What I see and what I think about it.

Friday, 29 February 2008

While I am busying...

I am a bit busy at the moment writing a long(ish) post which is taking some thought. Which is why my rambling have been a bit sparse. Don't worry, all will be revealed in a few days.

In the mean time if you are missing having a blog to read can I recommend you take a look at this one http://www.cfhusband.blogspot.com . It is written by a guy in America (don't hold it against him!) called Nathan. He is married to Tricia who has Cystic Fibrosis. She was about to go on the double lung transplant list when they found out she was pregnant. With the odds of either of them surviving being slim they trusted in God and went ahead with the pregnancy. Their daughter, Gwyneth Rose, was born at 25 weeks on the 8th of Jan, by emergancy C-section. She is a fighter and is doing well. Tricia just survived and has been up and down. She is fighter too. She is now sick/well enough to go back on the transplant list. They are just waiting for her new lungs now.
It sounds like a depressing story. But Nathan writes full of hope, humour and trust in God. It is a bit like a guy in the pub talking to you. I warn you though.... this blog is addictive. On the main page there is bit on the right which links to a post which says a bit about them. It is worth starting there.

Even if you don't check out this blog do please quickly pause now and send up a prayer for this family. They have really touched my heart.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Domestic bliss

I wish you had been in my house this morning (that isn't just so that you could have done my ironing for me, while I sat with my feet up.) It was so you could have watched the scene that unfolded as I did the aforementioned ironing.

I swap toys around from upstairs to downstairs and vise versa. So today I brought our kitchen and kitchen things downstairs.
I left it all out for Tilly to play with whilst I did the ironing. I have never witnessed such industriousness. She pottered about so happily, chatting away. She cooked all sorts of things for me to try (some included Duplo men which had also come downstairs). Made me countless cups of tea. But most endearing of all was that she got a cushion from the sofa, sat Wilbur (her most beloved teddy) on it and loving fed and watered him. He got to try every dish. He got Duplo men to play with. He got hugs and kisses. He even got given more tea than me. Once she bumped her head (not very hard) and she got Wilbur to kiss it better.
She really is a little homemaker in the making. She delighted my heart and made my boring ironing a pleasure because I got to watch her. I hope that is love of homemaking grows and that I can help it to do that. Although when she gets to cook for real I will discourage her from using small plastic men in her recipes.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Some things about me

I got an email from a friend. It is various questions about you when you then forward on to people and you get to learn a little about people. I thought I would post my answers here. You will notice that I have taken out some of the questions this is because they are about the fact that it is a forwarding email thing.

on Friday.When I had to leave the girls for the weekend
parma ham (can't eat it at the mo though)
Yes, two Martha (3) Tilly (1). oh, and one in progess
Hopefully. It depend if I was nice or not!
not really, pre-school children don't get it
No. And I am glad
Even without being pregnant the answer would be NO WAY
Don't really have one. I like rice crispies because you can also use them to make crispie cakes
No, then I am cross when I come to put them on.
Physically? well i have given birth naturally twice, that aside not really. Emotionaly? Depends how pregnant I am. Spiritually? Yes
YES. YES, YES. Jesus went and came back and went again. can't wait.
Ben and Jerry's Phish food
Their eyes or their hands
Pink (I am the mother of two girls)
My profile
Jo Wakia in Africa. Every day.
Not wearing either at the moment - I am wearing other things though
If you don't count toothpaste...A fox's crunchy cream biscuit.
The computer hum and waiting for "MUMMY"
Dark purple
Washing that had dried outside, my children when they have just woken up.
My mother. for our daily check up
Show jumping and dressage
Green-grey depending on mood
At the moment blood oranges - this baby can't get enough of them
Happy endings every time
I think it was Notting Hill
Red maternity top
depends what sort
Lemon Meringue Pie (yet another food I can't have till this baby come out)
Agatha Rasin by BC Beaton. Meant to be reading Spot of Bother for book club
Don't have one
Don't have one.
Yes. When I am not pregnant - I can sit with my knees to my chest and my heels touching my bottom without holding my legs there (go on try it). I can also fold a terry toweling nappy (like your mum used to use)
St. Albans Hospital

Monday, 25 February 2008

Memo from God

This was on a prayer card at the back of church:

"I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life happens to deliver a situation that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (Something For God To Do) box. It will be addressed in my time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it or remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem. If it a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure it is the proper resolution. Because I do not sleep or slumber, there is no need for you to lose sleep. Rest my child. If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away."

