smugness and sleep.

Ok so The Husband has been away Jet setting for two days now, and we’re just turning in for night number three.

Night one started out great – in the lead up to bedtime I worked hard at making the downstairs neat and tidy and getting jobs done so I could enjoy a relaxed evening when the girls were in bed.  I was smug that I’d done it all by myself.  Go me.  But bedtime involved Ruby fighting sleep to the bitter end causing me to hide out in my bedroom.   My stupid mobile conked out in the middle of the night so we woke the alarm didnt work, making us wake up late and through the haze of pain and panic, the three of us stumbled around getting cross with each other.  No, thats not fair – I was getting cross at the girls, Chloe was decorating the bathroom with a roll of toilet roll and Ruby was walking around with a lampshade on her head – only it was too big so looked like the lampshade was her head.

On night two I took a different approach and made plans to stay upstairs hoping it would settle Ruby, so I ran a bubble bath.  Only she kept walking into the bathroom with life-threatening problems like she forgot to bath her baby so could she put her dolly in the bath with me(?) and she couldn’t sleep with the noise of the bath (!!!).  Eventually she gave in to slumber but by then I wasn’t moving anywhere from my bed.  Before I’d even put the light out she was crying in her sleep.  She has this thing – I’m pretty sure it’s not night terrors (Chloe had them) because although the answer to everything is ‘no!!’ she does respond when you ask her something.  Either way she gets’ seriosuly distressed.  You can see she just wants a little peace in that beautiful little heart of hers and then as her breathing regulates, slipping back into sleep she starts crying again.  So last night, I didn’t think twice to bring her in with me.  Hey, I’m in survival mode.  That would have been ok.  But then, in the middle of the night a noise woke me and I got the shock of my life to loook at the door and see Chloe just standing there.  Thankfully she’s only just woken up but she was all upset about a bad dream (I know everyone has their own ideas/position/opinions on how to deal with night time disturbances with their children.  You may be shouting at the screen that I’m making a rod for my back.  But sometimes you just got to go with your instincts, and I still vividly remember having horrible dreams as a child and the feeling you’re left with when you wake up in the middle of it is nothing short of awful, and you just need comfort).  At least with three of us in the bed we didn’t have to worry about sleeping in.

In comparison to night one and night two – tonight has been a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  Chloe was great, Ruby was great and I even made it downstairs.  I settled in on the sofa with my knitting and my laptop, ready for an evening of on-demand TV.  I rarely watch anything on schedule anymore, but I kinda like it that way.  It feels like I’m being purposeful with it and not watching the screen aimlessly.

I pottered around the kitchen for a while, tidying and getting the girls lunch boxes all prepped and in the fridge (a source of stree for the last two mornings!). I’d say I was feeling as smug as I felt on Sunday when I had everywhere nice and tidy and jobs done – but I knew where feeling smug had got me.

Its  now afterr 10.30 and the house is silent.  Why I’m still writing rather than going to sleep I have no idea.  I read on another blog earlier that this writer needs to offload whatever she is thinking in order for her mind to relax, and I so related to it.  For me it’s like lifting it out from my brain and onto the computer.  Absolutely therapeutic.

Also therapeutic is sleep, and I need that to keep going for the girls until The Husband comes home.  In another two days. So with that, I’m off!

Adios x

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2032: letter to a 24 year old Ruby.

My Dear Ruby,

We’ve just celebrated your 4th birthday and you threw yourself so much into it that you could hardly climb the stairs to bed in the evening.  This didn’t surprise us because you throw yourself into everything, rarely showing fear or uncertainty.  I love your courage and confidence and I’m praying that you’ve clung onto these over the years.

In your fist couple of years you’d cut our head open twice and dislocated your elbow.  I’m amazed that we’ve managed to keep you out of plaster casts so far.  When you were three the specialists were investigating your ears, balance and cognitive development because you were so accident prone.  All tests came back clear and you were officially diagnosed with clumsiness.

You have always captivated the attention and affection of everyone you meet.  People can’t help but smile when they listen to you.  I think of recently when we had some work done in the house and you couldn’t wait to pop your head around the door and meet the builders, and you delighted them within seconds, asking them what they were doing and telling them all about the picnic you were about to have.  You’re hilarious and your laughter is contagious.  Don’t let anyone put out that spark inside of you Rubes.  It’s what makes you so incredible.  You were fearfully and wonderfully created and God does not mistakes.  Be yourself and embrace all that you are my beautiful girl. 

Only, your not just a girl now are you?  I can feel a lump forming in my throat at the thought that you’ve developed into a young woman.  My baby, a grown up all in her own right.  I can’t help but wonder what you’ll be doing?  As I ponder over what career path you’ve decided to wander down, whether you’ve found the man of your dreams or you’re living it up as an independent woman, know that the good stuff is to be relished and all problems can be sorted out in some way.  Be respectful always and meet insults with grace.  Don’t hold onto hurts, it’ll only eat you up inside.  Protect your friendships, invest in them and seek out the lonely.  Use that enormous heart of yours.    You were made with purpose so follow that Purpose, Rubes, and chase after God with all you have.

