April.

A quarter way through 2012.  The weather has been teasing us with glimpses of summer and causing optimists to don their shorts.  The sunshine is serious medicine for all ailments.  I read a blog this week that said if there were to be a tangible way for God to hug us it would feel a bit like standing in the sunshine.  I like that.  I’m declaring April to be a good month.  It will still require patience and grace and good old fashioned hard work, but I’m stepping limping into it with a glass-half-full attitude. For us as a family it will be the month for:

Decorating.  We’ve made the decision to take the plunge and work through the whole of the downstairs.  You know that difficult decision where to repaint the woodwork up to?  It runs through the whole house so you do a door, and then right next to the door looks grubby so you do that skirting board, but then the next door needs doing, and urgh!!  We’ve been really fortunate that we’ve been in this house for six years and because it was in such good condition when we moved in we havnt’ needed to do anything (we have done stuff – but we didn’t need to).  But now, everything’s looking a bit worn and tired.  It just means it’s been thoroughly lived in – I mean everyone has shoe prints on their walls, right?  Plus we ripped out half the kitchen a little while ago…We should really do something about that.  The plasterer will be here next Tuesday and that will mark the start of the big makeover.  No doubt we will be pulling in our youth group for some good ol’ child labour.

Frugal Living. How many times a week can you get away with feeding your kids pasta? Five? six? Kidding. Kind of.  But we’re going to be spending cash only, and seriously asking Martin Lewis’ question of do I really need it? I hate that.  Do I really need it?  No I don’t need that cute pair of earrings and no I realise I do not need that magazine… Uh.  A little while ago we were talking with our youth group about anger and what really ticks uss off.  The Husband said it makes him really mad that decisions should not be based on money but so many are.  Perspective Heather, perspective.  So thrifty will be the word this month, and we’ll pursue it with smiles on our faces.

knitting. I could sit and get lost in Ravelry for a whole evening but I find lovely patterns then they’re all on circular needles, and I don’t know how to use them yet! When I was last in my local knitting shop the lady was talking me through knitting a cardigan for Chloe.  I really want to make her one for her 6th birthday, and the knitting lady (I should really find out her name!) said it would be way easier to start with a child’s cardigan if you’ve not done one before.  So I’ll get on with that soon.  It won’t be long before I start looking around for christmas present Ideas.  That’s weird I know.

DIY. This is linked with the thriftiness I guess.  When you don’t have surplus money to buy nice things, you go and make them yourself.  I’ve started making up some bunting from old clothes,  I’m making the girls some sweet stuffed toys and I’m going to make me a chalk board (I know that’s bad grammar, I was saying/writing it in a southern american accent.  Of course.)!

Physical Wellbeing.  This is a risky one.  Of course there’s no guarantees.  But I’m speaking out my faith that God can just heal me like that (I just clicked my fingers).  The bible tells us about a horrid king (I’m paraphrasing) threatening some God-followers with the fiery furnace if they didn’t bow down and worship him and idols.  They said this:

“The God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

How awesome is that?? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – cool names guys, and I salute you for your attitude. I know God is good.  And he is so able.  I don’t get it but still I trust.  And even if my back continues to hurt I am choosing not to turn my face from his.

There is stuff in my control though.  I’m pretty sure the extra ‘chocolate’ weight I’m carrying around me won’t help my back, so it’s back to that old chestnut! I think I’m possibly the worlds worst yo-yo diet-er.  Today my back tooth (that should have been taken out two years ago) has started to hurt right down to my jaw.  I think this eating deterrent, though not invited, may help to stop me eating junk food!

So how is April going to be for you?

mosey down memory lane: 2006

I have very few pictures of me pregnant with Chloe.  Oh boy was I sick!  And tiny.  I hated it when people told me so but my bump was miniscule.  This was me 8 months pregnant when we left our first house to our current one:

Some friends came over to help The husband rebuild our bed.  I had been sitting of the small set of drawers you can see in the background.  It had a glass sheet and sitting on it cracked it.  It used to have a tv on and it was fine but it seems me and Chlo were just too much for it.  The carpet was a safer place for me.  It makes me laugh because my tummy is probably the same size now as it was then, but no baby this time!

So yeah, we moved house when I was getting ready to pop.  We can’t be the only crazy couple to do this.  But we were definitely prepared and had a cradle set up in the first house just in case.

But Chloe didn’t come early.  She was five days late.

And when she finally decided to make an appearance she took her time about it, and dilly dallied for 30 hours.  But then…….!!!!!