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Praying with colour

These are the pictures that I did while I was at Turvey. They each go with a verse that struck me. I used that verse to pray and kept bringing it to mind when I was drawing. They were all drawn in a book which is why they have scanned in a bit wobbly in places. There is one missing that I haven't done yet. I will add it here but post about it above so you can have another look. I will write the phrase that they are based on before each one.
On desert Paths

Your sins are as scarlet

He welcomes sinners

I shall be waiting for you

The hour of favour has come

If only you knew

My retreat

I have had a great weekend away at Turvey Abbey. (You can google it) It is a Catholic Benedictine convent and monastery. I went to a silent, lead retreat called: On desert Paths. It was themed around Lent.

It was silent in the fact that you didn't have to talk to anyone else. (There were 10 of us there.) But if you want the jam then you ask for it quietly. It makes you thin about what you say. It means that you can spend time with God and not feel obliged to chat to people. For someone who is not good at small talk this was great.

It was lead in the fact that we had 5 sessions as a group, each for about an hour. These were lead meditation/contemplations on passages in the bible. Sister J (who was simply lovely) led these. We did something called Lectio Devina! In a nutshell - you read a passage, pick out a word of phrase that strikes you, ponder it over and over, and let God speak to you through it. We heard each passage read out loud twice and watched a power point with nice pictures to go along with it. There was a gap between each reading of about 5 - 10 mins. At the end we all wrote the phrase which we had been contemplating on a piece of paper and put it in the middle, reading it aloud.

There were also all the chapel services which we could go to if we wanted to. The first was at 6.10am (that is right - AM). I decided to try and go to all of them (I'm not sure why - I guess for my retreat it was part of the experience). And I managed. I was a couple of minutes late for the one at 6.10 as I only got out of bed at 6.05!

So the day was mainly filled with those two things. We also eat lots of delicious food (in silence) and had time to pray, create pictures, and explore the surrounding area. The grounds surrounding the convent and the building themselves were beautiful. It was a very peaceful place to be. The nun's made us feel very welcome. It was a lovely place and a lovely time. I do hope to go back.

Lessons that I hope won't retreat!

These are the main things I have learnt over my weekend away. They are in no particular order and I reserve the right to add to them at any time!

Quiet - There is really power in being quiet. It made me realise that so much of what we say isn't needed. There has to be balance of course, but I think that I need to think before speaking. This is particularly true when in "discussion" with Martha. I need to be quieter, not louder. There is real power in that.

Interruption - At Turvey they have 5 services a day. On top of that we had 5 meditation sessions over the weekend and meals etc. Every time you get into something you had to stop and go into a service or a group session or eat something. Sister J says the 5 services can be like a constant interruption. But that is why they are necessary. They bring you back to what is important. Why you are there.
I was walking in the garden on Saturday and said to God: I came here to get away from interruption and I am constantly being interrupted. God said: I know. It has to be like your life or you won't learn how to take the lesson back with you. I said: Damn! But, as ever, God was right. I have to find the moments to meet with him in my everyday life. If I am interrupted then that is fine. It is ok. God will be waiting for the next moment. And it reminded me that He is in all the moments. Whether I am focusing on him or not.

To be in both places - I felt a bit mean leaving Nick and the girls to go off by myself. On the Friday night in chapel I realised that I needed to be there, sitting with Jesus, in order to be able to do what he wants me to do in the rest of my life. In those moments (sometimes weekends) is when I get the strength I need to do the other things. And they are not selfish but vitally important.

Different ways of praying - We were encouraged to use colour in our prayers. You think of a piece of Scripture and draw with what ever colour comes to mind. This is a form of prayer that I have been doing for a while in various ways but have always felt is a bit silly. It was great having it put forward. It is a great way of letting the word sink into you. I drew various pictures over the weekend which will appear in another post (as long as they scan in ok!)
There are lots of different types of prayer. They all have a place and they are all good. Try them out. See what works. And remember that different things suit a certain season.

As you can see I brought a lot back with me. I hope that I will be able to carry some of this into my daily life. But I do know that it was not in vain and God really used this time. I hope to go back there soon (well once can leave the tummy tot!)

Friday, 22 February 2008

Another lesson learnt

Martha was very tired the other evening. She had got to the point where everything was wrong and she couldn't do a thing about it. Apart from go to bed, which she didn’t want to do. So in her most 3 year old way she said to me:
"You're not my friend any more!"
"Well, you are always my friend, and I will always love you, Martha."

It didn't sink in to her then (although after a good nights sleep she declared me her friend again). But it struck me. How often so I say this to God. In all sorts of ways. In the use of my time. In my actions, the way I treat others. In the way I ignore Him until it is 4.30pm and the girls are driving me mad and I call upon the whole of heaven to "please help!"
The lesson I learnt is that, like me with Martha, God is always my friend. He will always be there waiting for me to come back to him. Waiting to listen, comfort, advise, correct and guide. All I need to do it stop and turn to him.

I am hoping to do this for the next few days. I am going away to a convent on retreat. (This is why you won't hear much from me till Monday). There I hope to sit on God's lap and gain insight and re-freshment, all ready for the next bit of life.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

The flowers on my window sill

My husband is a lovely man and he loves me very much. He shows me this in many ways. He does not show me this by buying me flowers. I have come to terms with this and see his love in other things. But it does mean I am flowerless.... until now....

I realised that I can buy myself flowers now and then. It is strange that it has taken this long to realise this simple truth. Flowers bought for myself still count. They are still just as nice. They remind me that I am loved. By many people. I don't buy expensive ones (at the moment it is a small bunch of daffodils). I put them on my kitchen window sill. Our kitchen faces the wrong way and gets no sunlight so it can be a bit dreary. But now when I go in, or I am doing the washing up, there they are looking cheery and bright. A little bit of sunshine in my kitchen. They make me smile.

So if you don't have anyone to buy flowers for you. (Or someone who just doesn't show love that way). Don't despair. Go out and buy your own. Put them somewhere you see a lot. And every time you look at them, remember the God who made them and say "I am loved".

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

An outing and a bit of an advert!

A few weeks ago we went on a family outing to Hatfield Forest. This is a really old forest that is preserved by using ancient coppacing techniques. This is great as it lets trees died naturally and be a home to millions of lovely insects. Here are some pictures of the day.

As you can see it was a cold day and not really picnic weather. But that didn't stop us! Luckily, there is a little place that sells tea and food, so Nick and I hugged cups of tea and tried to stay warm. The girls didn't seem to care, they were too busy pulling silly faces for the camera!

It was very muddy everywhere both of the girls delighted in being able to trap about in it. Tilly loved the squeechy noises.

Both the girls have the most amazing Waterproof dungerees. When you have small children you get used to strangers talking to you. It started when Martha was new-born, then went onto her fantastic curly hair, the fact that I use cloth nappies, and put Tilly in a sling. Now whenever someone comes up to me it is always about there trousers. Martha's (as you can see) are red and Tilly's yellow. They are made by Rukka in Finland by people who know about dressing for harsh weather. They aren't silly Mac material but proper waterproof, windproof, anything proof fabric. (If you go sailing then think of oilskins.) They go in the washing machine. Because they are dungerees you can by then huge and just keep making them bigger. They have straps to go over wellies to keep them pulled down. And they have revolutionised my life. Suddenly outside in winter is an option. Because you just bung them over what ever they are wearing and they stay warm and dry inside. I saw so many people at Hatfield forest (and elsewhere) spending their time telling their children to stay out of the mud, not roll around on the grass etc. and all they need is these trousers and the stress would be gone. Instead of ending up with a cross mummy because of very dirty clothes and a grumpy child who is wet and soggy, everyone is happy.

Advert over.

We had a great day. It was lots of fun and nice to just be together as a family.

Monday, 18 February 2008

The apple hasn't fallen far.

I know that people will disagree but I have a theory that Martha looks like Nick but is like me. And Tilly looks like me but is like Nick. As demonstrated in the following story:

We had come in from somewhere and Martha had gone into the living room, taken her shoes off and dumped them. In our house shoes live on a nice rack by the front door. This way you know where they are and you don't spend your life tripping over small shoes.

“Martha can you put your shoes away please?"

Pause where the cogs in her brain whirr (I really could hear them!)

"Tilly, you put my shoes (a)way please?"
Tilly picks up the shoes and walks quite happily to the rack and put them away.

Stunned (and slightly impressed) silence from me!

I would like to add that I have, particularly since having the girls, worked very hard to overcome this ... ability, shall we say... of getting away with being lazy! But for Martha the slippery slope of turning into her mother has come early!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Just so you know...

We have got some friends coming to stay for a few days so I might not get a chance to post much. On the other hand they might provide me with lots of anecdotes! Just didn't want you to think I had vanished without trace or was trapped under something heavy.

