Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in review.

January - It was so warm and we got to go hiking on two weekends. Nathan split his head open and had to have 5 staples, and we had Grandma Shirley with us for a while.

February - We took the kids to see their first IMAX 3D movie. Gary and I went to his work's winter Gala on Valentines Day and I made chocolate covered strawberries for the first time which were met with rave reviews.

March - The kids decided they wanted a dog so Gary and I decided we'd go for a baby instead. We hiked the Crags beyond Woodland Park on the other side of the mountain, and my little baby Nathan turned 4.

April - We got snow. Gary caught some kind of virus and suffered some hearing loss in his right ear, and the kids were ill over Easter.

May - Leia turned 8 and was baptised. I felt old. Spencer also turned 6. We had Mum, Rachel, Ben, Max, Gary's Mom and Jim with us during the month. We grilled a lot.

June - We continued to enjoy visiting with Rachel, Ben and Max. I drove all the way up Pikes Peak and wasn't scared. Crazy Town was told that it was expecting a new resident. (not a dog!)

July - Spencer chased a deer around the backyard. I felt sick all month but I got to hear a beautiful little heartbeat. Our tenants ran out on us without paying two months rent leaving the house trashed. Gary had to drive to Ohio and renovate. My stress level increased.

August - The boys went out on a father/son campout and Leia and I had girl time. It was HOT HOT HOT and the lack of air conditioning in the house made my fourth month of pregnancy difficult.

September - School got back into full swing. We found out that another little boy was coming our way. The children dealt with their own issues getting used to the structure and expectations that a new grade brings. I turned 30.

October - For the second year in a row we had a warm Halloween and the kids could go out in just their costumes and have a wonderful time.

November - We sold our house in Ohio FINALLY and my stress levels began to decrease. I actually put on some weight. I blogged every day about what I was thankful for and Thanksgiving was lovely.

December - CHRISTMAS! Leia sold truffles at school. We went to a carol concert, it snowed and we waited in anticipation for Santa who managed to get us all something we really wanted. My tummy got really big.

I'm very excited about 2010 and what it will bring. Hopefully it'll bring us one step closer to being able to buy a home here and to feel more settled. And of course we are all waiting in anticipation to meet the sixth member of Crazy Town.

Christmas Recap

Christmas was lovely. It was just us and our traditions. On Christmas Eve we had a feast, opened a present or two, watched Polar Express together and left treats and milk for Santa. On Christmas Day we played with the kids all day long apart from the time I spent cooking which wasn't too long as I made sure what I had planned was low maintenance. We played new board games, Leia painted, the boys and Daddy played with Legos. At Christmas dinner we pulled crackers and wore our silly hats. We ate WAY too much and went to bed WAY too late and as a result the next few days were marked by a few upset stomachs and three overtired children. But as I said it was lovely. An interlude before 5 become 6 and things change forever.

Right after Santa visited our house. I love the way that looks. It's always sad that it lasts all of 30 minutes or so.

Going DS crazy. Looks like some rules and rationing will have to be implemented.

The disaster area that was the living room after present opening.

Gary spent 5 hours on Christmas Day putting together legos for the boys. But I know he enjoys it and has been waiting to do it since the boys were newborns!

Christmas dinner. One of my most favorite traditions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

3rd Grade Products Fair

Today the 3rd Grade at Leia's school held a products fair as part of a weeks long Community project. It was so much fun. Each child had to come up with a product to sell at the fair. They decided how much to sell their product for and had to rent a booth by donating a toy to charity. They made their own money which they gave to parents to attend the fair to buy their products with. We also had to donate a toy to get into the fair.
Leia decided to make truffles and her and I got to work. Then she packaged them up ready for the fair. She was responsible for keeping an account of what she sold and she had made signs to advertise her product.

Here she is packaging up her truffles. Two to a bag, one chocolate, one chocolate peppermint.

Here she is keeping careful account of her sales.

She just LOVED the whole experience.

The truffles were a huge hit. She had repeat customers and sold out very fast. She was so confident that she had prepared the "sold out" sign in case of this eventuality. But she didn't mind one bit as this left her plenty of time to go and spend the money she had made at the fair.

I'm very tired tonight. With trying to help Leia plan for the fair and all the end of term stuff that has been going on, I am so happy to sit here and veg. I really need some down time. I know I'll be ready for the kids to go back to school at the end of two weeks but Gary is taking some time off during the holiday and it will be wonderful to spend time with him and the kids and our Christmas traditions. It's going to be a lot of craziness and high spirits but a lot of laughter and fun also.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Concert.

I thought this might be the year for us. The year where we could go out to evening Christmas events and all enjoy it together. Our children are in a very regular bedtime routine and are in bed by 7pm. We have so far had to avoid evening Christmas events particularly spiritual events (we do go out to parties where they can run around) because the kids just can't handle it.
Tonight we decided to give it a try. There was a large Christmas concert at church and the handbells in particular always get rave reviews. I love Christmas music and was really looking forward to it. We sold it to the kids via the promise of refreshments served after the concert. We arrived half an hour early to get good seats which we did, although we were sharing the bench at the front with three other families so we felt snug to say the least.
Half an hour in, the boys were asking when we were going home. Nathan was so tired he was flailing around and generally being fidgetty. I gave the kids a piece of gum to try and hold them off. Spencer and Leia hung in there pretty good but Nathan was just done. At 7.45pm he fell fast asleep under the bench in front. Meanwhile, it was getting hotter and hotter in the chapel. My ankles turned into cankles and the band aids I had stuck over my belly button to stop my guts from spilling out, were seriously irritating my skin and pulling on it.
At the end of the concert, Gary picked up Nathan who stayed resolutely asleep. We decided to avoid the crush at the refreshment tables. There were hundreds of people there and Nathan really needed to be in bed. Well Leia and Spencer were horrified that they weren't going to get the cookie or whatever it was they had been promised. I could tell Spencer was really working himself up over it by the clenched fists and facial expression. Fortunately I managed to save the day by allowing them an edible tree ornament once we got home. Nathan just wanted to get straight in bed, that's how exhausted he was.
So that was a once in a few years experience for us. Next year we'll have a baby that will definitely not be leaving the house after 7pm.
But one thing I can say is that the music and the handbells were GLORIOUS!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sympathy is welcome!