And finally, 2006 also welcomed the gorgeous and lovely Kim into the Steward family when she married Chris, The husband’s big brother.  Canada is waaaaaay to far away guys!!

Spring.

We have cream curtains in our bedroom and I love that I’m being woken up by natural lightin the mornings now. love love love.  I don’t even mind that’s it a little too early.  Spring definitely in the air and for very brief moments we even get sunshine here and there.  I’m feeling the need to wear pretty pastels and floaty clothes…

coral!, created by heather-steward

 

But my newly expanding shape ** is restricting me to wearing the few clothes that fit me which happen to be black, brown or navy blue.  And big furry boots.  Uh.

** (I’m not pregnant, I’ve just put on weight – I like to blame all the medication because weight gain is listed in the leaflet as possible side effects, and I’m pretty sure it has nothing at all to do with copious amount of chocolate I’m eating)

It’s funny how tastes change.  As a kid a detested floral pattern and anything chintzy, leaving it to the grannies and those strange people who appeared to mismatch on purpose.  And I hated peach and coral.  To me they weren’t real colours, they weren’t pink and they weren’t orange, they were just experimental mistakes when people were mixing paint.  But now.  Now I’m saving money only to go and buy those same floral patterns I used to turn my nose up at.  And I don’t know what’s come over me but coral is totally brightening my days.  At a clothes store there was a section of jewelry all pastel colours.  I just stood in front of it and looked for about ten minutes. And I have a new nail varnish that is coral and I love it.  So the moral of the story is……flowery chintz and coral is only for the cool kids.

I had my MRI yesterday and it was totally fine.  I was so worried I’d take a hissy fit in there.  I used to have a recurring dream that I was in one of those water slides that are closed up and it was the end of the day and the staff were putting on lid-type things on the ends of the water slide and so I’d be stuck in there. Oooph, I feel jittery kust thinking about it.  So that’s why I was worried but it was way shorter that I thought.  My feet even hung out of the end, and although my head was inside it felt ok.  They gave me a blanket and big headphones so I could listen to my CD – Soul survivor 2011 live album.  It was all good, and if I ever had to have another one I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

Right, I need to go and put another tester paint on the kitchen wall.  It’s starting to look a bit rainbowy in there.  Ruby wants pink.  But then she’s paint herself paink if she could.  in the end whichever colour I end up going for, you know it’s going to be……pastel!

 

Pinned Image

(from tech.net)

 

Mosey down memory Lane: 2005

I have a load of 2012 photos to show you all but until I get them from the camera, I’ll take a mosey back down memory laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaane (said with a funny weird voice).

2005.  Relief aid continued in the wake of the mammoth boxing day Tsunami that brought devastation to Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.  In all seriousness I remember watching Day after Tomorrow on Christmas night (not very festive I know) and and then waking up to hear all about the Tsunami – slightly unnerving.

But 2015 was way more than that.  David tenant was named the 10th Doctor who, Greece won the eurovision song contest and The Husband and I worked on our little 2-up 2-down home.  Rosie Posie the demon puppy (she’s the best grown up dog ever now though) came crashing into our lives and the husband and I hit the big one year mark as others took time in 2012 to say I do.  We holidayed in Wales (total jestsetters I hear you cry in jealousy) and in the September I found out I was pregnant (smile – it was a good discovery!).  I spent the rest of the year pretty much with my head in a bowl being sick.

so come with me to 2005…

 

(hugging my newly married brother after jumping a wall and running into the nearby pub to be sick)

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mosey down memory lane: 2004

I’ve been transferring a load of our photos from a near-t0-dying old laptop and it’s been so surreal reliving our 10 years together.  For this reason, and because I’m sick of moaning on about my back, that I’m sharing a few of those memories.

Starting with 2004.  The year we got married and the year we bought our first digital camera.

We didn’t get professional wedding pictures.  This was because we selected the cheapest photographer going who mysteriously disappeared after our wedding.  But hey.  We had a load of people send us there snaps so we love our ramshackle collection.

Later added because it was way to funny not to!:

Most of our pictures we’re goofing around because we didn’t quite know ‘how to behave at a wedding’.  When we cut the cake, we just looked around wondering what we were supposed to do.  Were we supposed to actually cut the cake or was it just for photographs?  And if we were supposed to cut the cake were we supposed slice it all up and hand it out?

We also laughed during our first dance.  We’re both kinda more silly disco dancers than smoochy smoochy slow dancers.

So we settled up all married and everything in Fulwood, Preston, and then we bought our first house in Blackpool.