Two things before I go to bed though:

One - The girls wanted to sleep in the same bed tonight. Martha had got Tilly’s bear (Wilbur) and had tucked them. It was so cute to see them all snuggled up, heads together on one pillow. I am really pleased that they like each other a lot. And pray like mad that it will continue all their lives.
Two- I want to make a very public thank you to my lovely husband who is at this very moment cleaning out the fish. This is a job that he doesn’t really like but he has done it faithfully for the last 2 years now. Thank you Nick. You are great.

Night night.

Lord, give me patience. Make it quick!

It has been a hard few days with the girls. They both have colds. Tilly's is mainly moaning and drippy nose based. Martha's consists of a really dry horrid cough. This normally appears in the evening and in the morning. She has been a bit sick from coughing once and so we are trying to prevent it happening again. (There is only so much washing I can cope with!)

The last 2 days she has been up at 5 AM coughing. In case you didn't know, there is about 3 hours between 5.50am and 6.10am. I don't know how some people get up at 5. It just seems wrong. I see that number on the clock and I think.... NO! It is time for more sleep.
Anyway. I have been awake since 5 this morning. Martha coughed on and off for about an hour and did finally go back to sleep for a little bit (till 6.30am). But I didn't really. So the day started off tired.

Tilly has been really moany. She just wants to be held. And by Daddy. Not Mummy. Daddy. (I'm really looking forward to tomorrow!) She really didn't want to go down for her nap today. I was trying to get a bit of sleep so I would function for the rest of the day and Nick was hoovering out the car. I just wanted her to stop shouting and GO TO SLEEP. I was so cross and tired. It felt so unfair. I went in and accidentally trod in a tiny bit of sick from all her coughing. Which really improved my sate of mind! And Tilly just looked ... damp. And wretched. And I realised that underneath all my crossness and tiredness there was love. Lots and lots of love. I just had to stop look underneath all the grumpiness and there it was, all the time.

My children drive me mad some days. And we have had a few recently. But I love them in such an overwhelming way. All I needed to do was pay attention to the love and not to the black cloud over my head and their un-reasonable behaviour (although still un-reasonable) was bearable.

God pointed out to me that this season in my children's lives is designed to teach me, not them, patience. (Their turn comes later.) And like all things worth learning this takes time. And struggle. And bad days. And good days. Success and failure. I will get there in the end.

And then I will be in the perfect position to teach them. I look forward to that. That and making them get up at stupidly early hours when they don’t want to!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

A lenten rant

We are in the season of Lent.

In case you don't know what that is: it is the 40 days before Easter. It is a time when Christians spend a bit of time thinking about what Jesus did for them on the cross. It is a time to prepare for Easter Sunday and the resurrection. In the past people used to fast during lent. That is why we have pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (the day before lent starts) it was to use up all the nice things like sugar that people didn't then eat through out the 40 days.

In the bible 40 days is a big deal. It appears over and over again. Once Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days before he starts all the main bits of his ministry (all the healing, preaching etc). He needed that time in which to think and to pray. To be with God. To focus. And that is what lent is for.
Now-a-days lots of people give things up. A good friend of mine usually gives up chocolate. And hopefully when they want to do/eat that thing they remember how much Jesus gave up. It is a way of remembering. (My friend also then went on to give the money saved to charity - which I was always impressed with. The sacrifice went out from herself to help other people).
This is what lent is about. And that is why I am so horrified that whereever I go I am bombarded with Easter eggs. (I could write a whole other post on my disagreement with these most un-biblical of items but that will have to wait, along with Father Christmas!)

I went to a supermarket today and Easter eggs were everywhere. Not just the "seasonal" ailse. (Where they have been since just after Christmas) but on the tops of shelves, at the end of aisles, you are constantly tripping over the things. Am I the only one who thinks that this is totally inappropriate? I can see their point of view that greedy consumers want to spread the cost of Easter. But really! Do they have to be everywhere I go? We are in lent not Easter.
I was also looking at Easter cards and they all had fluffy bunnies, chicks, eggs and some made a nod at Christianity but having a flower-decked rural church. Easter is not just about new life, it is about old life renewned.

I feel sad when I think how much society has dulled down the Christian message, hijacking its festivals. Easter should be about Jesus, not chocolate eggs. Not only are they totally unrelated to the message of Easter (although some quite tenuous links have been made) but they are an obscene waste of money and a huge waste in packaging. We need to change this. We need to fight the consumerism. Make a new tradition. Do lent in a special way. Make lent a journey. I want my children to grow up and see this hype for what it is. I want them to know about Jesus' death and resurrection. I want them to use lent as a time to reflect. This is such a valuable time. We have to reflect before we can move onwards into all that God has in store. When we remember Jesus on the cross we remember that he was put there for us. Instead of us. And it is then that Easter Sunday can become real. We are free to celebrate because not only have we died with Jesus, but we have also been raised up with him.

