and he so WAS sorry for being rude because why else was he crying, look REALLY CRYING!
He cried in the car and he cried when we got into the house, he cried all the way upstairs with H following him saying that he could make that noise in his room as long as he liked but he cure wasn't going to make it anywhere near him, he cried when I went back to the car and guess what? He cried again when we came home!
Seems he had stopped while Isaac and I were out, Isaac chose to go to Asda and pick up 2 new cars instead of going to Mac D's because he so loves Eli that eating without him wasn't going to be fun for him, so he chose 2 new cars and said " If Eli has stopped all that nonsense when we get home he can play with me"
When we got home and Seth saw that Isaac had new TOYS that he could " rub my face in that for days!" I'm afraid it was all too much for him and he started crying again in earnest.
It astounds me that someone so smart can take so long to grasp the simplest of lessons.
Tomorrow I will be able to talk to Seth and maybe get my point across, I told him that I am tired of him thinking that he rules the roost and I am very tired of having him speak to me in such a disrespectful way. H and I explained that enough is enough and from now on, punishment will be swift and it will be consistent and it will be sufficient to help him learn that he is not right all the time. That he is not the be all and end all and the world does not revolve around him.
I look at this boy and I see a teenager right there and unless we can help him see very quickly that we do know best and we so ARE in charge, life will be very very un-fun when he hits his teens.
I also look at him and see the funniest, quirkiest, sweetest little pixie faced boy in the world.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I suppose I'm just not that dedicated.

I learned something else about myself today, good heavens, what a week for growth and learning it has been for me.
I absolutely intended to buy my mum a lovely present, for mother's day on Sunday, while we were at the Temple on saturday, either there in the little shop or at the LDS bookstore, afterwards, when we drove ourselves there while everyone else was sitting in the coach, you know, without us.
I had 40 minutes to grab what I needed, pee and find the bus, no chance to buy anything, so that idea was out.
So, I decided that I would take mum out for a lovely lunch. The idea went down well and today was the day. I picked mum and Leah up at 11am and off we went, to Exeter for a lunch on my favourite restaurant.
As usual the food was glorious, we had a lovely time, we looked out at the beautiful sunshine, the river and the spring flowers. Replete and happy we made up our minds that we would drive over to a lovely shop to browse before we came back home, ready to collect the boys from school.
Mum and Leah always walk arm in arm, best of friends and both in need of a little support they wander along at their own speed, taking in the view as they go.
I, however am living in a world of school timetables. Everything seems to be done around when the boys go to school and come home. An hour to do this, 2 hours to get there and back, you know how it is. Rush rush, grab and run.
I rarely stroll anywhere, I drive, I get out, I charge around, I drive back and I charge around some more.
When I am going out with mum and Leah, I make sure I don't have to fit anything else in and I enjoy the non rushing, however, I do find it impossible to walk at the same pace, wherever we go I am ahead, turning 'round, waiting a bit, ahead again, looking back, waiting a bit. Forward, back, forward back.
Today was no different. We left the restaurant and headed to the car, down many wooden stairs and the car was parked mercifully close to the steps. I was a few steps ahead, keys in hand ready to open the doors for mum and Leah.
Leah gets wobbly sometimes and mum has such painful legs that holding onto each other is ideal. It works for them as a rule.
As I went to open the car doors, I heard, in that heart stopping way, a sickening thud behind me. I heard that and experienced that awful feeling of slow motion, that dread of turning around and seeing what I thought I was about to see, when I forced myself to look, there they were.....mum and Leah, still arm in arm, face down on the concrete.
Gah!! I hate that feeling where you are running and getting nowhere, my mouth, as usual worked fine and forced out a few 'Shits!!!' I got over to them, the full 4 steps away, in about 3 hours or so, ( that's how long it felt!) Mum was saying " Oh, check Leah, she's bleeding" and I told her to shut up ( I am so sympathetic) that Leah was fine but what about her....her knee hurt so much and Leah's hand had all the skin scraped off right across the knuckles.
Mum's knee was black already so I can't bear to think what it will look like tomorrow.
She had to scoot to the steps on her bum, hoist herself up from there and I ran and moved the car as close as I could get to them so they could limp into it's safety.
When we got into the car, I handed out special wipes, antiseptic wipes that soothe Isaac's every graze and owie, he says they don't sting and they take the hurt away...seems he is right. Phew that felt great to actually DO something.
Once I had stopped shaking, or at least stopped shaking enough to drive away, I realised that I had failed miserably as a blogger because when I thought about how long all that falling over had taken, how mum and Leah had stayed face down on the concrete for at least half the day, when I took myself back and reran the whole scenario over and over I remembered that the whole time I had my camera in my bag .
I let you down, dear blog readers, I didn't give you a second thought, camera right there and yet not a single picture of my nearly 71 year old mother and wobbly sister prostrate on the cement floor noses to the tarmac.
Can you ever forgive me? I'm not sure I forgive myself, I could even have made money if I had flicked to video mode and sent the clip to 'You've been framed'
When push comes to shove, I suppose I am just not dedicated enough. Darn it.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

At the side of the road.

Yesterday, I set out at 7am on a road to trip to the London temple.
If I start to explain all about the temple, this post will be so long it'd take 3 hours longer to read it ( and it's going to be a long one to start with) and I would forget so many important facts and details it could end in tears. That's not what this post is all about. This post is, of course, all about ME.
I was going to the temple because I haven't been for a long time ( since H and I were sealed over 2 years ago) and also because yesterday was a date set for all the women in our area, who belong to the LDS church to travel together for the day, attend a meeting inside the temple, have lunch together, have fun and replenish our spiritual batteries together. Perfect.
Now, I will say this about the temple, when you walk into the building, from outside where the weight of the world can bow you down, the feeling is like none other. It is akin to the warmest fire on the coldest day, the softest bed on the most wearying night. It is all encompassing, uplifting, calming. It is truly the Lord's house. I like that feeling.
It is also a place where incredible work is done. That's all. If I start to explain the work...we're back to me missing things and leading away from the things I want to say.
The first thing I will say is that I really don't like coach trips, in a smaller way than flying it gives me that claustrophobic feeling of being STUCK....get me out! I also suffer from travel sickness on coaches. Blargh...coaches are stuffy and hot and I don't like them much at all. So, my friends and I, just 4 of us decided that we would travel by car together, have a really great day and go at our own pace, meet up for lunch with all the others and then travel back at our own pace, stopping where we fancy and arriving home happy and smug, with none of that weary feeling coach travellers suffer.
Great plan! We decided that we would go in Sara's car because hers is biggest and she has Savannah who is 3 months old, more room for car seats and baby bags and us and our bags of picnic and spare clothes.
Sara came to get me at 7am and I felt a little nostalgic as her car is so similar to my old rust bucket, that faithful old crap heap that carried my family and me around for all those years, moved furniture from many old houses to many new houses, took us all from pillar to post and back again, cost me several hundreds of pounds if not thousands in petrol and repairs and eventually died of a broken head gasket right before we went to America for a 3 week holiday of a lifetime. Bloody thing.