At this point in my life over the last two days, all I can think to do to avoid doing something very dysfunctional is to blog all about it and eat lots of chocolate while doing it. THANKFULLY my wonderful sister sent me a package with my absolute favorite chocolate in it and it arrived the other day. I literally only get to taste this chocolate a few times a year and it's perfect for chasing away the blues.
On Monday night a winter storm rolled in. Where we are, we couldn't have gotten more than 6 inches but the temperatures are RIDICULOUS. The wind chills at one point yesterday made it feel like double digits below (for all those Brits out there we are talking -30 degrees celcius).
So anyway, on Monday there was some snow on the ground. School was in thankfully and I had errands to run. I packed Nathan up and off we went. The car was making some whiny noises, almost as if it was complaining about the weather conditions. Especially when I turned the wheel, the noises would get worse. I finished the errands, made it home thankfully and called Gary. He thought it was probably to do with the icy roads but said we'd go out when he got home and see what the car was doing then. When he got home, we went out for a spin and the noise was obviously not to do with the weather at that point. Since it got louder when the wheel turned, Gary figured it might be to do with the power steering. He opened up the hood and checked the power steering fluid which was very low. He bought some more and filled it up. As we drove around a bit more the noise started to die down. We congratulated ourselves on being good car sleuths and put the car in the garage thinking that the problem was solved.
Well the storm rolled in Monday night and school was cancelled yesterday. This was a real irritation because I had an OB appointment that morning. If it was a warm sunny day and I had to tote all the kids to the doc, it wouldn't be so bad but with the temperature outside being 2 degrees F/-16 degrees C, it required a lot of planning. By the time I got my shower that morning, it was just before I had to leave. I had no time to wait for my hair to dry or even get the hairdryer out. I got the kids bundled up, threatened them with strangling if they misbehaved at the doctor's, and piled in the car. As soon as we got out of the neighborhood I realised that the noise was louder than ever and as I turned onto the main road the wheel seemed stiff somehow. By the time we entered the parking lot it was obvious the power steering was completely out. I was having to navigate the treacherous conditions and crank the wheel with all I had just to get around the corners. But the most scary thing was the noise. I mean it sounded like the car was hysterically crying. And of course the kids were bothered by it. It's only a two year old car and always runs smoothly.
Getting from the car to the office was awful. The wind was blowing sideways. Of course I had worn my shades to combat the glare from the snow and in my rush I left my regular glasses in the car. Once inside I realised what I had done and had to run back out to the car to get them. Because my hair was wet, it froze. I have never had this experience before. It was stiff as a board. I have no idea what I looked like but by the time I got into the bathroom to produce my urine sample, it had thawed.
After the appointment where the kids were pretty good all things considered, we returned to the car and said a prayer to get home without incident. Apart from getting sore muscles from fighting with the steering wheel, we made it home safely and I called Gary who arranged a towing service to take the car to the dodge dealership. Turns out a hose or something was broken and power steering fluid was leaking out. They said they could have the car fixed by sometime this afternoon. One day without the car. I can deal with that right? WRONG!
This morning school was delayed two hours due to record low temperatures and bad road conditions. I already knew I had to walk the kids to the bus stop instead of driving them in my pre-warmed car but I had a battle plan. Scarves around faces etc... I got a phone alert this morning about 8am saying that our school district was having bus trouble and the bus could be up to 30 minutes late. The operative word here was COULD. It didn't mean we could show up at the bus stop 30 minutes later than usual because everything might have been fine. We would have to stand out there from the normal time onward just in case.
The morning ticked along. Leia tried to steal Spencer's Leapster and I told her that she needed to play her own game system which is a Leapster Didj for older kids. She then informed me that she didn't know where it was and hadn't known for weeks??? I was so mad. I think the last few days was getting on my nerves. I told her that she needed to find it before school or Christmas would be cancelled. I hate making threats I know I can't actually come through on but I said it in the heat of the moment. I have such a hard time with the disregard and lack of respect the kids show for their possessions. Both Leia and Spencer's room were completely torn up and still it wasn't found. Eventually Leia convinced Nathan to admit he'd thrown it in the trash. I have no idea if this is true or not. When I got Nathan on his own, he said he hadn't thrown it in the trash. But at this point I was fuming, to the point of tears. We've just finished Christmas Shopping for the kids for this year and I almost don't want to give them more expensive things to lose. Leia was in tears and I couldn't trust myself to say anymore.
Well we set off for the bus stop. I looked like a Russian refugee or something but the kids seemed impervious to the cold. They were just happy to get a chance to play in the snow drifts. Leia was still melancholy and we hadn't spoken so I took her hand on the way to the bus stop. I hate sending them off to school with any bad feelings. She immediately teared up again and said she was sorry and that she'd find it when she got home. I reassured her but I'm pretty sure that it's not anywhere in the house. C'est la vie. No more Didj. I know I'll get over it and to be honest I just can't stay mad over something which is unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Well after 30 minutes of standing at the bus stop in the frigid cold I began to realize the bus wasn't coming. The kids were happy playing cake boss and using the snow to make their cakes but I was miserable. I sat on a piece of concrete for as long as I could stand it but then I began to worry about hemorrhoids, something I'd rather blank out considering what's on the horizon for me in the near future anyway! Just as I was about to bawl, a nice neighor who I don't actually know stopped and offered to drive us all up to the school. I could have kissed her feet. Sometimes we do a small act of kindness for someone and we don't realise what a difference it makes. I don't think that she had any idea how grateful I was although I tried to artiiculate it.
So here I am. I've eaten two chocolate bars and had a large cup of hot chocolate with cream in it and I feel much more at ease. Nathan has been picked up and taken to school and it is the quietest it's been since Monday night. I can't bear to think of the mess downstairs. Gary is going to have to help me face that when he gets home from work as the amount of bending over it's going to take to get things back in order is something I'm not prepared for right now.
I expect I better go and try to eat something better than sugar or sugar for my lunch at least for the sake of the future troublemaker and anxiety producer hanging with me for the next 8 weeks.

Sidenote: If the car is not done today, Gary will have to take the kids to either the bus stop or school in the morning even if it makes him late for work.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Here's to kicking off the Christmas Season!

I. I am so thankful for all my blessings. The gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, being able to be with my wonderful family forever, Gary's job, a comfortable home, friends, health, and much more besides. I can't name it all and throughout the experience of articulating what I'm thankful for this month I've come to the realization that life is really amazing. It was so tough moving out here and receiving the news that Dad had died. There were some really dark days especially as the ordeal with the house dragged on and on. But even though Dad is not here, I know I will see him again and I have the rest of my family, both my own extended family, Gary's extended family, and our own little unit here in Colorado Springs. I am very happy.

2. I am thankful that Nathan finally got to feel the baby move. For weeks now I have been trying to get Nathan to feel my tummy but every time the baby stops moving. Nathan always says "Wow" as if he's actually felt something but he hasn't. Since he's the youngest, I haven't been sure if he really understands. This morning the baby was really jumping around, (probably due to the rolos I'd just eaten) and when Nathan put his hand on my tummy the movement was really strong. Nathan's eyes got so wide and he looked totally shocked. It was a great moment.

3. I am thankful that when I went online this morning, our mortagage loan showed a balance of $0.00. So amazing after the rollercoster that has been the last 16 months. It's liberating. Maybe we'll just have a huge estate sale and move to England now with nothing but the clothes on our backs and start over. (Not going to happen but a very fun fantasy nonetheless)

4. I am thankful for the free Walmart photo with Santa. It fits into my budget very nicely and Santa is always so fake looking, it's funny. The beard looks like cotton wool and you can see the guy's dark stubble underneath. But the kids enjoy it immensely and when I was food shopping on Friday and Gary took them for the photo, it got them out from under my feet for a while.

5. I am thankful that I made it to the end of the month without missing any days since I started. Thanks to my friend for the suggestion. I might make it a tradition. But now I am blogged out and you might not hear from us for a while. You can be sure we'll be enjoying the season and hoping you are all doing the same.

Happy Christmas from all of us!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

One more day to go!

1. I am thankful that we got most of the Christmas Decorations up. I decorated the mantel with lights and our various nativity sets, nutcracker, candle holders etc... while Gary got out the tree and strung it with lights. The kids were in bed and originally we had planned on doing everything to cut down on the chaos. But in the end we stopped short of putting the ornaments on the tree. The kids will be so excited to put them on tomorrow evening.

2. I am thankful that Leia loves to talk to her Grandma on the phone. It's hard having my family so far away but despite it all, our relationships are as close as ever.

And I think someone is also trying to steal my body pillow!

3. I am thankful that the kids go back to school tomorrow. Three weeks of school will get us all excited to be together again for Christmas Break.

4. I am thankful that the kids BEG me to make egg sandwiches for them for lunch. At least I know that tomorrow they will eat their sandwiches and not skip straight to the cookies.

5. I am thankful that I could get my boots off after church today. As I was sitting in a meeting my legs were tingling and going numb. I think I better stop forcing my legs into small boots at least until February!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Of a more trivial nature.