When we get to Easter it should be a time of wonderful celebration. Any self imposed sanctions on ourselves are lifted. And we can remember God's amazing blessings on us. Please let us try to see through all this pre-Easter hype. And remember that this is a time to remember the cross. The resurrection is to come. Waiting is part of the process, so don't rush it.

Friday, 15 February 2008

New profile picture

Some people have been complaining that the picture of me wasn't very flattering and that people might actually want to see what I really look like. So to humour them i have changed my profile picture.
Hope you like it.

Have you got your bag of night lights?

Yesterday was a busy day. We had swimming in the morning and then we zoomed off to collect Granny (my mother) and then we went to Ikea.

My mother and I love Ikea. If it just had natural day light we might never leave. I think it is the element of nosiness. You get to see what other peoples houses might look like. I also love being able to try out everything. All the sofas, chairs, beds, you name it really.
There is the lovely cafe (including free tea/coffee if you are a member of Ikea family). We go to Wembley Ikea which has a great area in the cafe for children to play whilst you sit at a high breakfast bar round the edge and occasionally post food to them. It is much needed break before you head on to the market place.
Then there is the huge array of things you never knew you needed. The amount of lovely storage things, including plastic boxes - which my Mother and I adore. Totally bargains to be had. And of course no trip to Ikea would be complete without the largest bag of night lights in the world.

And there is a stress free element about taking the girls. They are allowed, even encouraged to touch everything. And my girls love touching things. They get it from me. I don't really feel I have seen something until I have touched it. They had tea parties. They jump on beds, with their shoes on. They opened every cupboard in the place. In one lovely moment I found Martha sitting in an armchair with wine glass next to her on a small table. I felt like we fast forwarded about 20 years!
Martha is now old enough to go into the children’s play area. So we get to go through the crockery section with out her. She gets to play in ball pool. So we all win.

I know there are people who will disagree (my poor friend has spent about 3 months of her life in Ikea trying to sort out buying a kitchen). I know that it is very cleverly designed so that you spend the maximum amount of money. It is the "oooo, it only costs £1.99. You can't go wrong." Oh, how all the little things can all add up if you aren't strong willed. But for me it is a treat. It feels like an exciting day out. You shop without really shopping.

Now, where shall I put these night lights? What I really need is a nice plastic box...

Tummy Tot

A picture paints a thousand words. Enough said.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Something I want to remember

I am sure that all mothers of small children sometimes look at them and think... Help, you are going to grow up into a psycho! This is normally when you are standing outside a shop with your child screaming and hanging onto the door handle because you asked them to do something totally un-reasonable like getting onto the buggy board.

Then there are other moments. They are the ones when you know that everything will be alright. Your children will (hopefully) become nice and reasonable members of the human race.
This was one of those moments.

The girls had gone up stairs and I was cutting up broccoli for dinner. It had gone a bit quiet and so, as I have learnt this lesson, I went up to check. They were in my bedroom. I braced myself. Then I heard Martha talking quite quietly to Tilly. So I peered in.

They were lying snuggled under the duvet with Martha holding my book for them both to look at and she was telling her a story. It was loosely based on Cat in the Hat. But she was adding in new bits here and there when her memory failed her. It was such a beautiful moment. I crept away knowing that all will be well.

Swimming lessons day 3

Today's achievement is that Martha had some of the floats taken off. They use these very clever hard foam disks round their arms. Martha has had two on each arm so far and today she has gone down to one on each arm.
It is really great to see her so happy in the water and moving, at will, in the direction she is meant to be going in.
Unfortunately, Tilly had a turn for the worse today and was very insistent that she had to have swimmies on too. This only really stopped when she discovered some small plastic chairs that she then spent a happy 20 mins re-arranging for the teddy shaped floats.

If only we could all be that easily distracted from our woes.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Don't let her size fool you

Tilly is going to be 2 in March. For all of you whose maths is a bit shaky that makes her 1. She is doing really well in her speech. Brought about largely by great brain power! No, I am kidding, I think it is a lot to do with having a sister who talks to her in a simple way that is easy for her to copy. She uses a lot of two word sentences, sometimes three.

Yesterday, after breakfast, it was time to get Tilly dressed. She was padding around upstairs clad in her PJ's.
"Time to get dressed Tilly, time to put clothes on."
"No. Jarmas on. I don't ont (want) clothes."

We, at any rate, were speechless.

