balance.

It’s crazy that the girls have less than two weeks left until they’re back at school.  If anyone asked I’d say I’d just got back from Soul Survivor, but in fact we’ve been back for over three weeks.  The summer holidays have FLOWN over.

Ruby had her fifth birthday last week and we took her and her sister to Manchester to pick out a new outfit for their Build-a-bear teddies (the cashier stood Roo on the counter, stopped everyone in the store to sing happy birthday to her.  Personally I would have died of horror but she took it in her stride as though she were the queen) and to climb another 12m climbing wall.  Both girls climbed for the first time in July at a camp with ‘the big kids’ and were desperate to do it again.

 

FYI, it is really tough finding places that will let Ruby climb.  So I was over the moon when I saw that Chill Factore let them climb from age five.

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They both had a mental block 2/3 of the way up but pushed on through to the top.  Stubborn, like their mother.

Now that the weather is being as indecisive as I am, I’m ready for autumn.  I’m ready to wrestle myself into skinny Jeans.  I’m ready to wear boots again.  I’m ready for knowing it will be cooler.  I’m not ready for the countdown to Christmas which I caught on twitter yesterday – no.  Not in August.  Cooler autumnal days yes, Christmas, no.

There are loads of exciting things coming up over the next sixth months with work/church that I’m chomping at the bit to get going on, but I know there’s the risk of imbalance.  Of getting home, particularly when the dark evenings draw in, and crashing until bed time (unless it’s already bed time when I get home).  There’s a risk of being all work and no ‘home’.  I can’t say all work and no play because most of my ‘job’ feels like play because I love doing what I do.  But I do need to ‘do’ home too.  Family, friends, laughter, downtime, adventure.

I’ve written before about being intentional with our time.  Making it count.  That’s what got me started on my challenge -30.  And so in this next season I’m conscious again of the need to be intentional at home, to dream and then pursue those dreams no matter how trivial or outlandish they may be (I think it’s good to have both types of dreams).  And it’s ok if those dreams are meaningless or maybe even nonsensical to others.  I’m pretty sure no one else would get why I’m super excited to start a compost bin.  And I’m ok with that.  It’s my (albeit little) dream, I own it, so I can own the excitement too.  🙂

Sidenote: Regardless of how unimpressed or indifferent you are to my compost-bin-to-be, that won’t stop me from blogging all about it in all it’s worm infested glory.

It’s funny how, when you have babies, you fantasize about all the time you will have to yourself when they get older.  But you forget the minute detail that at least babies sleep for intervals through day.  Older Children don’t.  I used to get a blog post rolled out during a half hour nap AND have time left over to go to the loo.  I had it down.  And then these sleeping beauties….stopped sleeping.  During the day that is.  I have to be fair, they’re awesome at sleeping at night.  But during the day, they’re awake, like all the time.  While I love my girls so very very dearly and genuinely enjoy their company, over the summer I juggle my job and these two non-day-sleeping beauties.  So there have been a great many times that they have had my undivided attention, but a also a load of times that I have really needed to sit and concentrate.  I keep expecting them to just decide to take themselves off a read a good book, or do a cross word, maybe ask their sister for a quiet games of chess or something.  But no, most of the time it will be gymnastics.  On my lap.  So today is a typical day with non-napping kids, and it’s taken four sittings to write these ramblings.

I’m sure when they’re teenagers life will be a doddle…Ha.

so did I mention I’m starting a compost bin?

real.

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This is what we saw when we opened the curtains this morning.  Getting kids to school in this rain is tough and I was so grateful that grandma and grandad helped me out picked the girls up.  The Husband is based at home this week (to sleep) but is out of the house to Liverpool before I wake up.  So I’m super happy to be in my PJs in my warm house, sitting with ice on my back.

I read on another blog that (I don’t know the source) Some poll/research looked at American women’s mental health and it concluded that one of the contributing factors to their low self esteem and depression was…blogs!! Apparently they read blogs, all rosy and full of organised perfection and compare their lives to this.  It made me more determined to whine and vent as much as sharing some great stuff I’ve learnt and experienced.  I want to bring the good the bad and the ugly to the table.