1. I am thankful for free movies. I had someone in the line at Redbox tell me a code (I smiled at him and then he told me the code. I've always believed in smiling at strangers and it's paid off for once!) and then we got one emailed to us.

2. I am thankful that Christmas Shopping for the kids is done.

3. I am thankful for my favorite t-shirt that is big enough to house me and the little guy and will still do so 10 weeks from now. And it's not a man's shirt either. I got it from Victoria's Secret.

4. I am thankful for great literature. There's nothing better than words strung together in an artistic way. The English language when used well can be beautiful. I despise a lot of modern words especially swear words. I find it very difficult to read books where such words are used. I'm re-reading a favorite right now and it's a great way to end my day.

5. I am thankful we were able to remain firm in a show down with Spencer tonight. He can be so tenacious in a meltdown. He can't win in these scenarios or we would lose his respect and our ability to discipline him in the future. Some children will look for the cracks and exploit them. Spencer is one of those!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beware: A Christmas Carol may scare children!

1. I am thankful that the kids went to sleep really well tonight. We took them to see Disney's A Christmas Carol today and it was much scarier than I anticipated. In fact all three kids seemed unsettled after it. I was half expecting them to be scared at bedtime but no such problems. Here's hoping that we don't get any middle of the night visits.

2. I am thankful that I didn't show up at Target until 8.30 this morning. When I got there the crowd gave me palpitations. I managed to get one good bargain and although most of the specials were gone, I wasn't in the market for them anyway. I can't imagine what it was like when the doors opened. Overall, once I'd been to a few places including the mall I came to the conclusion that Black Friday shopping is not generally worth the crowds and the fighting for parking spots.

3. I am thankful that we had leftovers from yesterday. It's nice not to have to cook and the leftovers were almost as good as the first time around.

4. I am thankful that we have all our Christmas decorations. It has seemed that every year up until now we have had to buy things to add to the collection. This year we won't need to buy anything. We can get out our stuff and decorate whenever the fancy takes us.

5. I am thankful that my Mum gets here in 8 weeks. I miss her. I wish my sister could come too. And bring her kids. The holidays make me sentimental.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a really beautiful day. Exactly how I pictured it going but better. The kids were quiet this morning and we didn't get up until 8.30am. At about 10am the boys headed out to the church Turkey Bowl and Leia and I made appetizers and things while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We had a nice table ready for the boys when they returned at about 12.30pm. After the food, Gary took the kids outside to put Christmas Lights on the house. The weather today was fantastic. It took a few hours and the kids were running around with no coats. Meanwhile I put the turkey in the oven and prepared the side dishes. I was all alone in the kitchen, cleaning up as I went along and by the time dinner was almost ready the kitchen was clean and the whole thing was pretty stress free. Our guests arrived and helped Gary finish up with the lights and then they played a game with the kids until dinner was ready. Dinner was perfect. I told myself that this year I would only make enough to feed everyone once but somehow we ended up with a fridge full of leftovers again. After dinner we played another game with the kids and then had dessert before our guests went home. The kids were exhausted at the end of the day. They have been absolutely angelic today. They loved every minute of the day and fell asleep straight away. Gary and I are now watching a movie and I plan to get an early night before another busy day tomorrow.

1. I am thankful for the beautiful weather today. The boys LOVED the football and it made putting up the lights less of a chore for Gary. It also allowed me to do my thing in the kitchen without too many "helpers".

2. I am thankful for wonderful dinner guests. Nathan called one of the missionaries "best buddy" all afternoon. They played with the kids and really contributed to the day.

3. I am thankful that dinner was actually fun to make and that everyone enjoyed it.

4. I am thankful for a moment today when Dad came into my mind and it made me smile. Home Alone was on TV and Dad used to laugh his head off at that movie. I could see him and hear him and remember again how thankful I am that he is my Dad.

5. I am thankful for all my many blessings especially my wonderful husband and children. I don't think I ever dreamed I would have so much.

Discussing the proper arrangement of Christmas Lights!

Dinner time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A tiring day.

1. I am thankful for all that I have accomplished today. I've cleaned two bathrooms, deep cleaned my kitchen, washed three loads of laundry to include bed sheets, picked up a prescription, shopped for some food, brined a turkey, prepared side dishes, started preparing desserts, coached the kids through cleaning the basement and their bedrooms including vacuuming and glass cleaning as well as all the other things I have to do anyway in the course of a regular day. I almost lost it when I was waiting for Gary to come home and the kids were being so noisy and my back hurt. But all my ducks are in a row for tomorrow and I can head to bed satisfied.

2. I am thankful that my kids were willing to help me with housework today. I took the vacuum cleaner downstairs and left Leia in charge of the main space and two bedrooms. She did an amazing job. I really don't think I could have done a better one. I often avoid letting the kids help because I think they'll do a poor job but today they surprised me. Even the boys stripped their beds, emptied trash and Spencer did a fair job of cleaning the glass in his and Nathan's closet doors.

3. I am thankful that Gary folded the laundry for me this evening. I just couldn't face it after everything else today. Even though I washed it all so Leia wouldn't freak out if she had to wear a pair of Spencer's tighty whities two days in a row, I hate to see a job half done.

4. I am thankful for Peggle. Just when I about had the aforementioned meltdown I managed to get the kids gathered around the computer. They were glued to a game of Peggle until Gary showed up to rescue me.

5. I am thankful for four day weekends. Bring on the holiday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving is almost here folks!

1. I am thankful for friends who come over at a moment's notice to give opinions on burns. Spencer's burn doesn't look nice today and I may have to take him to the doctors tomorrow for a round of antibiotics.

2. I am thankful for Spencer and Nathan holding hands or walking with their arms around each other while out shopping. They have their moments but they love each other so much. In fact all three of them are really enjoying being together this week.

3. I am thankful that the weather here is so great. Yes we have snow and very cold temperatures but in between it all sunny skies prevail and exercising outside is completely feasible even in winter. Gary has been exercising outside the last few weeks and taking the kids with him. The kids LOVE it. They ride their bikes or throw around a ball. Sometimes I see them imitating things Gary does while working out. They sure think that their Daddy is cool.

4. I am thankful that Gary is willing to rub my feet or back any time I ask him to. Pregnancy is not easy on the body especially the 4th time around. I seem to have had my fair share of aches and pains so far and while my Snoogle helps so much, there's no substitute for healing hands.

5. I am thankful that each day it is relatively easy for me to think of my five things. The blessing of doing this is beginning to reveal itself to me. I have been happier than in months and I know it is because I am noticing how beautiful my life is and what life really is all about.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Closing day.

1. I am SO thankful that the house closed today. We got a call from our realtor about 4pm to say the papers were signed. It's been such a long road (about 16 months) that I can hardly believe it's true. I keep obsessively checking online to see if the mortgage has been paid off but of course I know it probably won't register for a day or two until the money arrives and the necessary office work is done.

2. I am thankful that now we only have to pay for the electricity, water, housing, and gas that we are actually using. I am also thankful that our insurance bill will also go down a bit.

3. I am thankful that Spencer's burn seems to be pretty pain free today. It doesn't look great this evening but he hasn't complained about it all day and Gary was even able to wash it a bit in the bath tonight.

4. I am thankful that Gary came home early today. I got a little nap on the sofa while Gary kept an eye on the kiddos.

5. I am thankful that the kids had an opportunity to blow the cobwebs away and play outside today. Tonight is supposed to be the coldest night yet this year but with some gloves, hats and determination, the kids were outside playing with a friend for over an hour.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The good and the bad.