Know that your daddy and I have prayed for you since you came into existence and as you’ve gone through the joys and trials of growing up we’ve continually lifted you up to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Keep going, my girl! I hope you still love to hug and cuddle into those you love.  Continue to be courageous, to live loud, love hard and honour the Lord in everything.

With all my love,

 

Mummy x

Rested and Recharged.

(this post was written last week but Windows Live Writer was not my friends that day so I’ve had to shift some of the present tense stuff to past tense now just for it to make sense!)

We were nearing the end of our break.  The Husband will only relax when we’re away so when the option came up for a few extra days there it was a no brainer. 

It’s was awesome.  How crazy warm has it been?!  We tried to be creative and intentional with our time; keeping the balance of relaxing and making memories.

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We came home rested and recharged.

There was lots to look forward to when we came home.  Roo’s birthday was yesterday.  4 years old.  Yes 4.  She’s taking it in her stride, as she does with everything.

As shallow as it is, I can’t wait just to finish kitchen and the living room.  Our downstairs has been in upheaval all this year, and we’re soooooo close.  just a bit of painting here and sanding there and job will be a good’n.

I’m one of those saddos that always loved the beginning of the school year.  All those fresh crisp exercise books, sharpened pencils and new starts.  I still love them and make I have a habbit of forming a list of ‘resolutions’ as it feels just as much a start of a year than January to me.  But for Roo this year is an epic one.  Her very fist start of the school year.  Uniform and all.  Which reminds me that we’re yet to sort these out because we’ve been away…oops. It’s the beginning of an era for Roo and also for me; childless between the hours of 9.00-3.00 for the first time in six years.  No doubt I’ll be as crazy busy and rushing to be on time of everything as much as I’ve always been since I crashed into motherhood.

Since the summer our family has eaten stodgy, fatty, sugary goodness for breakfast, lunch and tea.  And in between.  So September will bring another season along with autumn; the season of healthy eating.  I’m not sure how long this season will last, but we’re all partaking in it!  Our house may be enjoying the freshness of new paint and new carpet but they’re wont be a sweet treat in the house! Uh, great.

The husband and I are bursting with ideas to weave into the kids and youth ministry into the year ahead, and more exciting is the load of ideas that have come from members of our team.  Youth work naturally runs alongside the school calendar, and since ‘employment-wise’ we started last September and we have been through the four seasons of a years’ youth work, so this feels a bit like the second chapter.  By the grace of God alone we’ve seen some awesome stuff so far and so we’re expectant of what is yet to come.

Home

 

I’ve always been a home bird.  I remember as a kid, rather than get excited about an impending sleep over I’d Mull over it anxiously.  It wasn’t anything specific, I just felt ‘lost’ even at the thought about being away from home.  And now, as an adult, with a family of my own, my heart still gravitates towards home.

Apart from a two day turnaround to wash the clothes, we’ve been ‘away’ for just shy of two weeks.  Yes that’s how sappy I am.  After 10 days of honeymooning, The Husband and I were longing to just be home and start our ‘home’ together.  Having VERY basic (icky) accomodation didn’t help either!

Having said that, I’ll be home for a couple weeks and start asking The Husband when we’ll next have a weekend away.  Because we live/work/play hard and fast, I’m all for short and regular(ish) breaks. 

When Chloe was very little, and new-parent-exhaustion was a part of everyday life,  The Husband and I intentionally arranged to go away for one night, twice a year.  Just us.  Springtime and Autumn.  It was awesome.  One time we went to London for 36 hours.  It was mental – involving a 6am train journey, lunch on Trafalgar square, WAY too much walking around in boots (I know, boots! why, I ask myself, why??) , a west end show, an overnight stay and then a whole day of exploring London before catching a 6pm train home.  London gave us so many wonderful memories, but it also gave me bronchitis that turned into pleurisy, ha! 

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Sorry, I got carried away – so yes, we used to try and get away fairly regularly  Most of the time it was just an overnight stay in a nice hotel.  Nothing extravagant, but somewhere with a good pool, good food and a good room!  It was a place to be Rob and Heather again.

We’ve not done that in over a year (or more?) and it’s something we want to start doing again.  We’ll have to be intentional about it because days turn into weeks that flow into months and it’s been another year.

This post was supposed to be about the things I’m looking forward to when I get home, but I reckon I’ve thought, typed and babbled on enough for now.

caffeine, cake and growing up.

Yesterday was my birthday. Anyone who asked was told I’m still working on perfecting 21.

I was actually unwell, a nice ol’ mixture of back/leg pain, accidentally drinking caffeine and maybe a virus.  It didn’t stop me enjoying a white chocolate and raspberry muffin, shopping for a while with my ma,  and heading out for KidsZone and The Hub in the evening.

There was a serious amount of love floating around the Emmanuel building.  Our young people brought cakes, chocolate, cards and gifts.  The cakes were like a modern day ‘5 loves and two fish’ – people sniffed them out from all over the building and filed in and out to get a slice and at the end of the night there was still half left of each.  A miracle I tell ya.