Sometimes we think we’re the only ones struggling with something so it must be something to do with us. In reality there a gazillions of people facing the same thing. Sometimes just being reminded of this can help. A bit like when you see another child taking a tantrum in the supermarket and you’re relieved and encouraged that that (a) its not just your children that do that and (b) its not you that has to deal with that right now. 

No-one’s life is rosy and perfect.  There’s always some amount of disorganisation, relational problems, personal disasters, tragedy and mess.  There’s always some mess.  As I mum I feel like I’m constantly battling against mess.

Last week The Husband was away Sunday to Thursday.  If my back was not as weak and causing so much pain, this would have been much easier – but it was so if I’m honest it was really tough.  When the girls were home I kept asking them to help me keep the house tidy.  They’re 4 and 6.  Right now its’ in their DNA to make mess.

Those first two mornings it felt like my girls didn’t listen to a thing I asked them to do.  I had to get ready myself to get them to school so I was having to move them on from another room.  At one point I called the girls upstairs to brush their teeth – and nothing.  After about four times of calling them I went to investigate.  I found Chloe was half dressed and Ruby was walking around with a lamp shade on her head.  Only it was bigger than her head so fell down to her shoulders.  It looked like the lamp shade was her head.

I was stressed and I was crossed. I started telling them off and didn’t finish until we arrived at school in the car.  We were running late and all the children were in the classrooms when we got there. I was stressed and all clammy from rushing. As I walked out of school I immediately felt relieved that the panicked rush was over.  I saw another mum heading towards me with her son in tow, rushing into school. I wanted to hug her and say “You’re me five minutes ago!!”.

All day it was all I could think about.  Yes, they should have helped me out a bit more.  Chloe is old enough to get herself ready for school and in the main she does.  Ruby is old enough to know that lamp shade do not in fact belong on your head.  But I wasn’t reacting to them – I was reacting to my anxiety/stress.  I felt awful about it.

I needed to make it right.  I needed to just love on them.

There’s a little cupcake shop in the village.  Part of me hates paying 1.50 for a cupcake when I could make a whole batch myself – but the girls LOVE it when they get to have a cupcake there.  So on the way to pick them up from school I called in and got some.

We got home, sat on the floor in the living room and I said I was sorry.  And I got the cupcakes out.  It felt good just being mummy and nothing else.  Not hurrying somewhere.  Not stressed about getting something done.  just being mummy, playing dominoes and eating cupcakes (which I reluctantly admit taste amazing).

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choice.

I’ve been spending a good amount of my days here…

 

I’ve definitely been bitten by the sewing bug. I made another skirt – this time for Chloe.  I went to fleetwood market and made my first fabric purchase.

 

As soon as I saw this seersucker  (no idea why it’s called that. anyone?) I knew Chloe would love it.  Granted, I did make it a little too long because I was over-concerned about making it too short, AND it’s a little see through (I’m going to cut up a pillow case to line it somehow), but I’m still happy with it.  And the major test –     Chloe loved it too. I only bought a meter of the seersucker, and kinda wished I’d bought more.

A chiropractor came over a few days ago and straight away identified a couple of things wrong with my back.  He said it’s all fixable and would like to see major improvement over a coupld of sessions.  Hurray – I was so relieved just to finally have some kind of answer and possible solution.  He warned me that over the next few days I’ll feel like I’ve been kicked by a horse and I woke up yesterday feeling just like that.  I kept checking in the mirror to see if there was bruising because it felt that tender. Today though my back doens’t feel anywhere near as bad and I’ve been warned to do very little.  This is way harder than you think it would be!

Half an hour after the Chiropractor left the post came through the letterbox and amongst the junkmail was a letter from the Pain Management Service.  It was confirming that I’ve been referred by the consultant and letting me know that there would be a 28 WEEK wait until my first appointment.  Yes 28 WEEKS. I just don’t have the words for that.  Actually I do because I emailed my MP about it!  Had I not felt so positive from the chiropractor I would have been in a pretty grim place after reading that letter.

But instead of feeling all narky over the NHS I’ll choose to be positive.  That choice is powerful.