Today was a really nice day. For the most part. Leia was excited to wear her new Sunday shoes and church was good. After church I was able to get a nap (I had been having a few braxton hicks contractions), and then I cooked dinner. After dinner, the witching hour took full effect. The kids started spinning around in the living room making themselves really dizzy. It was a very chilly day so we had had the fire on for several hours. It's gas and closed in by a glass panel which gets very hot. Before I could even think about what was going on, Spencer spun out of control and fell against the glass. It was a brief contact but he burned his elbow. Some skin was off and some more was blistering after we ran his arm under the cold water and then dressed it. Of course as any of you who've had a burn know, it hurts like crazy. Spencer was really crying or should I say screaming and it was upsetting Nathan especially. He kept repeating over and over "Spencer's screaming" and the look on his face was concern bordering on mild panic. Leia took charge and took him into another room, closed the door and they said a prayer together. I didn't know about this until later. Fairly soon after that he calmed down and Leia felt that her prayer for Spencer had been answered. He's now asleep holding his football again, like he did last night.

1. I am thankful for quick thinking. We had Spencer's arm under the cold water immediately and I don't think that it's going to look too bad in the morning. I also hope since he was able to get to sleep fairly easily the pain will be shortlived.

2. I am thankful for Leia's intuition with Nathan and that the first thing she wanted to do was say a prayer for Spencer. Her childlike faith is a good example to me.

3. I am thankful for modern medicine. This was something to be dealt with at home but it just reminds me how grateful I am for good affordable health insurance and a hospital a few minutes from the house. Had we needed to, we could have had Spencer to the emergency room and treated immediately.

4. I am thankful that a football can comfort my son.

5. I am thankful that it is Thanksgiving break next week. I'm looking forward to having all my children close to me for the week. They spend so much time at school away from me and I only have a vague idea of how they spend their days. It will be nice to talk to them, play with them and celebrate Thanksgiving. I can see Leia and me cooking while the parade is on TV. Gary taking the boys to the park for football. Lots of laughing. Of course I am realistic enough to know that we'll all be ready for our regular routine at the end of the week. But that's what makes holiday time special. It's because we can't do it every day.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


1. I am thankful for $10 shoes for the kids at Target and Walmart. My kids are so active that they just keep wearing through one pair of shoes after another. I have tried the more expensive shoes and the result is the same. Sketchers or Cherokee, after a few months you can see socks peeking out in the toe area or the sole is coming away from the main part of the shoe. So it's $10 shoes for now. We bought a couple of pairs today and threw out the ones we bought at the end of August for the start of school.

2. I am thankful that Spencer saved his money over the last few months and finally got to buy something today. We were able to tell him we were proud of him for doing it and I feel good about teaching him a little something about responsibility. Both responsibility for his bedroom and keeping track of his glasses and responsibility to save for the things you want. It's especially great considering his big sister earned only $2 in the same time it took Spencer to make $11 (to be fair, $5 came from the tooth fairy) and all because she keeps leaving her homework at school. I hope that seeing Spencer will motivate Leia to remember her homework.

3. I am thankful that Spencer was set on getting a football today with his money. We walked through the toy section and he was faced with all sorts of tempting transformers, lego sets etc... But he knew exactly what he wanted and he wanted a new football to throw around the yard with his Daddy and to take to school to play with at recess. I love that he loves playing outside. He's a really great kid!

4. I'm thankful for brotherly love. When asked what he thought he might do the next time he saved $10, Spencer started talking about buying footballs for Leia and Nathan. He's such a sweetheart and that was the first thing that popped into his head rather than buying himself the other stuff he saw today in the toy department.

5. I am thankful that Thanksgiving dinner is planned and shopped for. I can now look forward to a day of yummy food, board games and Christmas movies. We'll maybe even consider getting out the Christmas Tree early since last year we invested in a non-perishable but nicely realistic fake tree.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Today we receieved our documents with the final amount of money we have to take to closing on Monday. We transferred the money and it felt like taking thousands of dollars of cash and flushing it down the toilet. I'm so angry about what has happened with the economy. And I'm angry about how we were all sold on the idea that owning a home was an investment, security for the future and all that crap.

1. I am thankful that we are out of the housing market mess. Despite the fact that we have our own mess to clean up, at least we can control this one and not be swept along by uncontrollable factors, something I HATE.

2. I am thankful for perspective. If I didn't have that, I could dwell on current circumstances and get depressed. All the important things are in tact and thriving while we deal with what is really only a side issue.

3. I am thankful for an evening out with the girls. Watching a movie featuring loads of truly sickening dialogue and not having to cook can banish the demons.

4. I am thankful that Gary waited up for me so I could talk about my evening. And this evening I had a lot to tell him.

5. I am thankful that Gary is letting me sleep in tomorrow morning. Sleep is the holy grail and I love that once a week I don't have to wake up to "I want, I want, I want."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

H1N1 and tomorrow.

1. I am thankful that tomorrow is Friday. I'm feeling a little run down at the end of this week and will enjoy a few days with Gary around.

2. I am thankful that Gary is buying the kids lunch at school tomorrow. Preparing lunches is something I can cross off my "to do" list during my busy morning.

3. I am thankful that Gary can rearrange his schedule and do extra hours here and there so he can eat lunch with the kids and then be home by 1pm. I am looking forward to spending an hour with Gary before Nathan will get home from school.

4. I am thankful for only minimal side effects after getting an H1N1 shot today. I was wandering around in Target and they announced they were doing a high risk clinic. I went to see if there was a line and there wasn't so I went ahead and got one. I've been feeling under the weather this evening but so far, no paralysis or anything scary like that!

5. I am thankful that I can take Tylenol during pregnancy. I'll definitely be taking advantage of that this evening.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reflections on childhood and stuff........

1. I am thankful that Gary has taken the kids to storytime at the school library tonight. It means one hour of total quiet. Even if the kids are in bed, inevitably there is always something. Someone has a sore tummy, someone needs a drink of water, someone is bothering someone else, the lightbulb in a nightlight needs changing or someone is out of batteries for their electronic devise. Hopefully they'll be more tired when they get home and the quiet will remain.

2. I am thankful I got up a little bit earlier than normal this morning. I had forgotten that Leia was giving a little speech in class today and she wanted me to do up her hair. They are doing this virtual community thing where they get a bank account, check book, and get to use it somehow. Today they were trying to get votes to be given a job in the community. Leia wants to be either the Mayor or Bank President. Fortunately, even though she had choir we still got her in her Sunday best and a bun in her hair.

3. I am thankful that Leia is so outgoing. I know that my own parents had a hard time with me and my shyness. Leia was so excited to give her speech to the rest of the class today. That would have been something that would have terrified me. I don't have to send my little girl off to school worrying that she is having a bad time. Instead I can be sure she is having a great time and making the most of every opportunity. Now I just hope she gets the votes for Mayor or Bank President or she'll be disappointed.

4. I am thankful that after all the shyness growing up and some definitely painful teenage years I am at a place where I really like who I am. I'm not saying that to be conceited but I genuinely don't want to be anyone else, I don't envy anyone else, and my life is good. That's not to say that things are perfect. I mean I've just gone through the worst year of my life with the death of my father and financial troubles we never saw coming. But all in all, being comfortable with who I am helps me to get through the hard times.

5. I am thankful for the upbringing I had and the supportive family I have. I think that despite the awkward teenage years I always felt loved and secure at home. I am sure that is the main reason that I am who I am today. My parents were an example to me of so many things. I learned about marriage, responsibility, love, the gospel, the importance of family, and so many more things at home. I hope my own children will remember our home as being the one place they always wanted to be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The good doctor.

1. I am thankful for my doctor's appointment today. My blood pressure was low, the baby's heartbeat was in the 140s, my belly measured a little bit small but within the normal range, and I have gained 10 lbs so far which is normal. I often worry during pregnancy about all sorts of things but I feel good after a check-up and reassurance from the doctor that everything is going well.