We went to collect Naomi, mother of 4, and Gemma, mother of my 3 great nephews, which means she is my niece. We arrived at Gemma's to see her ex husband loading the kids into his car, so we sat outside for a few minutes trying to decide what name best suits him, Knob was the winner by the way, good job we were headed to the Lord's house where we would be sure to repent, probably although we didn't really feel terribly sorry because he really IS a Knob.

Off we went and 3 minutes into the journey, Sara said " So, anyone got a map?"

That is so Sara, I have never met anyone quite like Sara, mother of 5. She is 26 and Jack, her oldest child is 6, Savannah is 3 months, Amber, Aimee and Seth are in between. They are quite beautiful and extraordinary children, Jack makes my Seth look like an imbecile, he has been reading fluently from the age of about 5 months, he is a college professor in a little fair haired, brainy headed body.
Amber is equally bright and equally beautiful, Aimee is like my Eli, she is so typically normal and delicious and the prettiest daintiest of girlies.
Seth, well he is nearly 2. Last year he had liver cancer, hepatoblastoma. He had 70% of his liver removed, 70%.
This year, he has no sign of cancer, his liver has completely regrown, he is fit and healthy and he is a living sign that with God, nothing is impossible. He almost died, but he didn't, when he had an intensive chemotherapy his hair grew, he grew, he showed us all that all things can be endured with a smile. Extraordinary child, with an extraordinary mother ( and father but he didn't come yesterday, he stayed home with 4 children and said "Sara, it's 4 children? What's the problem...GO!")
Sara is so laid back she leaves us all speechless, I suspect she does all she does because the small stuff? Meh....doesn't matter. She's awesome. ( check my whole blog and see is I EVER use that'll find I don't, if I am using it now, it's because I mean it and can't think of a single other word that will do instead)

I sat in the front of the car with Sara and we talked non stop as she drove. We stopped half way at some services and had a wee, bought some snacks and warmed a bottle for Savannah who hadn't made a sound so far on the journey. She was fed and strapped back into her seat and off we went again.
20 minutes up the road Sara said "Hmmm, look the oil light is flashing, that doesn't seem like a good thing does it?"
" No, I don't think that should happen was our helpful reply, followed by various mechanical suggestions like " ooh look, the engine light is on as well, maybe the lights are just not working" and " Andy put oil in, he maybe put too much in and the car doesn't like it, he may have spilled some and that's why we can smell burning? "
Then...'Actually I have my foot flat to the floor and I'm only doing 60 mph..oh 50....uh oh 20'....Damn.
Followed by "SMOKE!! Get the BABY OUT!"

There followed 3 hours of waiting. It began with much hilarity, as is our wont, faced with crapola, laugh about it...that small stuff? Meh.


We called from the roadside SOS phone because we are women, none of us knew where we were, using that phone they can tell US, while Gemma called, using her roadside recovery, they told her that they could see us via the video camera and GET THOSE OTHER PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE CAR!!!!!


Because we are great under stress, we forgot we had cell phones to call each other and so Gemma had to RUN and snatch them from the very jaws of death..RUN GEMMA! RUN!!!

After 45 minutes an RAC man arrived. Because I have such old cruddy cars I am well acquainted with RAC men, pretty much every one I have met has been a veritable joy to see. happy and helpful, quick and always go beyond the call of duty. Not this one.

He was the least helpful, least cheerful, most deserving of a smack in the mouth RAC man I have ever encountered, he told Sara that her car was indeed very dead ( from the obviously hereditary blown up head gasket disease) and that he couldn't tow it because it had to go on the back of a big truck. Another truck would be here in 30 minutes. He told us that for the next 2 1/2 hours and that is pretty much all he told us, apart from he couldn't help, he could tow us 10 miles or nowhere, there was no way we could upgrade or pay extra, nothing he would or could do and someone else would be here in 30 minutes.
The picture I took of him is of his back because his face made me want to punch it, on the way to the Lord's house or not, that was a face to slap for sure.

Right after we called the SOS phone people the police arrived, having had a call to report a car on fire.....they were cheery and helpful, gave us space blankets to keep us warm and told us that help would be here in 30 minutes but maybe the fire brigade would be here before then because a fire had been reported.


Gemma came alive at that bit of news and did her make up, right there, right prepared.
Bloody liars all, because we saw neither hide nor hair or any hulking fire men, could have been burned to a crisp right there and they could have cared. Darn video camera must have reported that we weren't ablaze after all.


3 hours. We caught the sun....we are all aglow and healthy looking. I must say though that if you plan to sit by the road for several hours, don't wear a skirt and support tights, really. Don't.


This baby, this teeny little 10lber Savannah, didn't make a sound, she slept and woke, she smiled and slept, she snuggled and was probably the most perfect baby in the world. She is her mother's daughter, what a delight!


Eventually a cheerful chap arrived, a rough looking, bald headed, smiley faced knight in a big old truck. In minutes ( more than 30 but less than 3 hours) we were loaded up and all of us laughing and exclaiming about how WARM it was and how SOFT these seats were, we joked and felt so happy to be on our way to Surrey at last.
When we arrived at the temple, after a 2 hour trip in the bumpy truck with seats that only felt soft for about 15 minutes and then were very very hard and bum achey, the driver said "Hey! I know this're pne of THOSE! My ex wife was one of THOSE, she was a good girl she was, Theresa, she's called. Oh no...did I swear? If I had known you were one of THOSE, I wouldn't have? Did I say anything I shouldn't have because you are good girls, you're all lovely you are, you've all made my day"
I am proud to be one of THOSE ... I hope we didn't say or do anything to make him ever think THOSE are anything but good people.

We had missed the lunch and we were running so late but we so wanted to just be there, just meet up and see people, just get into the temple for an hour.
We arrived at 3.10pm, the bus back was leaving at 4pm. We had time to run into the shop, buy a few bits and bobs, have a wee and get on the bus and come home.
We received much sympathy and there were plenty of ' oh no! Poor you! ' comments but you know what? None of us felt hard done by, not at all.
I had had quite the most incredible day. I spoke to Sara about things that we both felt during times of such distress, we both admitted to knowing without doubt that when times should have been the darkest, we were lifted, when things should have been unbearable, we were calm.
We spoke of angels and we bore testimony of knowing the God lives.
I learned things about me that I hadn't realised. I learned things about Sara that are not obvious to us as we meet up and watch what is happening.
I felt that the whole day was as it should be, I wasn't at all worried that I had missed anything, I didn't for a second feel as though the day was wasted.
I loved that when I got on the coach people wanted me to sit with them, people said they wanted a laugh and they wanted me to provide it.