Had it been anyone else’s birthday I would have filled the post with pictures. But it was mine and so none were taken.  I keep trying to refresh my mental photos because I don’t want to lose them – the kids singing happy birthday, a stolen flower (from one of the vases) tucked in my hair, the looks on the faces of those who handed over gifts and cards, a little girl handing over a ‘birthday medal’ she’d made me. Sigh.

I wouldn’t have wanted to have been anywhere else.  People keep telling us how they appreciate te work we’re going with the kids and young people.  It’s humbling because we kinda feel like frauds.  The fact is it’s us that are grateful to be a part of something that is growing way past the efforts of a brummie boy and a mackem girl.

Gush gush gush and more gush.

So, 29. I need to sit down with a cup of tea and look at this list of mine.  I’ve not thought about it for a while so I dont remember what I’ve done and not done.  I might change it – some of it may not be as important to me as it was a year ago.

We were starting to make plans for a family holiday.  We found one that was perfect and were ready to book  it and send off for passports in the morning.  But when morning came and we were honest with each other, neither of us felt at peace about financial cost. So the decision was made that we wouldn’t go. Uh, I hate being sensible.

29.  I think I might just have turned into a grown up.

 

Freida.

You know when you’ve grown up with something, you don’t even think to question it right? So as a young adult, making my way in the world I just could not understand why people didn’t serve Freida with pudding.

In fact they (being all other people on the planet) not only didn’t serve it but they gave me strange looks when I asked them about it.  Weird I know.

A life is better with Frieda in it.  Trust me. and to make it better you need only three ingredients:

Double Cream.

Natural Yogurt.

Soft brown sugar.

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The is less of a recipe and more of guidelines.  Because people make Frieda to their own taste.  But a rough guide is equal parts yogurt to cream (I like a little more cream to yogurt but that’s just me).  Mix the two together and whisk until thick and forming stiff peaks. 

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side not: I was given this mixer second hand from Rob’s aunt and I absolutely love it.  Very retro.  I’m pretty sure I’d mourn its’ loss if it broke on me.

So spoon it all into a bowl and sprinkle the sugar over (and when I say sprinkle I mean cover with as much as you think you can justify!).  DSCF3129DSCF3130

Cover the bowl with cling film and pop into the fridge OVER NIGHT. Don’t ask me why, it’s just how I was taught. Now I need to warn you that the when you take the bowl out of the fridge the next day it looks a little…weird.  What happens is the sugar kind of caramelises/liquifies (is liquify a word? Can I use that?).  So it looks a little gross, but do not let that put you off.  Because it is just so good.

And that’s it! like i said, it doesn’t really qualify as a recipe, but it’s too good not to share.

We had some guests come to Emmanuel this weekend.  They were two Scouse guys with very colourful pasts but had found redemption and healing in Jesus.  With all my heart I could not have felt more privileged serving them a meal at our home.  Seriously, all-out humbled and privileged.  Anyway I made some Freida and guess what? they hadn’t heard of it either.  Go figure.  I’m starting to wonder if me ma made it up all along.  And if I’m right then who the heck is Freida?!?! So, Darren and Peter…..they looked at the brown gooey mess and graciously tried it and said it was great. God bless ‘em.

So if it’s good for those guys, it’s good for anyone, so go get your double cream!

lists, knitting and jetlag.

There’s way too much swirling around my brain, that I know if I try and unravel it all tonight we’ll be left with a big mess.  So I’ll reign it in and make a list and systematically work through what I want to put into words.  Lists.  I would not function without them.

I have scratched of five more ‘things’ I wanted to experience/accomplish before I turn 30.  I will write about them soon.  I’ve put them on my list.  I’ve popped a new category on the right there so when are posted you should find them all there.  I’ve not scratched off ‘having a whole morning to my self’ – which is weird since I’ve hardly ‘done’ anything for over four months.  There have been plenty of mornings I have been alone with no expectations laid on my except to take my medication.  It kinda seems trivial now.  but for the sake of all mums who know exactly how precious a morning ‘off’ is i’m keeping it up there, and I look forward to enjoying such a morning when I’m not in a haze of medication and pain.

Yesterday I took my mum to a huge craft show in manchester for her *cough cough*th birthday.  It made me feel a bit sad that I halfed the average age.  Not because I felt self conscious but because the reputation of the word ‘craft’  has massively suffered with my generation.  It makes people think of chintz and sticking ugly pictures on foam and then making it into a card.  I mean, it still makes me laugh at myself a little now that I get such a kick out of knitting.  But that’s ok.

I can’t remember if I’m already mentioned it but we’re in the middle of a very slow process of re-modelling our kitchen.  We’re at the point now where much of our wall is bare of plaster.  Next stop getting it skimmed and then I can really start thinking about decorating.

There is an anticipation buzzing around this house because we know that the Canadian section of the Stewards are in England.  In Lancashire.  Just around the corner!!!  Tomorrow we’ll be meeting Charlotte, my niece, for the first time (not counting skype). The girls can’t wait to play with their cousin and they’ll be making sure there’ll be no peace for napping at the wrong time.  Our solution to jetlag.