Swimming lessons

Martha is learning to swim. This is not elegant or graceful at the moment. Dolphins leaping majestically through the waves do not spring to mind. But it is very exciting.

There is a lovely chap in our church who is also a swim teacher. He runs crash swimming courses in half term holidays. So Martha has a half hour lesson every day. A lot of the lesson is singing songs, getting used to having a wet face and getting them moving round in the water. Technique comes later. There are only 5 children in her lesson, including her. So she gets lots of help and encouragement.

In two days she has come on incredibly. She has never swum without an adult holding onto her before, and on day one she was covered in floats and kicking around completely out of her depth. She also doesn't like getting a wet face in swimming pools. Well, today she had her face half in the water and was blowing bubbles! She is having a wonderful time, gaining huge amounts of confidence and sleeping like a baby!

What are Tilly and I doing during this? Well, mostly we sit on the side and cheer.
Tilly is slowing getting the hang of this. Yesterday (day one) she got her swimming costume out of the drawer in the morning, spent the whole time at the pool trying to take her clothes off and demanding "My turn, my swim". I think she has grasped it now that this is Martha's time. So instead of swimming in the water, she is swimming out of it. This is great fun to watch.

I am also really enjoying sitting in a warm, sunny room on a sun lounger. If you close your eyes it could be summer.

Monday, 11 February 2008

What I have done when I wasn't blogging

I don't know whether it is the sunshine or the fact that I have hit my second trimester but I have energy once again. Hooray! (For those that don't know the placenta takes over sustaining the baby in the 2nd trimester - about 14 weeks - and so you have loads of energy. Well compared to being a sleeping blob! It is a great time before you get too big to move.)

I have been achieving queen this last week. But to put it into perspective you must bear in mind that I haven't done anything in weeks. Make that months really. I think that my children and husband probably thought I had become part of the sofa. So it is really quite a turn around. And do you know what? I feel a lot better for it. And I think my family like having clean clothes to wear and a tidy(ish) house to live in.

So here is my list, in the last week I have:

cleaned out the fridge,
re-arranged and cleared under the stairs,
hovered everywhere,
cleaned the bathroom and down stairs toilet,
re-arranged the bedroom,
cleared out my wardrobe,
am up to date with the ironing,
gone through the girls toys,
taken bags to the charity shop and thrown frightening amounts away.

Wow, it looks even better written out like that!

Now all I have to do is try and not go too mad and learn to pace myself again. I read a great book which said you just have to do a little each day. (I used to do this before I became pregnant and so very tired!) Clean the bathroom one day, tidy one shelf the next. It really works too. You end up achieving loads and not feeling so shattered that you need to lie down for the next day.

By the way, if this list makes you feel bad/under-achieving in anyway then you need to come and see my study. Just looking at it makes me need to lie down and rest!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Answers on a postcard please!

Martha talks a lot about the tummy tot. (Remember she is 3.) She spends ages looking at drawing of babies in tummies and photos of me pregnant with her, and then with Tilly. And photos of her as a baby. Along with this have come a lot of questions. We have told her that when my tummy gets very big then the baby will be big enough to come out.
"When the baby grows then "pop" it comes out your tummy". "Yes, Martha something like that."... A bit later whilst pulling up my top to see my tummy... "Where's the hole the baby pops out? Can I see the hole?" .....
I was always told to just answer the question being asked, truthfully and age appropriately.
So I said what I suspect millions of mother have said before...

"Shall we get some chocolate Martha?"

Well it bought me more time if nothing else!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

The joys of re-arranging

I am meant to be going to bed. I am quite tired and I will be grumpy tomorrow but I decided to have a quick blog first.
Tonight I am going to bed feeling very invigorated. And do you want to know why.... if you don't then turn off the computer now.... still with me.... lovely.

I love decorating. It is probably a good thing that we can't decorate because I would probably be doing it all the time. So instead I re-arrange. I look at Nick with a glint in my eye and say.... "Nickkkkkk..... Can we just move a few things around?" The normal reply is "Does it involve the piano or any bookcases?" If it does then we normally drag our friends round to help! If not then he normally says.... ok.... and we get to it.
My lovely husband and I rearranged our bedroom furniture today. It may seem mad but I love moving furniture. It is great. It makes it all feel new and exciting. All for free. Well nearly for free - I did have to go out and buy a bedside table. But then I got to do DIY, another favourite thing.

Go on try it.... move stuff around. See what the sofa looks like under that window. Have you ever thought about your bed not being in a corner but the middle, or vise versa? You will be surprised, suddenly you have a whole new house.