We did laugh, most of the way home, until we stopped at the services ( same one as on the way up) When we had eaten and were on our way again, I told my friends that I was going to listen to my iPod and some of the music that H had downloaded for me.
The thing about iPods, good ones, is that when those headphones go in, the world is shut out, the quality of music is incredible and the music fills your soul ( unless is jazz music, in which case it would make you want to punch someone very hard, I imagine, I'd better not ever find out on my iPod because I HATE jazz music)
That's when the tears started.
The words of the songs I was listening to touched the very part of me I try not to visit. I don't want to feel the raw emotions that those songs brought out.

I learned, beginning at the side of the road and ending on the bus home, all the reasons I am sad inside all the time. I understood why I avoid places that will make me feel.
I knew at once why I am distant with the boys, why I walk away when H is reading scripture and telling stories to the boys of gospel principles. I know now why I am the way I am.
I started to cry on the bus, I cried myself to sleep, I howled when I woke up, I sobbed when I got to church, I sat in the car and I cried some more, I came home and went to bed and I woke up and am crying again.
The tears are healing the last part of my sadness.
I have spoken to Howard and he held me, I explained what I have been feeling and he corrected me.
I spoke to my dearest friend Jane and she helped me see how things are rather than how I was seeing them, I called my mum and she told me her thoughts.
I have mourned for all the things I can't change. I have accepted that I have made huge mistakes and that as sad as that is, I can't undo them. I can ensure that I don't make them again, I understand that all the things I have been doing, or not doing with the boys are a result of feeling as though I have failed my big children.
I have felt so desperately that I did it all wrong with my older children, especially Sophie, that I had to stay way from the little ones in all things that mattered, I have fed, clothed, kissed, played and I have run away from anything spiritual, I have stood back and allowed H to do all those things that I felt I have failed at.
I never taught Sophie that she is of such infinite worth that she should always treasure who and what she is, I didn't show her that she should stand tall and dare to be different, that all that she is should be celebrated, that no-one deserves to touch her unless he is worthy of her. I didn't help her see that she is priceless and worth more than some scum who tells her what he thinks she wants to hear in order to get what he wants.
I have watched her sell her soul for drugs and while I understand that she chose to do that, I didn't do whatever it took to teach her that this is not ever a path to go down, that drugs and drink are never the answer. How does she not know about prayer and about faith? How did I never show her what really matters?
The answer to all my questions is 'who knows?' What matters is that she is not dead, she is right here and every day, somehow she is moving towards a place where she knows exactly what she is worth. Every day I see more and more that she sees what is important, that she understands she is loved and that she deserves every scrap of real love that comes her way. It is not to late to teach her, to show her, to love her until she gets it, until she knows that she is priceless and worthy of every great and glorious blessing.
It's time to let go of all that sadness and for me to stop hiding from anything that makes me feel any kind of emotion, I know I can give these little boys, with H everything they need, I know that I did everything I knew how to do for my big children. I only have to look at them, all of them, to see that even if I made mistakes, I did a whole load of things right, they are divine, they are happy and well, they are good and upright human beings and I did that.
I deserve to be their mother. That's enough.
I learned all this at the side of the road, was yesterday a wasted day? I say not.
Does the Lord know what we need and how to give that to us? Absolutely.
I know that. That's more than enough.
What a day. Mother's day. Indeed.

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Friday, March 20, 2009


H is a homebird, he doesn't like to go out, occasionally I will ask him if he would like to go and eat lunch and usually he will say 'No', I don't bother asking him if he wants to go out in the evening because that would be a waste of breath.He just doesn't have fun and if someone isn't having fun, well there isn't much point in doing it is there?

So imagine how I felt when today, he came back from dropping the boys at school and said "Hey! I bought tickets for a magic show!" he said it with such joy and was so pleased with himself because LOOK! I used my initiative and I bought TICKETS with my own MONEY and we can all go out as a family!

Good grief.

If there are 2 things I can actually admit to hating, they would be Jazz music and Magic shows.

I don't dislike those 2 things, I actually hate them, right up there with boils and toothache.

What a quandary. Put my foot down in a " MAGIC SHOW? Are you INSANE???? WHAT THE HELL?" kind of way, go for the pained silence, all "*sigh* how lovely, of course I hate magic but we must do family things and so I will go and smile and *sigh* ( which is sort of the route I took, along with a huge headache that would have been an ideal excuse) But he was so pleased with himself and the boys were so ,excited so I went with barely a mention of " How LOVELY! I must remember to have daddy enjoy 2 hours of Celine Dion with me very soon!"

Much excitement at being allowed to park in the playground at school how WICKED!

We got OK seats and we watched the poorly attired clowns terrify toddlers, we greeted Naughty Nathan who seemed to think he would be sitting with us, until we explained that it was the law that children had to sit with their own parents, which was disappointing because we would LOVE to have him sit with us and keep us company for 2 hours while we watched magic, that would have really made the whole evening perfect, so we enjoyed 5 minutes of jumper pulling and face smacking and uproarious gaiety and then sent him back 4 rows to sit with his mother.

At 6.30 on the dot the fun began...I resisted the urge to check the clock until I felt sure there was some hope of it telling me it was time to go home, only to discover that I had only been there for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes.

You know when a 3 or 4 year old has suddenly had enough of life and it flings itself on the floor with a roar of disapproval? When nothing on earth will placate it and you know that this is all going to end badly? That's how I felt. I tried, I really did. I made every effort to force the corners of my mouth to turn upwards and give the impression of how much fun this all was but it didn't work. I texted back and forth with Cathy for a while and I did enjoy 2 minutes when Seth went on stage, he was having fun and that was lovely.

Photobucket the most glorious and heart lifting way, Eli sat with me and he said " Oh I want to go home! It is too loud and I am tired and I want to go home" and my heart sang, I put on my most sincere frowny smile and asked if he meant it ..and he DID he wanted to go home. I was brave and selfless and offered to take him home and then Isaac said " It's 7 o'clock, it's dessert time and I have to go to bed at 8.30 and this won't finish until 8.30pm and I don't want to be here because it is dessert time and this is very loud and can I go home?"
Autism is sometimes a very beautiful thing and you won't find me arguing with routine on a night like tonight.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The glorious thing about blogs.

There are so many great reasons to have a blog, having an on tap therapist is one of them, a screen that allows you to spill it all, say it like it, get it out, an audience who reads and sometimes replies, sometimes just hears, always there.
There isn't ever a time you can't blog, I usually wait until everyone is asleep because I often cry, sometimes laugh, always want to concentrate on the things I want to say. Sometimes I look at the date and I will go back a year, 2 years, see what I was doing then.
I love to see what the boys were doing oh so long ago, look at pictures of them when they were teeny weeny people.
Today I took Sophie to the train station, she was travelling to Bath to meet with Dan who was then driving her to the airport and just making sure she checked in on time for her flight yo Boston.
She was nervous and excited and a bit weepy, she wanted me to check her passport and her ticket and her passport again, she looked very young as I walked away from her, I welled up and I decided that rather than come back to the house while everyone was still asleep, I would go and get the days shopping from Asda. I cried on the way there and I gulped all the way 'round as I picked up dinner for this evening, I was so emotional and weepy and also I was wallowing in the fact that I will really, REALLY miss her.
How quickly time flies, how swiftly things change and as I wandered around an empty Asda I thought about how far Sophie and I have come, how quickly things turned around.

Then I came home and I reread this post

Friday, July 20, 2007
Dearest Sophie.
I. can't. save. you.
I have nothing I can do, nothing to say that you will hear.
I am powerless and I have to step back and watch what you are doing to yourself.
TO YOURSELF.This, my girl is YOUR life. Yours. Amazing that even though I gave you life, even though I was the means of your being here. I cannot live this for you. Would that I could, I wish with every quivering fibre of my being that I could crawl inside you still incredible body and take over. But I can't.
For 18 years I have fought your corner.
I gave birth to you and when, 10 weeks later your dad walked out, it was because of you that I spat such rage. I KNEW that you would somehow grow up feeling that this was your doing, that because this stupid man, and that's all he is, a stupid man, had no vision, because he had absolutely no idea what treasure he had right in front of his eyes, so he walked in search of happiness and treasure.
Stupid, stupid man.He didn't walk from you, he is running from himself. IS he happy Soph? Is he? Did he find what he left for? He's still running.
Your childhood without the daddy you craved was sad for you. Your epilepsy made things difficult. That was then, this is now. Don't let the past wreck the future, don't let disappointments ruin the possibilities. Don't.You have such memories in your head, so different from mine, so filled with belief that you were never loved, that everyone was better than you. No-one is better than you beautiful girl.
When you would clear the playground because you were so in everyone's face, when you couldn't, because you were poorly, learn how to play nicely and have friends, I fought for you. I helped you make friends and you had fun.When your dad would let you down I cried for you.When you were left behind because he would take the boys and not you...I would make up for his loss.
He was the one that missed out sweetheart.
When he made you sad at christmas, I drove 200 miles to get you, I made Christmas, I found Santa and you had magic. I did that because I adore you. You are my girl.
When I stick to what I say, when I tell you how something will be, when I give you a consequence and I stick with it and I have to endure the rages and the screaming and the swearing and the pure hatred, I do that because I love you.
Sophie, I love you.
When you were 5 and you wouldn't sleep, when I was a single mother with 2 little boys who were so hurt and sad and I had you with your epilepsy and all your behavioural issues, when you would come downstairs again and again and again. What did I do? I gave you a choice, you could stay in your room and read a book , listen to your music, play quietly or you could sit in the downstairs bathroom, with the door open but no toys, no company, no books. You screamed for 3 1/2 hours that first night, every 5 minutes I would remind you that you had a choice, your room, with books and music or the toilet. Again and again and again. The next night you screamed for an hour, the 3rd night you came downstairs, looked at me and said " Ok, I will go and read a book" and from that night you stayed in your room and you were happy.
How did that get turned into a memory of being locked in a bathroom while I played with the boys?I would never do anything like that Sophie. I had to teach you to sleep, I had to do something to make sure that I had some time in the evenings to recoup, to recover and be ready to face another day.

For 10 years I was single, I refused to date, I had my friendship with Gary, the one man I had ever really loved. I kept him apart from you mostly because he wasn't free to be with us. When I saw that you adored him that you wanted him to be your daddy, I had to end it, be lonely again and hope that you weren't too damaged. I got that wrong. I'm sorry. He didn't leave you like your dad, he was never ours in the first place. I took what wasn't mine to take and when you do that....well you will always suffer in the end.

When I met H, I was happy. I thought that here was our family, here was the man that you could love and who would be an example to you. I wanted more family, I wanted someone to love- that loved me, I was tired of being alone.I can see how you felt that you were pushed out, you're right you did miss out a bit, going from having my every attention, my constant company to having to learn that I am allowed to love too, that sometimes I can and should have time for me.I had 3 more children, little boys with their own personalities and quirks and needs and blessings. I didn't stop loving you when they were born, not an ounce of your love went to are my only girl, my most precious daughter, my heart. Always.
I made a mistake for those 10 years in allowing you children to believe that my sole purpose was to cater to you.

You are my only girl and such a beautiful one that it's impossible not to marvel at how stunning you are.I am, if I'm honest, a little in awe of your confidence, those same impressive boobs that I had, that I hid and covered and was embarrassed by, well you love yours, you stick those babies out and you hold your head up high.
You appear to be so unafraid by anything and I am afraid of everything.I can see what you think you are hiding though and I know you ARE afraid. I know you are sad and I know that you want the mummy to save you. I cannot do that. If I thought that grabbing you and bringing you home, if I believed that doing that would work, that you would cry and be sorry and want to try something different that WOULD make you happy, in less than a heartbeat I would do it.
Snorting white powder will not make you happy, it will not make your world a better place.
It IS NOT helping you little girl. You look like hell, like a girl who has nothing to live for, who is on the brink of disaster.
I saw you with those people and I died inside a bit. What do yellow skinned, bleary eyed, tattooed 50 year olds want with a beautiful, sad little girl?They want to strip you of everything they lost years ago, they want your soul precious girl. They want you hooked so that you will have to do what they want to keep getting your fix, this happiness you tell me about.
They aren't my darlin' they are the devil in very poor disguise. I would sell my soul and give my heart to save you, to make you see that you are killing yourself.
By letting me 'find out' what you are doing so easily, I hope that means that you don't want to be doing this, that you want to stop, that maybe it is a sad attempt to find something missing. I am ignoring the voices that tell me I am clinging to feeble hopes.I hope that one day you will be a mother that you will hold a child of your own in your arms and know, in an instant what it is to love. I will pray, every day of my life that you will never, ever have to stand back and watch that child destroy her/himself and be powerless to help.I can't save you sweetheart, I can't stop you, I can't make any of this better. I have to wait until you want to change it, until you come to me and tell me that you want it to be different, I have to let you believe that you are on your own, feed you when you are hungry, tell you I love you and hope that one day you believe it.
This is not fun, I am not sitting here in this house happy that you aren't here bothering me anymore.
I am here praying that you won't die today.
I lie awake hoping that you are with safe people, that you ate today, that you are sleeping at Jordan's and that you will wake up soon and want things to change that you will use some ( or all ) of that bloody mindedness to fight these demons and realise that you are of such infinite worth that drugs and drink and men with yellow skin and hooded eyes are not what you need and definitely not what you want.The whole world is at your feet my girl. You are able to be and do and have whatever your heart desires. Nobody can stop you doing the great things you dream of when you think no-one is looking.
You can have it all.IF YOU DO IT FOR YOURSELF.
There is love in buckets waiting for you, people holding their breath waiting for you to come and get it.