I LOVED that house.  A little 2 up 2 down that had a strange part of the kitchen that brought weird smells from next door, and used to drive The Husband crazy.  The sound carried too so when our next door neighbour would shout up to her teenage daughter we would join in with her yells to “Samaaaaaaanthaaaa!” But we loved it, it was our little piece of space in the world.  I worked at the Hilton Blackpool back then as a reservations assistant to help pay for our new little home.  Fetching uniform.

So that was a whistlestop tour of 2004!

Up next – 2005 when were young and free and it was just the two of us.  Well kind of.  Chloe started to make an appearance half way through…

spring clean.

I’ve never really got it until this year.  This kinda yuks me out because it means I have let my family live in a dusty dirty winter-musty house all this time.  But this year – I’m all about the nesting.  No I’m not about to give birth, (although looking down I can only just about see my feet thanks to what Roo calls my ‘teeny tiny fat tummy’).  I just want to pick the whole house up and shake it clean.  That would just be silly, it’s a house, besides i have a bad back.  It all started when I cleared out under my bed.  I had no idea you could fit that much stuff in such a small space. Afterwards I felt so good about it. I kept walking past the bed to take a peek at the neatness.

We had some of our youth group over yesterday to help strip the wallpaper in the kitchen in the epic saga that is my kitchen renovation.

(stripping photos)

They were awesome.  So when all the stripping was done, we gleaned some more awesomeness from them and we headed outside to clear out the garage.

Yes.  I know.  There is lots of stuff.  It was a bit overdue.  But after two trips to the tip and a lot of hard work we could definitely see the light at the end of the very untidy tunnel.

There’s even space for me to do a load of projects.  I’ll be planting seeds soon but the biggest priority is to decide whether or not to paint the kitchen unit doors…

During all this hard work chloe was pottering around trying to save each item we were throwing away, insisting she could make use of it.  It had gone very quiet on the Ruby-front so I went to investigate.  I found her rollerskating in the living room.  As you do.

This afternoon I sat down to write a list and The Husband had to come and rescue me from death by panic.  You know that feeling when there are too many things to do you don’t know where to start?  Even if I did know where to start my body wouldn’t let me do much anyhow.

But really, it’s all good.  We have a warm home.  We have running water.  We have so much, and I will not allow the trivial to become meaningful.  When something stops being enjoyable it becomes a chore so I’m choosing to enjoy the process.  Some one once said life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain.

Six things on a sunday: what this week has in store…

1. Lots of (kid’s) party planning for Easter

2. Lot’s of thinking about colour and paint

3. Lots of knitting, I have a deadline looming!

4. Lots of concentration on a spreadsheet I need to have finished tomorrow

5. Lots of stretches (and starting to do my physio every morning again)

6. Lots of driving – up to Kendal over to the Lake district and back down again (yeay!)

rest.

Last week my mum came over and together we (and my two girls) drove back to my parents cottage in Yorkshire for some serious R&R.  On Friday I slept until ridiculously late and also managed to fit in an afternoon sleep.  The girls were just happy to be there so I was able to do a lot of this…

and making a lovely bum imprint on this…..

The girls and I shared a bed again and it literally was the little one saying roll over.

The Husband drove over on saturday after enjoying a nice lie in himself (bliss!!). He remembered a chat we recently had about there being very few photos of me and he thought he’d remedy that problem.

 

Nice.  Me at my best.

The short break must have worked because, although my back still hurts I felt my energy had been renewed.  I have figured that I could very easily stare at my the circumstances, [the pain and frustration around my back] but I’m choosing to remember Jesus in everything – in my family, in my awesome job, in my rest and in my creative frustrations.

[My friends [lightly] tease me because I knit and because I keep trying to convince everyone that since we were made by the ultimate creator, and that it says we are made in the image of him, then it seems only logical and natural for us to be creative in some way.  There are so many outlets for creative energy I just can’t imagine anyone not being able to find one that fits them.  Anyway, I digress.  So I’m often creatively frustrated be because the mass of ideas in my head far outweigh the time and capacity I have to nurture them.  So I have bought a notebook and at very least I can scribble down and try to unravel my thoughts, my ideas and my dreams.  I reckon it’s very healthy to have dreams – [though it is so important to keep them in perspective] – both tiny dreams, easy to catch, and seriously mahoosive dreams that motivate you to work hard and laugh hard.]

Matt Redman wrote these words that, after reading them today, realigned my mind and heart.

God in my hoping

There in my dreaming

God in my wathcing

God in my waiting

God in my laughing

There in my weeping

 God in my hurting

God in my healing