2. I am thankful for a doctor that is willing to induce me whenever I want after 39 weeks. I will probably wait for nature to take it's course but it's nice to know if I get to a point where I can't take it anymore, I have choices. He also told me he is happy to discharge me within 24 hours of giving birth. Now if the pediatrician could get on board I would be one happy camper!

3. I am thankful that it only took 4 shots to get a great family portrait today. I'm not unveiling it just yet but everything went smoothly. It has a lot to do with the kids ages and I'm enjoying it. Everyone looked at the camera and smiled at the same time, the lighting was great, the background looked good and my tripod is worth its weight in gold.

4. I am thankful for a quick chat with my sister today. Even though we had nothing earth shattering to say, it always gives my day a boost to touch base with her.

5. I am thankful that today is done and all there is left to do is relax. Of course the kitchen could be cleaner and the carpet could do with a vacuum but I am letting it go tonight. At the end of the day, when the kids are tucked in I often find I've been running on almost empty for the last few hours and I have to slow down. But I am satisfied with how the day has gone. The kitchen and carpet will be waiting for me in the morning.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I am thankful for photography. As I've had my children and they've begun to grow up, the pictures I've taken have become some of my most treasured possessions. I'm going to post 5 pictures each from their babyhood that I love the most or that I am most thankful for.


I took this picture when Leia was 11 months old. We took a walk in the grounds of a great museum in Newport News Virginia where we were living at the time. I was just becoming really interested in photography and was looking for those "natural" shots. Leia was fascinated by a ride-on lawn mower and perhaps a little bit apprehensive at the same time. I was using a film camera and had no idea what a great shot I had got until it was developed. How spoiled are we now with digital?


This is one of those pictures that just captures Leia's personality. She had climbed onto the dining room table to steal some grapes and she knew she was caught!


This is another one of those magic shots that you accidentally get when you happen to be in the right place at the right time. I think Leia was about 3 and we had gone to a local working farm called Carriage Hill in Huber Heights Ohio where we were living. Leia took a liking to one of the farm cats. I'm amazed it stayed still long enough to get this picture.


This photo is special not just because it's of my daughter but because it reminds me of a wonderful vacation we had to England. Spencer was a few months old and Leia was 2. This picture was taken by a boyfriend of my sister and somehow it just manages to capture what was so lovely about her at age 2. Her hair was always wild, she was always curious and excited about what was going on around her. Truly a joy!


I am a teensy bit ashamed of this picture even though it's a favorite. Leia was a year old and where we lived at the time we had a great pool a short walk from our house. I was anxious to try an underwater camera I had bought and I had my Mum dunk Leia under the water so I could take this picture. Now before you shout child abuse let me tell you that I knew she would be fine. She has always adored water and had a lot of confidence. After the dunk she didn't blink an eye and I got a fun shot.


I love this picture so much. Just an afterthought at the time. Spencer was very new and had just had a bath. So snuggly and so cute.


One year, and I think it's been the only one, I got to dress Leia and Spencer in the same Halloween costume. This year when Spencer was 5 months and Leia would have been 2, they were little lambs. Probably one of my favorite years because dressing your kids as fluffy animals increases their cuteness by at least 50%!


This picture was taken on the vacation I mentioned earlier where we went to England. We went to the Lake District in England for a week and stayed in a Caravan. The only place available to wash babies was the kitchen sink. Spencer was very fussy in the evening time and putting him in the sink really calmed him down. This picture also reminds me of Spencer's first teeth. They showed up before he was three months old and I was trying at this point to get him on a bottle so he wouldn't bite me. My Dad managed to get him to take his first bottle on this vacation and it was such a relief.


This picture is priceless to me. Spencer has always been quite quiet when he wants to be. He's not extremely talkative especially with strangers and didn't babble as a baby like Leia and Nathan did. But he has a very feisty part to him. If he doesn't get what he wants he lets you know about it. I love this face and even now he can bring this out on occasion but with a little less drool.


Spencer has an eye condition called Nystagmus which causes his eyes to move from side to side. It doesn't affect him but on top of it he has an astigmatism like both Gary and I do. I love this picture because he is wearing his first pair of glasses which were a bit too big for him. He's also just come home from a Thanksgiving event at pre-school. I don't know why but I love that he has food all over his face and that his glasses are forcing his ears to stick out.


Nathan has always been our ray of sunshine. This picture was taken when he was four months old and I layed him down on the grass for the first time. I think I was worried he might not like it since the sensation is so different to anything babies regularly experience. But, as we came to learn is Nathan's thing, he took it in stride and smiled as if he was having the time of his life.


To most people this picture is disgusting but it's a very important picture for me. Nathan had reflux for his first year to the point where I couldn't let anyone hold him because I was scared to death he'd do this while in their arms and ruin their clothes. It was such a worry to me as it would seem at the time that his whole feed would come up. But everything worked out and he has actually been the biggest of all our kids. It's good to remember trials and how we came out of them unscathed.


When I showed this picture to my Mum she laughed out loud. Nathan's personality has been large from day one and this manages to show that. I can't even remember what Leia was doing to him but it certainly looks as if he was horrified or scared silly. The thing is that he was neither. He's just always been the master of funny faces.


You know those times when you're in the store and the kid is just cranky or out of control? You promise them some candy if they behave and then they fall asleep on the way home because they are so tired. Nathan is only 18 months in this picture so I don't think I could have bribed him on this day but I love that picture of a baby asleep in a pool of candy. He's experiencing a total sugar coma!


This picture reminds me of the attachment both the boys had to pacifiers. It seemed that for at least a 5 year period our lives were ruled by whether we did or didn't have the pacifier when we left the house. As well as that, Nathan is smiling at me behind the pacifier. He ALWAYS smiled as a baby all day. I remember once when Nathan was crying over something and I wanted to take a picture of him, I asked him to say cheese and he still smiled and said cheese through the tears.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Heels or flats?

Today was so so cold. I didn't want to go out but responsibility called. I slid all the way to church and tottered around on the ice in the parking lot in my heels. I suppose I could have worn flats but the pair of boots I have that are flat are an unusual pair of Doc Martens with some tight elastic bits that REALLY hug my legs. I could just picture the discomfort they might cause at this point in the pregnancy. I'm not willing to do anything to cause any extra pain anywhere.
It was good to get back home after the shall we say interesting experience of teaching Spencer's Sunday School class on short notice.

1. I am thankful for hot chocolate and a fire on a cold day.

2. I am thankful for Sunday afternoon naps.

3. I am thankful that I kept my patience when Spencer and two of his friends didn't want to listen to anything I had to say in the lesson today. I took some deep breaths and I am hoping that something sunk in with a few of the kids amidst the chaos.

4. I am thankful for my wheat pillow. It's like a band-aid with my kids. Tonight Nathan said his tummy hurt and he was moaning, and holding his stomach. He refused to eat any dinner and I was a little worried. He didn't have a fever so I concluded he had bad gas. I suggested the wheat pillow and it was like magic. He went to bed at 6pm and when Gary put the wheat pillow on his tummy he said "Oh yeah Daddy, that's nice", and was asleep within 5 minutes.

5. I am thankful for Gary getting me caught up on laundry so that I don't have to put dirty socks on the kids tomorrow morning. Sometimes things go by the wayside and last week laundry was one of them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yucky weather day.

1. I am thankful for a hubby that goes out in nasty weather to pick up photos I've ordered and a chick flick.

2. I am thankful that my hubby will watch a chick flick with me, with no complaints when I'm not so good about watching things he likes.