I wrote journals in the olden days, in the days before blogs. I wrote so many of them it was hard to carry them. Every time I wrote them I would imagine showing you, as you grew, that I felt what you feel, I thought that I could use them to show you that I was young once, I could prove that as you grew up I wrote how much I loved you, I wrote about all your exploits and the crazy stuff you got up to. You made me laugh and cry every day of your childhood. You were the most stunning baby, white blond hair, chunky thighs and a laugh that was irresistible. I could never go out without people stopping me to tell me how glorious you were.Every one of those journals were lost. Every single one gone on the journey over to America. Every bit of written proof that you are my heart, that since the day I first saw you I was determined that you were going to know what greatness and joy were.Every written memory to show that you ARE loved , that you have never been a reject or an after thought. I am so sad about because it was real and undeniable, you would never be able to yell at me that I have never loved you. All those books.Every picture of that laughing little girl who captivated us all with her naughtiness and joy. Lost, memories of a happy girlie gone forever. No matter that I still have it all in my head and my heart, you don't believe anything I say anymore. I am so sad. I want to thrust them in your face and make you see that you are so WRONG, that you have always been loved and treasured and so valuable to me.
Show you how you laughed all day and how we took endless pictures of that chunky little white haired girl who hid kittens in her backpack and ran away with imaginary friends. That cheeky 3 year old who poured 40 bottles of shampoo and bubble bath, conditioner and toilet cleaner in the bath.the little girl who would ask strangers to be her daddy and bury sleeping holiday makers in the sand. Sweet little girl who kept me on my toes from morning til night and then some.

I saw that you had found my blog. I hope you come back and find this. I hope even more that you believe it.Every word is true. I promise you.

You are so glorious, my heart is breaking to see you looking this way, dull hair, grey skin, dull eyes.
Don't do it Sophie.
Please hear me when I say that I love you but this is something that you have to do for yourself. If you don't learn to love yourself, the real Sophie Alex, if you can't see that you are worth fighting for, worth working for, well the battle is lost. This is up to you and all you have to do is call for me, tell me what you need, show me that you are ready and desperate to help yourself and I will be by your side so fast your head will spin. What I can't do is make it easy for you, the best things in life always come from hard work and are almost always the result of blood sweat and tears.I think of how sheltered my life was, of how I reached 25 without ever having first hand experience of anything that I read about in the news, divorce, child abuse, drugs, homosexuality. None of it of any importance to me because it didn't affect me, not in my world.
Divorce...horrible but not the end of the world, we did it, got through it.

Child abuse....all done. finished, over and beaten. Talked about until I could puke and now the monster is dead.

Drugs...this one was the one that frightened me least, stupid people do drugs, no hopers, my kids aren't stupid and they know how much they are worth, they won't do drugs, not mine. NOT MINE!

Dear God, save my girl.Please send someone or something to show her how precious she is, she won't listen to me, I can't make her see.Please don't make me do this, don't make me watch this child kill herself or lose herself or ruin her life.
Please. Oh Please.I did all that other stuff, I did. I got my boys through the abduction and abuse. I learned that homosexuality isn't the end of my boy being my boy.
I see that a child with disabilities is a blessing and not a curse.I understand that losing my dad isn't the end, that although I miss him I will see him again.
I know that, I do.
I live with the memories and the hurt and the pain of all those things I have lived through and I even manage to see the good that has come through those trials, but this one, please don't make me watch this, because this girl is too precious and I am just not strong enough or clever enough to help her. She needs you to do it and I need you to do it.
And I am begging you to take this one away.
I will live without the material fripperies that I think I long for, I will move house and clean other people's house, I will make do and mend, I will stick with my old car with it's back firing exhaust, I will let this beautiful house go and be grateful for that stinking one with the leaking ceilings but please don't let my girl do this to herself, send in the cavalry, the knight in shining armour, the miracle.
For me and for her.Please help my girl.

Oh my Sophie, you are worth the fight, you are worth the time and effort and energy, I will match everything you give to yourself, but you have to go first. This is your fight Sophie, get your gloves on and stand in your corner,I'll hold your towel and cheer the loudest. I love you. Always, I do. Honestly. Mum xxx

P.S. Message to scumbag people responsible for helping my daughter in anyway to harm herself.She has a brother that is a police officer, a dad ( useless in many ways but handy in some)who is a prison officer, a brother who for some reason, although a gentle giant, has no worries at all about beating the living shit out of people he discovers have hurt his family and she has me. A mother who has vowed and is totally unafraid to kill with her bare hands, anyone who is ever again directly responsible for the abuse or long term suffering of one of her children. Idle threats? Don't try me. When my child is involved my my fears leave me, there will be no head bowing, no scuttling, no hiding and no timidity.Watch and see.

I would never, not in my wildest dreams, back then have believed that in such a short time she could do it, she heard me, if only with her heart and she believed me and she has done it. She is clean and she is happy and she is living a life filled with the things I longed for her to have. She said the other day that she is nearly happy, she remembers so clearly how desperately sad she was, how hopeless she felt and she sees and feels the difference and I hope she can see that the things I promised her are coming true, I hope she sees that the very day she came to me, when she lay on the floor and she howled how she couldn't live that way anymore, when I knew she meant it and I made her promise to be obedient to listen and do what I asked her to do, when she promised that and she kept her promise, I hope she sees that I have kept mine, that I have done everything I can to help her.

I love having her here, I will miss her for 10 days and I will love every second she is away having fun.
I believe that she has come far enough that she won't go back to where she was. I still don't take any of it for granted there is still such a thrill when I see a new step she has taken.
I have been frantically checking her flight status all day, she is due to land in about 90 minutes, then she can start her 10 days of fun with Cathy and George. I can relax when I know she is with Cathy and on firm ground again.

I believe in miracles, I am sure that prayers are heard and answered. I am totally convinced that when we do our part the Lord will do the rest for us and with us.
I am so glad I know these things.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

See, here's the thing...

You know how sometimes you don't want something, until someone says you can't have it and then you're all "LET ME HAVE THAT!" ? Yes. Every day I have thought of something to write on my blog that I am not writing anymore because I am SO over it. The first day I was really quite happy to not think about blogging and bask in the glorious feeling of not having to try and be entertaining and funny and thought provoking and witty. ( Because I am all those things all the the time on my blog, I AM!)
Then I would see or hear something funny or think of something profound ( heh!) and immediately want to come here and share it, write it down so that I can look back in years to come and remember. Like Elijah at the grand old age of 5 years and 7 months announcing with HUGE pride and such surprise that "Hey!! Guess what! I actually pulled a bogie RIGHT OUT OF MY NOSE!" Like he hadn't a clue where they had been coming from his whole life.
I would think about how I would word it and then remember that I wasn't doing that anymore...darn it.
I am incredibly intolerant of people who announce they are leaving message boards or make a big song and dance about how they won't be doing THIS anymore because they are too important and have a life to live and THIS is all so beneath them they say I AM LEAVING and we all say "Please don't" and they don't reply although we all know they are refreshing every 3 minutes to see who is saying don't go....and then they come back.