I am off now to enjoy a well deserved rest in my brand new bedroom. Good night.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Why I choose to stay at home - part 2

A wise women once said (ok... it was written on some blog I read!) that if you want a child to sweep the floor at 14 then they have to sweep the floor at 2. This makes a lot of sense to me. It is about teaching and setting up good habits. My girls are at the age where they love helping. They love sweeping, doing the washing, cleaning the bathroom, cooking, washing up...the lot. And so that needs to be harnessed so that as they grow up they don't lose that enthusiasm. And for the times when it wanes it is so ingrained that they just get on with it. I am a great believer that as a family we all need to pull together to get things done, especially keeping the household running smoothly.

"Good point Amy. But when are you going to get onto staying at home?" Wellll.... I am really amazed at how much life has slowed down since having children. Walking with a toddler can be a painstaking, patience stretching venture. It once took 45 mins to do the 5 mins walk to the post box. Every last leaf, twig, stone, puddle had to be looked at. But do you know what, I had the time. So we did it. Martha's way. (Sometimes we do things Mummy's way but more on that another time!)

If I worked I would be busy. My time with my children would be limited. I simply wouldn't have the time to teach my children to sweep the floor, to clean a bathroom, to make homemade cake. I would try and rush through those things. "I need to get this done" would be my catch phrase. Instead I am blessed with time. Instead I can say: "let’s do it together nice and slowly. You try and I will be here to help" and then I can wait and help and let them do it in their own time. Because that is the way they will learn. There is nothing like chores and helping out for building confidence. There is so much to get right. It is great.

I am glad to stay at home and have the time to teach my children. Then when they go to homes of there own they will know what needs to be done and how. And it the mean time I will eventually get to put my feet up while they get me a cup of tea and do the washing up!

Thursday, 7 February 2008


I went to the midwife today and took Martha with me. She is really getting to grips with the fact that there is a baby in my tummy, even though she can't see it. She said to the midwife today "when the baby gets big, then "pop" it comes out a hole!!" She replied (with a large smile): "yes, that is exactly what happens!"
After checking my wee and my blood pressure (both fine - amazing how relaxed you get about everything on the 3rd time round. Here I am mentioning wee for the whole internet to read!) We came to the reason that Martha and I were both there.... to listen to the baby.
The midwife found the heart beat with no problems and Martha and I listened transfixed to the gentle thud, thud, thud, thud. It was amazing and Martha stood dead still, just listening (a real feat for her, especially when she is excited). S/he is in there, growing away... very cool.

Then there was just time for the midwife to write my notes. FHBH - Fetal Heart Beat Heard.

The best four letters in the world

Should I be concerned or proud? - part 2

..... So I went into my bedroom and found my two lovely daughters had found my make up and were covered in it. They particularly liked my very expensive foundation. It was all over the bed, towels, faces, arms, legs... you name it.
I am really glad it was bath night last night!
At least I can laugh and chalk it up to experience (and make a mental note to check on them quickly if it all goes quiet!). Oh yes, and have a "chat" with Martha about asking before rummaging through my bed side table.
One more lesson learnt... and motherhood continues with me a little bit wiser!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Why I choose to stay at home - part 1

A number of people ask why I choose to stay at home with my small children. Here in England it is becoming more and more common for mothers to go back to work. It saddens me to think of the time they are missing out on (the children and the mothers).
I am under no illusions. It is hard to stay at home, to be interrupted all the time, to be "helped" when going to the toilet, to cook and clean, to repeat things over and over and over and over. I am also aware that I am not (nor will I ever be) the perfect mother. I can only do my best (and sometimes that is quite enough of a challenge). But I wouldn't miss this time for anything. How long do we have our children for? How long will they want us around for? The other day Martha told me I am her best friend, how could I become that if I never saw her.
I have decided to be there. Physically present in my children's lives.
I used to look after a little boy and walk him home from the school bus. On the journey home he would tell me about his day, what had happened, how he was. Once he spent the whole journey telling me one joke (which I might put up here if you are very lucky!). By the time we got home the time had passed. He was tired and wanted to chill out. The time for talk had gone. I got to share that time, his mother didn't and that saddened me and made me realise that I wanted that time with my children.
I will never know in advance when something major is going to happen and I would hate it to be on the day when someone else was there. I would miss it.

So I may not be the best mother, I may get cross, I may shout and be grumpy. But I will be there. I will learn this new life, this new task that I and God have set me. And with His help it will be a success. Maybe not in the way I expect.
But in the way that really matters.

Should I be concerned or proud?