3. I am thankful for almost finishing a big project and being able to tick one thing off my long "to do" list that gets drawn up at this time every year to get me through Christmas.

4. I am thankful for scented candles. We turned on the self clean on the oven today and the smell wasn't so great. It was too cold to leave the windows open for long so the scented candle saved the day for me.

5. I am thankful that I kept the receipt for the new humidifier we got for Nathan's room. It's not working properly so on Monday I have to take it back. Darn it!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thank goodness it's Friday.

1. I am thankful for a much more relaxing day than yesterday.

2. I am thankful that I have nothing much to do this weekend. If it snows as has been forecast, I can just stay in and stay warm.

3. I am thankful for my crock-pot. It's hard to try and cook dinner when the kids come home from school and are all bouncy and need a million things. It's so much easier for me to make dinner at 9am when Leia and Spencer are at school and Nathan is preoccupied with Curious George.

4. I am thankful that I don't need Super Nanny's help. I won't say I have everything figured out and we have our moments but we have a good routine and don't stand for any rubbish.

5. I am thankful for Fridays. It's the only weekday the kids don't get homework. After being at school from 8.30-3.30 I just want my kids to be able to play with each other and not have to do more school work. Sometimes they are sitting there for an hour and they are 6 and 8!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Woman's Work

This'll seem a bit shallow today but I'm really tired and did nothing but housework all day.

1. I am thankful for my Dyson. With the amount of vacuuming I do and the amount of stuff that ends up on my carpets, this is the first vacuum I've had that is capable of handling it.

2. I am thankful for Bleach. Strange I hear you say but without regular applications of bleach to the toilet bowl in the kid's bathroom, the bowl would be brown. They NEVER flush!

3. I am thankful for lasagna noodles you don't have to cook beforehand. I hate having to pre-boil them and burn my fingers as I assemble the lasagna.

4. I am (sort of) thankful that Spencer had a tantrum before school because I refused to put candy in his lunchbox. It gave me a good excuse to put the rest of it in the trash because of his stinky behavior to me. I think we've all had enough candy the last few weeks. I am tired of the demands and general grumpiness eating a lot of candy seems to produce.

5. I am thankful that Nathan's nose didn't bleed as much today. We've been running the vaporiser every night in his room, to the point where it's like a steam room in there. But I think it's working.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A nice day.

1. I am thankful that Gary and I got to go out on a date today. He decided to take the day off and after we dropped Nathan at school we were able to go out for lunch and to do a little Christmas Shopping. It was so nice to just be with Gary and forget about housework for the day.

2. I am thankful for durable tires. Yesterday, Leia left her scooter on the garage floor exactly where I pull the car in. It's a big no no and we've had conversations about it because when it's laying down I can't see it over the hood of the car. I ran right over it and was convinced it had damaged the tire. This morning it was still fully inflated. Phew!

3. I am thankful that the boys love legos. When shopping for Christmas it's so hard not to get sensory overload. Gary and I walk down the toy aisles and get very confused most of the time. For boys especially, there's so much stuff. Transformers, Star Wars, Bakugan, G.I.Joe, Pokemon, legos etc.... Gary thinks girls should feel like they can play with all that stuff but let's be honest - they're not very interested. So Gary and I can go pick them out a couple of lego sets and know they'll be ecstatic. Plus I feel like they can use their imagination with legos more than with other toys. Now if I could only get past the fact that we have legos in all four corners of the house and further afield. I feel like my whole life is picking up legos!

4. I am thankful for a peek at my friend's newborn baby today. I'm getting a little bit more baby hungry as the weeks are going by. I need to get excited since at times my apprehension about jumping back into the baby stage is quite significant. I'm used to life with no diapers for two years and full nights of sleep for four. Between my new Niece Cate and my friend's brand new little boy I think it's safe to say I'm ready to get show number 4 on the road.

5. I am thankful that I made way too much dinner yesterday. This may seem like a small thing but after a busy day I just couldn't face making dinner. I got out the leftovers for the kids and took a pass on everything that cooking entails - dishes, planning, etc...... I just had some toast myself about an hour ago and it was relaxing. I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veterans Day Program

Since the start of school, I have been getting up every Wednesday morning at what has seemed like the crack of dawn to drive Leia to choir practise which takes place an hour before school. I've often wondered what they were so busy practising and this evening we got to find out.

1. I am thankful that I agreed to let Leia do choir this year. It was an absolutely wonderful program and I'm sure there wasn't a dry eye in the place.

2. I am thankful that our friend Chris brought his camera to the program this evening. I decided against bringing mine because every time it seems we get stuck at the back and my pictures are awful. This time we got a front row seat shock horror and I was left wishing I had brought it after all. Chris agreed to take photos of Leia for me and he has some nice equipment!

3. I am thankful and proud that Gary is a Veteran. During the end number which was a mash up of all the branches of the military's theme songs, he could stand up and sing along.

4. I am thankful that our children have good reason to be proud of their father. He gives them reasons every day but tonight was special as we had a chance to talk about what it means to serve your country honorably, which he did for 9 years.

5. I am grateful for a school system that has these extra programs. Not only has Leia been singing every week but she has been learning about the history of our country in a different way which is more likely to mean more to her as she was actively participating by learning lines and songs for the program. It was honestly a delight to see her so animated and proud of herself. She stood on the front row of the choir as she is one of the littler ones and she stood there fearlessly and with such poise, especially when she delivered her line. I'm so proud of the way she is growing up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

England and stuff.

1. I am thankful for having grown up in England. I feel that living in America now, I have a more balanced viewpoint of many things that others do not and the media and other sources do nothing to clarify things for people.

2. I am thankful that growing up, my parents worked and we all went went to school within the same square mile. I have fond memories of walking with my parents either in the morning or evening on the way to school and work. I could always go over to my Dad's office at lunchtime when I was in High School if I ever needed anything. Or the elementary school where my Mum worked.

3. I am thankful for the appreciation I have of history. My childhood home is a few hundred years old and only gets better with age and love. I also had the opportunity while in High School to do an internship at the local Norman Castle (it dates back to somewhere between 1100-1400, can't quite remember the exact date). I also remember kissing Gary in the dungeons one time during a tour when they turned out the lights to show us what a medieval prisoner would have felt like!

4. I am thankful for the traditions that I brought with me from England. Especially Christmas traditions. As the holidays approach I'm feeling that familiar excitement that comes with recreating the fun we always had growing up. From advent to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", to crackers and family recipes.

5. I am thankful for the incredibly strong church environment I grew up in. Our church community called a Stake was simply the best. In England, with cultural differences comes a slightly different experience than that which exists here. I only hope that my children will make as strong friendships as I did through the church. As an adult and knowing very few people in the Stake it's hard to gauge whether the closeness among friends I experienced will be similar for them here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

WARNING. Post of a personal nature.

Today in church I was talking to a friend who's father is sick. As we were talking my mind naturally turned to my Dad and how much I miss him. It's been over a year now since he died. About 8 months ago I wrote a letter to my Dad as a way to express my feelings and get down on paper a little of who he was and the difference he had made to my life. I have thought many times about what I would do with the letter. It's just been sitting on my desktop. I decided today to post it as part of my month chronicling things I am thankful for. There are more than 5 things in this letter that I am thankful for. The letter is of a personal nature and I have struggled over whether to post it or not but I want people to know how I felt about Dad and the kind of person he was.

Dear Dad

I’ll always remember you sitting on the shore of Lake Ullswater, with your watercolors beside you. The rest of us would sit somewhere close by enjoying the unsurpassed beauty. While we only looked at it, you could capture it forever. People would pass by and often stop to admire your work. I always felt such pride in your talents. My Dad was an artist. I don’t think I have as much talent as you did in your little finger but the urge to create I know came in the most part from you. Once we all got older it became a sort of competition as to who had the most originals by Alan Boycott. Being the eldest and the one to get married and create a home first I was always winning. The paintings and drawings you made especially for me will always rank amongst my most treasured possessions. I can’t ever pass a day without thinking of you since your work takes pride of place on my walls.