Hello! I'm back!

I am having a lovely time being busy. I have weeded and scrubbed, painted and shopped, I have walked and shopped and painted some more. I have planned and breathed in fresh air and I have missed boring the life out of anyone who comes by to see, in painful detail, everything I have done. I admit it, I heart blogging. I do also admit that I don't want to feel I must do it every day though, a happy medium is on the horizon, for heaven's sake why didn't I think of THAT earlier?

I am so excited at the thought of spring being right around the corner. We have had a few days of brighter sunshine, still a little cold but to have sunshine when I wake and bright clear skies, to have been able to be outside and clean the front of the house, weed out the tubs, get things ready for flowers and beautiful things...oh my heart sings! I have even checked out the long term weather forecast to discover promises of a spring so splendid we will soon forget the long and colder that ever winter we have endured. I feel I am coming alive and every day is filled with doing little things to make life more enjoyable. I am beginning to love this house, walking in to the smell of new paint, seeing the changes taking place.....wonderful.

Sophie is flying to Boston on wednesday, I was so looking forward to feeling smug at not having to fly, I was so sure I would be so happy to be staying on solid ground...but here I am every bit as nervous at the idea of her flying alone, I may as well have gone as well! I know she will be fine, Dan is taking her to the airport and will help her do all the confusing check in palaver, then Cathy will be right there to welcome her at the other end, all she has to do is wait for 3 hours in the airport and find the right gate, I know she can do that because she was the one that found where we had to go in December. She is also completely unafraid to ask if she does get lost. The thing is I am so afraid of flying that I am even afraid when one of my children is about to do it, with Dan I never ask what time his flights are so I can't actually sit wondering where he is and if he is on the plane yet, with Sophie I DO know....gah.
I am so excited for her, I am honestly not at all envious, I do love to shop in the states but I don't have the money this time anyway so she is going with a list and enough cash from me to pick up those things we would hate to live without. We shall look forward to her returning and our cupboards being replenished once more with all our favourite things.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall as Cathy sees the changes in my girl, everywhere I go I hear from people how different she is, how happy she looks, how well she seems. I hear every single day from people that have seen her at work and how their day is brightened by her yelling with delight at seeing them, she gets away with leaping up from her cash register to greet friends and family, people smile when she yells halfway down the store as she sees someone she knows. This week she came home from work with a letter from head office, someone had written in and said that Sophie was the most delightful person ever encountered, saying that she had played with the customers children, allowed them to scan some items, had been cheerful and friendly, the general manager praised her and told her she was exactly the kind of person they want working for them.
What a change from this time last year when we couldn't ever imagine a time when she would be happy..when we were even sure that she wouldn't survive much longer.
Life can be so good and when I look at this child of mine, who is so loud and so outrageous, I am so thrilled that she is so happy, that she has beaten such demons. I am so excited for her to have fun in Boston...I am sure we will see pictures and updates every day on face book, she has the flashiest new pink camera from her other mum in Boston, she will take a million pictures while she is away and I will look at every one when she gets home.
This house will be very quiet and empty while she is gone ( which isn't necessarily an awful thing!) She is my friend. At last.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Maybe tomorrow....probably not.

I had such plans for my blog today, I was going to do a double post, one for Sophie because she is 20 today and one for my dad, because he died 3 years ago today.
I can't do it though, not today, I find I am so emotional that words fail me. I forgot about my dad at first and Sophie was the center of our attention, which is exactly how it should be and at 11am I remembered my dad and then I spent all day remembering.
I feel so bad that I can ever forget and it feels so disloyal to be living and forgetting.
I know that he would only ever want us to be happy and it is testament to him and my mum that we are all so able to enjoy our lives.
Today seems harder than the other anniversaries and I have no idea why, sometimes we should perhaps not reason why and just accept that these things are what they are.
I have been thinking about my blog a lot too, I think I am bored with it. I think it may have served it's purpose and the time may be coming where I put it away and let it go. More and more I find I am trying to think about what would be entertaining and that's a load of crap really isn't it?
I know people read it because I check the google stat thing, I like thinking of people reading and the whole point of writing was to get what I feel out and share it with people to make myself feel better.
Now though, I see who is reading and I really feel annoyed.
I see EXACTLY who reads my blog and to be truthful, I don't like what I see.
I find I change what I want to write, I stop myself saying what I want to say, I censor and debate with myself. It's not fun here anymore.
Maybe I have changed. I know I have changed, I started this blog years ago when I needed get out the darkest and saddest things, as time has passed I have left so much behind me, the blog became almost a social thing, meeting people and reading their blogs, learning about new people. That's all over now too, maybe this blog has served it's purpose, I do find more and more that I force myself to write here, it used to be that whatever I did in my day, I would think about how I would describe it here, it has been better than therapy for me, if anything was sad or tough, thinking of how I would write about it, what parts I would share, how I would describe how I felt etc, well that almost made it impersonal, easy to deal with, second hand, not raw and painful.
I swear that anyone with any kind of issues should write a blog.
Now though, I have changed, I feel less need to seperate myself from what I am living. Writing here is a way to entertain, I find myself dragging the bottom of the barrel in order to find anything worth saying....which is all far too much like hard work for no reward for my liking.
How weird that I came here to say I had nothing to say and without thinking about it, worked out that really, I have lots to say, I just don't really want to say it here anymore.
It's a little strange to admit that actually nothing online is as exciting or necessary to me at the moment.
I love being in touch with my friends and the internet is the only way to do that, the thing is most all of my friends are so far away, a 7 hour flight is the shortest way to be with them and it just isn't practical to even pretend that is possible. I did it twice last year and enjoyed every second, I met some beautiful people, I had more fun than I can explain. It's just that I am a wife, mother of 6, a grandma, my life is here and leaving it all behind purely to please myself is absurd. So more and more I feel as though I need to change what I do, that I need to put more of who I am and what I have to give to my family, to people who need me. Time is so precious and I waste so much of it in unproductive pursuits.
I don't think for a moment that any time I have spent online until now has been wasted, the support and friendships that have come my way because of this little box are priceless, I wouldn't be without them for the world. I just think that now, from here, things need to change. I want to feel as though I am making a difference and doing good and lately I don't feel that.
I might just need a break, maybe I will write a blog that is just for me on a daily basis and sometimes, when there is something worth sharing, I'll come here and share it.
I have so much to do, I am going to give myself time to do it and then, when I am satisfied that I am tackling real life, tangible goals, I can come back.
I just know that at the moment I feel disgruntled with the internet and it's not the poor internets fault, I love the internet, it gave me H, marvellous internet. I shall give it a break and give me a break, indulge in real life and touchable things and then I hope I will come back and play with my imaginary friends again.
I love you my imaginary friends.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All my children.

Dan came back from New York last night and this morning, he drove down to see us.
I love having Dan here, the boys adore having him around and when he is here, life is very loud, very busy and hysterical.
My children, especially the boys, have exceptionally loud voices, they don't speak, they BOOM, they don't whisper they BELLOW. Daniel's voice in particular is ear bustingly loud, you can hear him as he walks up the street, know he will be here soon, long before you can see him.
The boys were at school and so we decided that we would go out for Sophie's birthday lunch, she is 20 tomorrow ( oh no more teenagers, how I shall miss that.) Jordan will be at work so we went today.
We stopped to get petrol in my car first, as I was filling up I saw Dan go into the service station and walk up to the register. I followed him in and saw him point at my car.....he had already paid for my petrol, the lady behind the till said " Awwwwww, oh that is SO lovely! I can't believe he did that, I hope my son does things like that for me one day, I am going to tell him about this when I get home, drop some hints....that has made my day, seeing someone do that for his mum. The ladies were all ahhhhhing and how lovelying together as we walked out." He is a good boy and a very loud one at that.
We got to the restaurant and sat down, surrounded by diners who arrived before us, we had a long table with Joshua sitting in between Dan and Jordan, Sophie, Mel and I were on the other side of the table.
The waitress came and asked what drinks we would like, now the whole time we were sitting there is always banter, Jordan and Daniel are like verbal ping pong, they bounce hysterical quips at each other constantly, they find each other gust bustingly funny and they laugh, all the time ( very very loudly) This sweet girl asked us what we would like and when it came to Jordan he asked for a shandy ( beer and lemonade) Daniel, ever tactful bellowed "Good God Jordan, SHANDY? Where you going to put that next to your tampons?"
I was horrified and said "DANIEL! Please, behave" to which Jordan replied "Yes Daniel, shut up! And anyway I use panty liners!"
I didn't know what to do, the waitress nearly burst her face trying not to laugh, perhaps you had to be there and you certainly have to experience the way they are together to see that they somehow manage to make even the most uncouth things hysterical.
I apologised as we left and hope one day to be able to return.
Some pictures...

Let me has your shandy daddy, I want to have it!

Remember when we used to read picture books to 9 month old babies? You tube clips on iPods don't seem the same do they?

He is beloved this baby.

These 2 have a special bond, it warms my heart every time I see them together.



The boys are never without some real rough play when their big brothers are about.



No pictures of Sophie because she was sulking in the car. Always one isn't there?

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Sunday, March 08, 2009


Yesterdays post, on reflection made me too uncomfortable to leave as a public post, I have saved it because it is mine, it was raw and very true but maybe that kind of thing should be kept to myself. Sophie has come so far, she is no longer that rage filled girl and putting such a post out there was unfair to her, it brought back the very worst of memories and those are the kind that should stay private.

I think because she has come so far, it is on my mind more and more how far we have come as a mother and daughter, I really did, for many years hold onto a hope that she would somehow stay alive and live somewhere else, hoping that she could somehow manage to just get by with people, be able to live without constant battles with everyone. There isn't a day goes by that I'm not thrilled that she is so happy, funny, delightful and safe...and that we are friends. Occasionally we have a day where she drives me to distraction, we had one of those days this week, but these days, any spats are so normal, so ordinary so quickly over. Thank heavens.

She is 20 on wednesday, no longer a teenager, I am more giddy about that than I can say. I don't enjoy the teenage years, at all, I don't see any humour in it, I am endlessly frustrated by the drama, the angst, the tantrums that leave 2 year olds looking lame.
I don't suppose that a birthday, a mere change of numbers will change anything but the way I feel about it, NO TEENAGERS IN MY HOUSE ! WHOOHOO!
A mere 4 1/2 years respite until Seth hits his teens, I am banking on being slightly senile by then, hoping that I will find it all a hoot and be so far past caring that it will all pass me by in an old lady fog.

I am thrilled also to announce that I am in a decorating whirl, I predict that in a month or so I will be a bit show offy about this house, I love the fact that it smells of fresh paint, I love that I have a purpose and a plan for each day and I am so excited to be back on the house proud wagon. Any day now I will even start letting people past the front door. Glorious.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Welcome back!

In my adult life, since I left home, I have had 23 homes. From a humble room in a nurses home to a converted barn on an acre of land.
22 of those homes I made beautiful, even the devils house with fauna and flora growing out of the floors and walls and the black mist of misery that was seeping through the walls, I made each and every one ( though I say so myself) look and feel like somewhere people wanted to be. It was easy, I have always loved having homes that people walk into and gasp. Not because they are filled with expensive designer furniture or because everything matches, mainly because I have an eye for a bargain and somehow it falls together and works. I taught myself to sew and make things and I have always had such pride in where I live, it has always been my 'thing' my joy.
And then we moved here.
3 moves in 7 months pretty much wiped out every drop of house pride I may have had.
We moved here 14 months ago, the day after we moved in ( and I was so excited to be here) I stripped the olive green and mustard wallpaper off the walls in the tiny toilet room...and that has pretty much been the extent of my home making here.
Coincidentally, as I just typed that this is my 23rd home, I laughed as the house number is 23.
When I stripped the wallpaper off the toilet walls, I did paint the woodwork, the paint was cheap though and the deep and disturbing moss green paint that was there before showed through and my heart wasn't in it at all. I painted the top part of the walls a lovely deep beige colour and left the bottom half ready to repaper them, I bought some lovely paper and I put it in the workshop. It has been there ever since.
Until last night. At midnight, I suddenly wanted, more than anything to finish that room, so I did.
It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to transform that little room. This evening I repainted the woodwork, bye bye green stripey cheap paint, hello beautiful clean white.
I can't tell you what a difference it has made to how I feel about this house. I can feel the old love for the walls I live within creeping back in.