I have just walked into my kitchen to find that Martha had pulled her chair up to the work top and had made, by herself and for herself, a slice of bread with chocolate spread on it! Bless her heart, she had even washed up the knife.
I thought she had gone all quiet.
So on one hand I am proud that she has shown such skill on the other hand I am thinking..."ARGHHHHHHHH....."

ooooo... it has all gone very quiet in my bedroom and both girls are in there... what will I discover this time.

Monday, 4 February 2008

First ever Parent/Teacher consultation

I went to my first ever (and first of many) parent/teacher consultations this afternoon. I have to confess that I was terrified. Were they going to say that Martha was horrid, that I was a bad mother, that Martha was horrid because I was a bad mother! To top it all Martha's teacher is younger than me and so it all feels a bit odd.
I need not have worried one jot. Not only is Martha lovely (if a bit "lively") I am a good mother!
Why do I set such store in what one person thinks....? It is mad. I see proof every day of Martha being so kind to me and Tilly it makes me want to cry. (I also see a lot of proof of the "lively" side, but more on that another time!) I also see her growing into someone who is strong-minded but very gentle, loud and yet encouraging. The other day I had got there snack all ready on the side in the kitchen and she took Tilly's hand and said "You come with me, I'll look after you. We get your snack." I can't even blame the hormones for making me cry at that one.
So, you see, all my fears where groundless and out of place. I need to pay attention to what is in front of me every day. And remember that no one knows my little girl like I do. How long will I be able to say that for? And if she is doing ok, then it is ok for me to admit that I have something to do with that.
It was a good meeting and Martha's teacher was kind, thoughtful and helpful. I came away feeling very proud of my little girl. But really I was proud all the time.
It was just really nice that someone who apparently "knows things" agrees with me.

Why I decided to blog

A number of people have been a bit surprised when I mention that I have started a blog. "Why?" they cry. "Welllll..." and so I thought I would write the answer here and then I can say "Ahhhh.... well you will have to read it to find out!"
It started because I came across a number of blogs and enjoyed reading them. I have also found them very helpful. (I read a lot about homemaking and looking after small children, so there are lots of tips and anecdotes) And I kept thinking...oooohhhh I could do this. It might be fun. I really enjoy writing and have a lot to say, so why not say it somewhere where it can be read, if you want to that is!
Then I came across a blog from some of our family who have moved to New Zealand. It has been great reading about them and what they are up to. That led me to thinking about all those people I don't see much (and would like to see more). I realised that this is really a perfect way of keeping in touch with what we are up to. Then they can read it when they have a chance and comment as the like.
It is of course also a chance for me to rant about my favourite subjects (cloth nappies and sanitary towels, the importance of staying at home with young children, pregnancy and birth etc)
So here it is ... my blog. Feel free to stick your oar in when you want.
I hope you enjoy reading it.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Saturday's Pancake party

We had a great time last night at the Rowe's annual pancake party.(Thank you Rowe's for your hospitality) As it was over the girls dinner time I took along some tuna to counteract the huge quantities of sugar they would consume. (Nick made a pancake with curly whirly, chocolate orange, toffee sauce and I think marsh mallows in as well. It looked sooo sickly but he seemed to be very happy with it!)

Martha had a great time letting out her most boisterous side during a huge pillow fight with about 4 "big boys". It was great to just let her get on with it and know that she was a fair match for any of them! Tilly spent the time walking right through the middle of it all and coming out remarkably unhurt.
It was lovely to see Tilly gaining confidence. Normally in this situation she would stay by Nick's side (or mine if Daddy is no where to be found!) but she soon gained confidence and would wonder away to play and then come back to check we hadn't run off with out her.

When we got home Nick was taking of Tilly's shoes and made a remarkable discovery... she was wearing two right shoes. Luckily the owner of the second right shoe was willing to trade for a left shoe. Otherwise Tilly might have ended up walking in circles.

I am so pleased that we belong to a church where it is a community. We spend time together, enjoying each others company and of course plenty of pancakes with a bewildering number of toppings.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

In the beginning was an empty page

Well, I have spent a good view hours moving things around, deciding whether I like spots or other backgrounds, hunting down family piccies and then I looked at the finished product and realised there was this big gaping hole. And then the truth dawned. The whole thing was not about layout at all but a chance for me to write stuff down and maybe for people to read them.
That was the point when it all became a bit daunting (how long does it take until someone reads your blog and does/should it matter anyway?). So I had a little post lunch nap while the girls where resting and Nick was in charge and tried to think of something to say.....
More on that later I think!