I’ll never forget how much you loved me and how my insignificant problems, mostly during those turbulent school days affected you. It was hard for you to see me upset and crying. When a boy at school pushed me into a locker and I came home with a bruise on my arm, you called his parents and made sure it would never happen again. That kind of thing shapes a young 15 year old girl. I felt secure in the affection and protection of my father. I know that I often wished that I would get the amount of pocket money you wanted to give me instead of the amount suggested by Mum. It was a ridiculous amount but that’s how indulgent you were.

Of course, we have spent our most memorable moments together while I have been an adult. Our relationship turned into a trusted friendship and you became an advisor and counselor to Gary and me as we embarked upon our own adventures as parents. It has meant so much to me that Gary would trust you with all his questions on religion and indeed any topic at all. And the children loved you so much. One of my most favorite memories ever, is of Spencer hanging around you all day hoping for a sip of your root beer. Grandad Alan is a person who was cherished. It was truly a treat for the children to know that you and Grandma Shirley would be visiting soon.

I often reflect on how it was that you always won when the four of us sat down to play hearts. Isn’t it a game of chance? Whether it is or not, you always defied the odds and chuckled heartily over the losers, often me and Mum. I wonder what you are excelling at now? I’m sure it’s everything you do. You know, it seems to me as your daughter who obviously thinks you can do no wrong, that there wasn’t one thing you couldn’t have done had you wanted to. One of your talents which I believe has more value than even the artist in you was your ability to love others and make them feel important. One Sunday, during the time I was in England for Rachel’s wedding, you were giving a talk in church. You were the last one to speak, and when you got up, you wove effortlessly into your talk some of the points made by the previous speakers and mentioned them by name. Who doesn’t want to feel like their remarks have been taken note of and appreciated? I told you how great I thought it was. I hope you always knew how much I respected you and looked up to you.
Since you left us, I have reflected on our last holiday together to Sevierville, Tennessee. It has taken on a whole new significance in my mind. I wish I had not been so full of my own troubles and cares of the day. Instead of sitting on the porch of the cabin and just enjoying your company I was stressing about things that have of course worked out. And that’s what you told me anyway. I treasure the memory of walking down the street in Gatlinburg with your arm through mine. You seemed frail during that last visit and I suppose I tried not to dwell on it. I had such high hopes that the operation would strengthen you somehow and maybe you could retire that walking stick. I remember what a pain it was that you left your walking stick at the house when we drove to Tennessee. But now I am glad because I have the two replacements you bought in my closet. They come out when we go hiking with the children and we talk about you and feel you near.

It’s so hard not to feel bitter at times. It seems so unfair that you had to leave us so soon. My children are only 7, 5, and 3. How long will it be before they cannot remember their interactions with you and a photograph is the only reminder they will have? Do I not need my father? I am only 29 and have much of my life to live. I will need your wisdom so much more in the coming years and you will not be there to share it with me. Where is the mercy of our Heavenly Father? Mum is now alone and the mission you had planned to serve together will be undertaken without you. The pain I feel is magnified by the worse pain I know Mum is feeling. But then I was sitting with Mum over Christmas and looking at the mountains. I had a moment of clarity. Heavenly Father’s mercy has been for you and you have needed it so much more than any of us left behind.

Your health problems over the years were sometimes so awful. I knew when I had to cut your fingernails for you, because you had so little feeling left in your hands, it wasn’t much fun for you even though I was more than happy to do it. There’s only so much physical pain a person can experience and you Dad had so much more than your fair share. You endured it without complaining. I’m ashamed to admit it but it often frustrated me how slow you walked or what you couldn’t do with the rest of us. I remember wanting you to come on a roller coaster with us at Alton Towers when I was a kid. You did it but suffered afterwards. In Tennessee last summer, I’ll never forget how you needed to stop and rest after only walking 100 yards or so. The operation was going to have to work spectacularly well or the future for you would have been uncertain and not a little bit scary. Instead our Heavenly Father welcomed you into his rest. Are you now walking tall? I can see you loving others somewhere out there and whilst I’d much prefer you to be here with us, perhaps you are needed and are happy in the work that you are doing. I do know that you suffer no more pain and who am I to wish you here again in your body that just seemed to let you down.

But I miss you so much. Even six months after you left, I still cannot think about you without the tears blurring my vision and an ache in my chest. I have wanted to write this for such a long time but have been almost dreading it. It’s easier for me to avoid pain and that is what I have been doing. I long for the day when I can think about you and talk about you without feeling so much pain. That day has to come I just don’t know when it will.

As I said before I hope that you always knew how much I love you and how I am so grateful that you are my Dad. You inspire me to live my life to a higher standard and to love others unconditionally. When I saw how many people came to honor you at your funeral, I was filled with pride for the person you were as well as an intense wish to be like you.

Once upon a time you said you wanted to write a novel. That’s always been one of my own ambitions. If I ever finish my book, I will dedicate it to you for you inspired me, not just with your own creativity but with the way you lived your life.

I can’t wait for the day when I will see you and put my arms around you once again. It’s this knowledge that makes me truly happy. How could I not live my life with joy having had you in my life, even if it was only for 28 short years?

Until we meet again, I love you Dad with all my heart.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Castlewood Canyon State Park

1. I am thankful for days in November where we can go hiking. The weather today was fantastic yet last week we had a pretty crazy snow storm!

2. I am thankful that we live in Colorado. It is such a beautiful state and we have so many places to go on the weekends with the children.

3. I am thankful that my children shout for joy when we suggest hiking and a picnic as a weekend activity.

4. I am thankful for a healthy pregnancy where I can go hiking in rocky terrain without much discomfort.

5. I am thankful for a cosy house to come home to when I am tired and have sore feet.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

I am thankful.

1. I am thankful that this morning during the two hour delay before school, Leia made herself a crown out of paper with Queen Elizabeth written across it. And then she wore the crown to school. She wore it proudly on the school bus. She doesn't seem to let what anyone else would think bother her. I hope she is always like this.

2. I am thankful that Gary took a good portion of the Halloween candy out of the house today and it's not going to be wasted. I'd rather he and a friend eat it during a game night than have to fight with the kids about it for who knows how long.

3. I am thankful for my car pool and the two girls I do it with. The trip to Nathan's pre-school takes about 15 minutes one way and without the car pool, I would have to drive Nathan to school and back three times a week. As it is I only have to do the journey once a week and then on my off days, like today I can take a nap if I need to. That's gold to me right now. I slept well again last night but when 12.30pm rolled around I could hardly keep my eyes open. Growing a person literally sucks all the energy out of me.

4. I am thankful that Gary and I decided to try civilian life. I can easily credit the military with helping a very unfocused 20 something Gary to make some goals and follow through with his education but with what's going on in the world right now, I know that we made the right decision for our family. We can be together and the kids (especially the boys) who desperately need attention from their father always have it.

5. I am thankful that my kids will eat healthy food. Tonight I made a pork roast with potatoes and carrots. I also steamed some broccoli on the side. I serve the kids first so their food can cool a little. While I was serving Gary and myself, the kids were sitting at the table with their plates. Usually they'll wait for us to join them before we begin. By the time I had served Gary and I and we sat down, Nathan had stuffed all his broccoli into his mouth and was looking guilty as if he had sneaked some of my chocolate chips I use for baking. I couldn't be mad.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jigsaws, teeth, sweet boys, yoghurt, pancakes?

I'm really tired today even though I slept well last night. I think it's going to be this way for the next few months whatever I do. I keep meaning to get started on the baby's scrapbook but by the time 4 or 5pm rolls around I just want to get on the couch and stay there all evening. I've started all the baby's scrapbooks before they arrived and with Leia, Spencer, and Nathan I even made about 50 handmade birth announcements which we mailed out. Thinking about that this time kind of makes my head spin. I think for birth announcements it's going to have to be an emailed smilebox or something. Anyway I digress.........

1. I am thankful that Nathan would rather sit down and put together a jigsaw puzzle than watch TV. I have been guilty of using the TV as a babysitter so I can get things done and while he will happily watch Tom and Jerry or Spongebob, he'd much rather be doing something else. I am so looking forward to finding him a fun puzzle or two for Christmas. Today I found these Spongebob puzzles for just over $1. They were Halloween merchandise and were intended for handing out as Treats.

2. I am thankful for the simple joy of a tooth that under the pillow will bring Spencer some money to put toward a Transformer he's been saving for. When he came to me saying it was ready to come out, I gave it a wiggle and realized that it wasn't ready. He was not to be put off. He wanted that money. He convinced Daddy to get it out. He didn't flinch or cry or anything. Gary had to really put some elbow grease into it and he said he heard some snapping/popping sounds as it came out. I didn't witness the extraction if you're wondering. Maybe we have an entrepreneur in the family?

3. I am thankful that whenever Spencer prays he says "Please help Mommy's baby come out safely" and if one of the other kids is praying, he makes sure he stands next to them to whisper this line in their ear so they don't forget to say it. Underneath all the power struggles I've had with this stubborn little boy he is so sweet and loving. I can't wait to see him with his new brother.

4. I am thankful for Whole Foods. Not only do they sell fantastic fresh organic produce, they also sell Greek Style Yoghurt, something I haven't been able to find since leaving England. If you've never had Greek Style Yoghurt you need to try it. I'm on this probiotics mission right now as I tested positive for group B strep when pregnant with Nathan. I had to stay an extra day in the hospital and it was horrible. If I could leave hours after having the baby I would. I'm hoping against the evidence (my doctor said that eating yoghurt wouldn't make a difference) that regularly eating yoghurt will hopefully help me test negative this time. And since I'm not a huge yoghurt fan, at least not the flavored kind, I am grateful that I can get Greek Style yoghurt because I could eat it every day of the week. Also, I figured out that Nathan's missing jacket was lost when we were there last week and sure enough we were able to retrieve it when we went there today.

5. I am thankful for scheduled late starts for school. This morning I was just not ready to get up at 7am. The kids were quietly watching TV and the breeze coming through my window felt great. Tomorrow, I expect the kids will wake up and decide to have a disco downstairs but at least I won't have to rush around. Breakfast might even be pancakes if the kids are lucky!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day two.

Day two. I've been thinking about this on and off all morning. Nothing really jumped out at me but here goes.

1. I am so thankful for my children. It's actually very easy to feel an outpouring of love for them when they are all three at school and I have been wandering around Hobby Lobby! I decided to go and get the new baby's scrapbook today and get started since I have all the great ultrasound pictures of him. As I was walking around the store, the little guy was jumping around and I was reflecting on the privilege it is to be a mother and to be able to experience being pregnant.

2. I am thankful for my Snoogle pillow. I have been having a hard time with hip pain at night and am frequently turning over to get relief as well as going back and forth to the bathroom. I was about to buy a used pillow on ebay but then decided the germ-o-phobe in me which is actually not that dominant really needed a new one. The only place in town to get a Snoogle as far as I know is at Burlington Coat Factory for any of you that are interested so we headed out there after Gary got home from work. It worked great. My discomfort was reduced by 80% overnight. I just have to get used to less space in bed with me Gary and the Snoogle.

3. I am thankful for my favorite radio station, BPM which is commercial free and plays only music I love all day long. There's just something about driving down the road with the music turned up loud which makes me feel on top of the world.

4. I am thankful for sharing interests with my daughter. Last night we watched Dancing with the Stars together. I love it when she snuggles with me and she still has her thumb in her mouth after 8 years.

5. The random things that make me think of Dad. More on that another time.

As I read back over what I've written it sounds like a an ad for body pillows and radio stations but sometimes it's the little things that we forget to notice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


A friend is blogging about five things a day this month that she is thankful for. She said she would love to have others do the same and after a hard year for me I think I need to do this myself. I'm not always that peppy positive sunshiny person I should try to be more like. I know this frustrates Gary as he is often left to do the positive thing for the both of us. I'm not going to play catch up for the last few days but just get started from here. I'm going to be serious most of the time but throw in a few things that are just for fun.

1. I'm SO thankful for an offer on our house. After 15 months characterized by stress, financial craziness, renters from hell, and many unwanted tears and fights, the inspections have been done, they still want the house and there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. (Here comes my pessimistic side thinking I hope it doesn't go wrong now I've finally articulated what's going on in a public setting!)

2. I am thankful for the sunshine in Colorado. It brightens my day when gloomy thoughts want to get in. There's nothing worse than grey skies for day after day. This is the first place I've lived where it seems to be as sunny in Fall/Winter as it is in Spring/Summer.

3. I am thankful for a niece with beautiful dark hair. Me, my sister and brother are all blonde (with a bit of red on my brother's noggin). Then I produced three unmistakable blondies. My sister then had Max who is blonde with another hint of red. We were happily surprised when baby Cate came out with dark hair. My sister had a short labor and is recovering so well which is another thing to be thankful for.

4. I am thankful for Nathan, my little buddy who is with me most of the day and keeps me laughing. Whether it's going to the store in his dog costume when it's not Halloween or sitting and laughing his head off at Tom and Jerry, he really is a mood enhancer (until 6pm when he won't sit still and eat dinner - then I need my adult time back!).

5. I am thankful for Borders Rewards. Every week I get a 30% off or 40% off coupon for one item. I've been buying books and things for the kids for Christmas here and there without ever having to pay full price or shipping. I hate last minute scrambling in December and this makes me feel organized and thrifty. Now if only I could get everything for Christmas in Borders!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat!

Leia, our Monarch Butterfly

Nathan, our spotty dog.

Spencer, our Wolverine.

All ready to go.

Off to a strong start.

They were racing from house to house. Candy helps with the energy levels.

Our friend had hot chocolate and marshmallows to roast on his fire. Nathan preferred to add his marshmallow to his pumpkin.

Updating me on his stash.

Our friend's beautiful dog.

Nathan ran out of steam early. I brought him home and all the way he kept saying he wanted to drink root beer before bed. I kept telling him we didn't have any and he said it was in his pumpkin. Sure enough he had a can of A&W in his pumpkin. A great way to end the evening. He was SO tired and fell asleep immediately after!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Pumpkin Fairy.

About a week ago we had a visit from the pumpkin fairy (aka our friend Rosalia!). It was just in time for us to plan our annual pumpkin carving night. Everyone was in truly high spirits, even Nathan who came home from school with a temperature. It looks like he is the third and final child to succumb to the dreaded bug going through the family. First of all we made some caramel apples. They are so yummy. We used sour Granny Smith and the sweet/sour taste is wonderful.
Then we got to carving. I was so proud of Leia and Spencer who each carved their pumpkins solo this year. Gary carved a great design and I helped Nathan with his.
At the end of the night we all enjoyed our apples before we tucked the kids up in bed. As much fun as this undoubtedly is, the mess and planning is incredible. I am SO exhausted and have a low back ache. I'm surprised I even did this post but then again all I've had to move for this is my fingers. THANK GOODNESS!