Today, I drove to see my friend who is moving to Australia, she is such a home bird and like me she loves where she lives, she moved back to Devon 18 months ago and has been living in paradise, in a beautiful farmhouse, in the middle of nowhere, raising chickens, riding horses, basking in her dream life. I have never been to her home because it is quite a long way away and life gets in the way. I went today because I wanted to see her before she left, I knew how hard she was finding the whole idea of leaving to live so far away, her husband has already left and is in Australia, setting up a new home for them and soaking up the sunshine.
If there is one thing I know how to do, it is clean a house to leave it beautiful for the next people who live there.
This year I made the decision with H that I was going to build a store cupboard, not just a full pantry but a real store of everything we need. We are advised in the church to always have a good store, if possible a years supply of the things your family will need so that in times of turmoil, poverty of even disaster you can provide for your family.
Last year I felt strongly that we should have a store cupboard and I ignored my feelings and spent a lot of money on was great, I went to Boston twice and actually I think that doing that saved me, it saved me from sinking so far into a pit of no return. I remembered what fun was, I learned that I am not a hideous waste of life and I got me some of me back.
When I came home in December, unable to completely shake the feeling that I had put what I wanted before what I felt our family needed, I decided and I promised that this year I would stay home and do what my heart was telling me.
I am never surprised but always delighted by how, when I make a decision that is right for me or mine, everything falls into place. I'm not saying that the fairies drop it all in my lap but I am almost always able to do what I plan to do.
So, long winded but I get there eventually... when I heard that Alex was moving so far away, I emailed her and asked her if she has a store cupboard ( because she is very like me and I knew the chances would be pretty great) and if she would sell it to me.
She replied and said that she had a few sacks of rice ( which is what H lives on, you have no idea how much rice the man eats in a month, no potatoes, little bread, hardly any pasta but rice with everything) and also she said she might have a few packets of things. Hooray!
Then last week she emailed and said that she had wicker baskets, she loves them and she wasn't allowed to take them with her because of termites..did I want them?
I don't think a home can ever have too much wood, wicker or tupperware.
So, Sophie and I drove the 60 miles or so to Alex's house ( without getting lost I might add) and we left our house in the cold morning, icy wind shield but bright and cold morning, we drove 30 miles or so into thick snow, real wintry Christmas card weather, the snow had obviously been settled for a while and we really loved seeing the moors all covered in the hated white stuff.
We drove for 30 minutes or so through the snow and wondered if we were going to be in trouble right out in the wilds.....we drove around a few bends and suddenly there wasn't any snow, gone, all of it. It was quite extraordinary, beautiful bright, warm day.
Alex's house is the stuff of chocolate boxes and dreams.
Huge gardens, slate floors, old, battered wooden doors and window frames, tiny panes of glass, latched instead of door handles. Complete and utter heaven, if I had enough money I would live there in a heartbeat. The rent is only £300 a month more than this little terraced house with no garden and it is idyllic. It is not for us though not now anyway.
Sophie sat on one of the tree swings in the sun when we had finished cleaning and packing and she said she could feel herself breathing and feeling real happiness. Divine.
So, Alex was out when we got there but the doors were open so we let ourselves in and set to, cleaning and washing and walking through the house imagining it was ours.
When Alex came back she showed us around the grounds and in the garage and the sheds she pointed to piles of stuff and said " that's for you, you can take that, this is for you and look, the movers left all this stuff, if you see it, you can have it. I am flying tomorrow, none of this is coming, take what you want, I have to go and deal with a pile of stuff that still isn't done....and she left again to see if she could sell her car!"
I have no idea how we got all that stuff home! We didn't actually, another lady arrived and we helped her load beds and a TV, DVD player, wardrobes, shelving units, bedside tables and more into her car and outside while she waited for backup transport to take even more.
We piled sacks of rice, buckets of honey, tins and bottles, more wicker baskets than I ever dreamed I would own, a fabulous rug for the front room, electrical leads, more baskets, more food, bags of pasta, half a drug store, ornaments, beautiful wooden candle holders, more food, packets and jars, storage jars, shampoos, shower gel, soaps and well, our kitchen and front room were piled high and we have still a lot of work to do tomorrow to organise it all.
She wouldn't take any money for any of it and I don't feel we did nearly enough cleaning to make me feel as if we earned it. I am so glad Sophie came with me, she really worked hard and helped a huge amount, when we left the house was lovely and clean, smelled beautiful and I hope Alex was able to just shut the door and walk away as she sobbed at what she has left behind.
She is so scared of this huge step but I am so proud of her for taking it, for following her husband and letting him live his dream and I am pretty sure that when she gets there, when she feels the sun and walks along the beaches that are close to her new home, she will be happy. If she isn't, she can come home.
The best thing about the last two days has been the total change in how I feel.
I have hardly thought about eating, I have been eager to get out and do things.
Oh it feels so good to feel like me again. It has been a very long time since I felt anywhere close to this.
I think I will have to act quickly and get as much done in this house in case it leaves is great to feel a positive feeling for this house, I have always known it could be wonderful, I just haven't had even a spark of interest in doing it. A few wicker baskets and some organised shelves and suddenly the Martha Stewart in me is raring to go. Praise be.
My mum hasn't even been here since I showed her around 2 days before we moved in. Not many people have been here, we are usually such hospitable people H and I, we love to invite people to eat with us and share our home with people, not in this house though. How wonderful it would be to enjoy that again. Without it being hard work. It 's awful to think of doing something and then being overwhelmed with how bloody hard it all is, how weary it all makes me feel, oh it's all just to much. Ptttthhhhhhhhhhhh.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I could, so easily but I try not to.

Take so many things for granted that is.

I was waiting for the boys outside school today and the heavens opened, when it rains, it pours as they say and never a truer word said than when discussing rain in England.

See what I mean? That was rain pouring down the windows of the car and I felt so grateful to be sitting in the car, warm and dry when so many were having to walk to get their children.

Poor lady!!

Don't you just love hearing heavy rain when you aren't out in it?


Sunday, March 01, 2009

A picture paints.....

I think, this is what I need to do...
This is last year, June...



This was today, Isaac has developed a fascination for SLR digital cameras, he played with mine all day today and no-one was safe, even with scraped back greasy hair and no make up....he was snap happy! I am he did take it because although I don't look glamorous, I DO look smaller and for that I am very grateful. I think I can keep doing it.


Strange day today, both H and I are definitely under the weather and trying to take turns sleeping it off. It's so great to be able to sleep when we need to but I have had some bizarre dreams, my joint ache a lot and when I do sleep I dream things like we are moving house and we went to look around a house that had no stairs or steps and was built high into a cliff ( !!) My mum came with us to look and we had to climb about 80ft up a sheer cliff face by climbing up a clothes airer that was nailed to the cliff. My shoulders were hurting so much! I woke up and my shoulders really were hurting...stupid virusy hurting thing!

Isaac had my big camera, so Eli wanted the point and shoot, they took some pretty great pictures, although they did in fact incriminate themselves when it came to downloading them.

Hey cool shot, how did you do that arty shot Isaac?

OH! By climbing up on the ROOF!!

Hey! How did I get up here?

Caught and saved by Daddy.

Isaac, by Elijah.

Elijah by Isaac.

They also took a gazillion pictures of Spongebob on the TV, the complete and utter destruction that is a house with 2 sickly parents and 3 lively boys and several very unflattering pictures of afore mentioned sickly parents.