Five on a friday: Five things I’m looking forward to this next week:

*  Guilt-Free Rest (When I’ve struggled with standing I have always felt so guilty and lazy, but rest is what the chiropractor has called for so sitting down now I feel like I’m kind of contributing to my recovery)

*  Having some time with my parents while the girls are at school (They’re coming to help while Rob is away)

*  Starting to see all the decorating coming together, there may even be yellow on the kitchen walls!

*  Having a One-Tree-Hill free mind (this last week I’ve been watching the very last episodes ever online, so I’ve felt a little consumed with the drama.  It’s that same bitter sweet feeling as finishing a good book – you’re sad it’s over but relieved that you can return to reality again!

*  Thinking of creative little ways to celebrate Chloe’s birthday in a couple of weeks.  Time to get planning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

skirt.

Today is a memorable day.  I, me, all by myself made a skirt.  A real skirt.

(Added later: looking at the blog, the pictures above look totally different colour, I know! That’s how frustrating my camera is without natural light.  It’s like the opposite of a vampire.  So the real colour is somewhere in bewteen the two pictures.)

Credit to a very cool lady called Dana who created what she calls ‘A simple skirt’ (which I think is absolutely hilarious right now – she once made this skirt in something like 20 minutes and it took me at least three hours in total).  This skirt is for Ruby – it’s very much a ‘Ruby’ fabric.  I really wanted it to be done ‘properly’ rather than just ‘making do’.  I took her advice of adding an extra row of stitches above the hem and I like it.  At the end I struggled a little bit but it’s only because I thought there was a quicker route and the quicker route got me in trouble.  Moral of the story – just do as you’re told!

As I was sewing the elastic waistband in I was convinced I’d made it too short but when it was all finished and Ruby put it on – we’ll you see I had nothing to worry about:

Ooo-ooo-ooo, I wanna be like you-ooo-ooo!

Chloe and I had a morning in bed today.  Roo went shopping with Grandma, The Husband was at a meeting and the best I could do was cuddle up with my baby girl.  I’m in a load of pain so my words may be be nonsensical, I am writing as I’m thinking.

Chloe was singing and I told her she had a beautiful voice.  She said maybe she’d be famous someday.  It stopped me in my tracks as I considered Chloe’s thoughts and aspirations.  Was she thinking about Little mix? Cheryl Cole?  Lady Gaga?!?! I knew she’d grow up to be a proper little girl at some point but its really crept up on me in a weird kind of way! I mean, she is at an age of observing, chewing it over and potentially imitating.  She is at an age when role models become significant.

Eek.  Role models.  Other people apart from her close family will influence how she behaves, what she likes and how she talks.  This is pretty big stuff.  Of course her peers influence her too – she came home last week and told me that her best friend had pulled her to one side and declared to Chloe that she loved Zach.   They’re five.  You could see that rolling around Chloe’s mind as she considered what ‘love’ meant.

But adults – teachers, pop singers and people around Emmanuel are going to start seriouslly imacting this little mind.

I showed her a youtube clip of a woman called Kari Jobe.  She’s an american  worship leader.  She’s young (relatively) loves to glam it up a little and is 100% sold out for Jesus.  I follow her on twitter and her attitude is always gentle and positive.  She’s not got super powers and she’ll mess up like all of us but her heart is after God.  No doubt a load of young girls who know her will look up to her and she’s the kind of person I want my girls to look up to. I want them to know that they can follow after God’s heart and have fun with their hair and clothes that express their character.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about Kari Jobe.  Man alive, I’m a youth worker and with all the modesty in the world, I know that the words I use around my young people really matter.  My attitude matters to them.  Am I being an appropriate role model, particularly to my girls in our youth group?  That’s something I really need to think about because the thought of me turning them off christianity and away from Jesus makes me feel sick.

In the Bible when Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi he wrote this

 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (philippians 4:8)

I reckon if Paul was around today he’d be encouraging christians to to find people that inspire them to walk what they talk, and that direct them straight back to God.  I also reckon he’d be urging us adults to man up and be aware that what we say and do and how we do it is being watched by young impressionable eyes.

Very Impressionable indeed.  I have know idea who has inspired Ruby to call most of her Teddies (and herself when she’s playing mums and dads)  ‘Tree’.  That’s not completely fair.  She does have a teddy called Habbit.

Here’s the clip I showed Chloe: